2022 Glenfiddich Champion: Willie McCallum, taking record ninth title
Blair Atholl, Scotland – October 29, 2022 – After the aggregate points were calculated from the Piobaireachd and MSR events, Willie McCallum of Bearsden, Scotland, emerged the winner of the 2022 Glenfiddich Invitational Solo Piping Championship, the forty-ninth time that the event was held, once again at Blair Castle in the heart of Scotland’s scenic Perthshire.
It was his McCallum’s ninth Glenfiddich Championship in his long career, breaking his own long-held record. He last won the championship title in 2005. McCallum won the MSR event for the third straight year, his eleventh overall. With the 2022 overall championship win, he gains the first invitation to next year’s competition.
Callum Beaumont of Dollar, Scotland, won the Piobaireachd event, his first time achieving the prize.
1st Callum Beaumont, “Lament for the Earl of Antrim”
2nd Fred Morrison, Bishopton, Scotland, “The End of the Great Bridge”
3rd Willie McCallum, “Lachlan MacNeill Campbell of Kintarbert’s Fancy”
4th Angus D. MacColl, Benderloch, Scotland, “Nameless – cherede darievea”
5th Glenn Brown, Glasgow, “Rory MacLoude’s Lament”
Judges: Murray Henderson, Dr. Angus Macdonald, Ronnie McShannon
1st Willie McCallum, “The Crags of Stirling,” “Susan MacLeod,” “Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy”
2nd Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland, “David Ross,” “Lady Louden,” “Drumlithie”
3rd Angus D. MacColl, “Arthur Bignold of Lochrosque,” “The Shepherd’s Crook, “The Rejected Suitor”
4th Alex Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, “Dr. Allan MacDonald,” “John Roy Stewart,” “Alex C. MacGregor”
5th Fred Morrison, “Jeannie Carruthers,” “Tulloch Gorm,” “The Sheepwife”
Judges: Ian Duncan, Stuart Samson, A. John Wilson
Also competing: Jamie Forrester, Haddington, Scotland; Nick Hudson, Houston; and Jack Lee, Surrey, British Columbia.
The overall list, with ties broken by the Piobaireachd result:
2nd Callum Beaumont
3rd Fred Morrison
4th Angus D. MacColl
5th Connor Sinclair
Twenty-nine of the 30 marches, strathspeys and reels that were chosen from each piper’s list of six each were four-parted tunes. Coincidentally, the RSPBA’s new four-parted approach to MSR contests at major championships in 2023 is reportedly designed to preserve the pieces and also level the competitive playing field. But the last tune played by Fred Morrison, the final player in the MSR event, was the six-parted “The Sheepwife,” and the only exception.
Invitations to the competition are determined by the winners of the premier events at the Argyllshire Gathering, the Northern Meeting, The Masters at Piping Live!, the Scottish Pipers Society of London, and the incumbent winner of the Glenfiddich. Due to several pipers qualifying multiple times, some gained an invitation for their second-place finishes.
While the Great Hall of Blair Castle was sold out, the audience of approximately 380 paying £15 to attend in-person, at its peak a few more than 300 people worldwide watched the livestream of the competition, also £15. The competition started at 10 am GMT and concluded around 6:30 pm.
Euan Anderson was the fear an tighe (emcee) for the event, introducing the competitors, informing the audience of their tunes, and pithily keeping them entertained during gaps.
While the MSR judges deliberated, Greig Canning presented the Balvenie Medal for services to piping to Tom Brown of Fife, Scotland, for his lifetime of teaching and leadership in the area.
The competition has been held every year since 1974, including in the pandemic years of 2020 and 2021 when the organizers managed to stage the contest under restrictions. The event is underwritten by the William Grant Foundation, major sponsors of solo piping events in the UK. The competition is now organized mostly by the National Piping Centre.