September 30, 2011

Alasdair Gillies laid to rest

More than 200 family and friends of the late Alasdair Gillies paid their last respects as the great piper, who died suddenly on August 27th, was laid to rest in Ullapool, Scotland.

Reverend Ivan Warwick presided over the September 3rd ceremony at the Church of Scotland in the small town in the north of Scotland. The funeral was open to all to attend. Rona Lightfoot delivered the eulogy. Fellow Queen’s Own Highlander Pipe-Major Bruce Hitchings played the lament outside of the church, and the pallbearers were six of the world’s greatest pipers: Brian Donaldson, Angus MacColl, Colin MacLellan, Roddy MacLeod, Willie McCallum and Gordon Walker, each both a friend and contemporary of Gillies.


Kristine Kennedy sang “Loch Broom” in Gaelic, and several pipers played along the road to the cemetery, including Iain Ruairaigh Finlayson, Callum MacKenzie, and Donald MacKay. Pipe-Major Michael Gray and Niall Matheson played at the graveside, with Matheson finishing with Donald MacLeod’s piobaireachd “Cabar Feidh Gu Brath.” A large group of army pipe-majors, including Iain Morrison and Andrew Venters, teachers of Alasdair Gillies, lowered the casket.

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made in Alasdair Gillies’ name to Help For Heroes, a charity that assists war veterans.

Those who wish to send notes of sympathy may use the following addresses (listed alphabetically):

Kristen Ayers (partner)

503 Moon Clinton Road

Moon Township, PA

15108 USA

Kathleen Gillies (mother)

28 Market Street

Ullapool, Ross-shire

Scotland IV26 2XL

Pauline and Norman Gillies (wife and son)

5E Market Street

Ullapool, Ross-shire

Scotland IV26 2XL


  1. words often say a lot but this picture is perhaps one of the saddest photos I have ever seen. I have felt bad all week about this, like many, but when you see the people, and two of my good friends standing there, arms behind back, it really does spell the end. Gut wrenching and heartbroken for his son right now.

  2. So, so sad. Cant imagine what his family circle are going through. Having said that awful situation, his friends and family could not have given him a better send off. Well done to everyone who was there, under the most difficult of circumstances, he was laid to rest with great dignity and style…..that in time will be of greatest comfort to his family.

  3. A perfectly fitting tribute to one of my greatest pals. Never before, nor likely ever again, will I witness a ceremony and procession like the one they had for Alasdair. My first time ever to Ullapool showed me that the Highlander went to the Highlands to write the final chapter of his life. He’s likely to have the spot between his Dad and PM Angus, just to keep him on his toes. He’ll be sorely missed. I pray for restful peace, and time to heal for Norrie and the rest of the family. Your Pal, HOSS



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