February 29, 2012

Atholl Highlanders march to the ballgame and Bermuda in June

For a group that practices once a year, the Atholl Highlanders Pipes & Drums have quite a bit of fun, the latest adventure a two-week trip to Massachusetts and Bermuda, along the way invited to perform at a Boston Red Sox game at Fenway Park.

The Perthshire, Scotland-based band will travel to Athol, Massachusetts, to mark the town’s 250th anniversary on May 30, 2012. The group has visited Athol twice before, and this trip will continue with a five-day visit to Bermuda starting on June 7th.

In Bermuda the band will “beat the retreat” with local military and pipe bands, help organize and run the first Bermuda Highland Games and perform at the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Parade. According to Atholl Highlanders Pipe Band Pipe-Major Ian Duncan, the Viscount Charles Dupplin is a resident of Bermuda and has been the driving force behind the trip.

The band gets together for its annual practice every May. Other prominent members of the band include Gold Medalists Jack Taylor and Bill Wotherspoon, Gary West of BBC Pipeline fame, and Adrian Cramb, Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Vale of Atholl Pipe Band. The Leading-Drummer is Alister McNab, former L-D of the Grade 1 Queensland Police Pipe Band in Australia.

Ian Duncan has been Pipe-Major of the band since 2003, taking over from Sandy Spence.

The Atholl Highlanders are Europe’s only private army, employed by the Duke of Atholl. The Duke of Atholl also provides his home – Blair Castle – each year for the Glenfiddich Invitational Solo Piping Championships.

The Atholl Highlanders Pipes & Drums reportedly have been asked to perform “The Star Spangled Banner” at the Red Sox game. It is not known if the group will also take part in the traditional Fenway Park seventh inning stretch rendition of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.”


  1. A big welcome to the Atholl Highlanders from host pipe band the Bermuda Islands Pipe Band. See you all soon! (BTW the comment local pipe bands” is a bit of a misnomer



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