May 31, 2010

Boats, bikes and bagpipes: Williamwood set to embark on ‘Tour de CalMac’ fundraising

Just days after making the prize list at the Scottish Championships, the band’s first major after being promoted to Grade 2, the Williamwood Pipe Band of Glasgow will embark on its second “Tour de CalMac,” a fundraising effort that combines boats, bikes and bagpipes.

Williamwood is known for its creative approaches to increasing the band’s coffers. In 2009 the group climbed to the top of Ben Lomond to hold a band practice, complete with bass and tenor drums. More than 50 pipers and drummers from the organization’s Grade 2 and Grade 4B bands will participate in the Tour de Cal Mac, which launches on May 30th at Ardrossan, Scotland.

The sponsored 51-mile bicycle tour of Scotland will see the 50-cyclist peloton take five crossings on Caledonian MacBrayne ferries, performing on each vessel. After departing from Ardrossan the band will cycle the isle of Arran, then take the ferry to Kintyre, bike to Tarbet, ferry to Portavadie, cycle around the Cowal peninsula, ferry to the isle of Bute, cycle around Bute, make a final ferry crossing and complete the tour at Wemyss Bay.

“Interested non-band-members are invited to come along to the Five Ferries Challenge to give some much needed support to the cyclists who have been training hard for this event,” said band member Grant McDowell. “Also, anyone interested in sponsoring the band for the event or the forthcoming year should contact the band for information.”

Over the last year Williamwood’s Grade 2 band appointed a new Pipe-Major, with Ewan Henderson taking over after playing with the Strathclyde Police for a dozen years.


  1. This sounds like fun! It should inspire other bands to think up similar ideas for fundraising. What do y’all do next year? Maybe a base jump competition off the Wallace Monument!



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