October 31, 2006

Appeal goes out for funds for Willie Ross cairn

An appeal has been launched in Scotland so that a cairn for Pipe-Major William Ross, MVO, MBE may be built to commemorate his life and contribution to piping and Scots culture.

Glen Strathfarrar, where Willie Ross was born in 1878. [Photo: William Donaldson.] Click to supersize!

Finlay MacRae of Dingwall, Scotland, hopes to raise enough money to erect the cairn at Ross’s birthplace at Ardchuilk in Glen Strathfarrar, about 30 miles west of Inverness, where the stone cottage in which he was born is now a ruin. The exact spot for the cairn would be at the hill behind Ross’s boyhood home at Camsorrie. There is no formal memorial to Ross in the north of Scotland.

“It is hoped that many individuals and piping organizations will rise to the call, and help to subscribe to this memorial,” MacRae says.

The second son of Alexander Ross and Mary Collie, William Collie Ross went on to become one of the 20th century’s leading pipers and instructor of the army class at Edinburgh Castle for 38 years. Willie Ross had many famous pupils, including John A. MacLellan (his successor at the Army School), Donald MacLeod and the late John D. Burgess. Ross won eight Clasps at the Northern Meeting (1905, ’06, ’07, ’09, ’10, ’19, ’28, ’31) – a record at the time. He won the Former Winners MSRs at Oban and Inverness 11 times.

Best known for his light music compositions and arrangements, his five volumes of Pipe-Major W. Ross’s Collection of Highland Bagpipe Music (1923-1950) contain some 240 tunes. The collection, according to Dr. William Donaldson, “makes him unrivalled as an editor of the light music of the pipe in the 20th century.”

Donations may be made by cheque made out to “Willie Ross Memorial Cairn,” sent to:

Finlay M. MacRae
Knockbain Road
Dingwall, Scotland
IV15 9NR

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