January 31, 2011

Donald MacGillivray

The famous piper Donald MacGillivray of Calrossie, Tain, Scotland, died peacefully in the early morning of January 18th.

MacGillivray won the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in 1948 playing “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay,” the third competition at Inverness following World War II. He was a prolific prize-winner during the 1940s and ’50s, particularly in piobaireachd.

A lifelong farmer at Calrossie by Tain, Donald MacGillivray was equally well known as a cattle breeder. His son, Duncan, emulated his father’s competitive success by winning the Northern Meeting Gold Medal in 1997 with his father present.

Donald MacGillivray is survived by his wife Di, sons Duncan and Malcolm, and daughters Catrina and Janie.

The funeral is scheduled for 11am on January 22nd at Logie Easter Church, Kildary, Ross-shire.

On behalf of the piping and drumming world, we extend our sympathies to Donald MacGillivray’s family and many friends at this sad time.

– with information from Sandy MacKenzie.


  1. Donald was a lovely man, and one of the few remaining pupils of John MacDonald of Inverness. Old Johnnie must have regarded him highly, because he left Donald P. a set of old Henderson pipes. I remember Donald showing me a book in which he kept a list of the tunes he had gotten from the old man. It was a lengthy list, and Donald went to him right up to the end. Donald was a well known cattle farmer, and I think as the farm became more successful, the pipes slipped off to the side. But Duncan has kept up the tradition, both as a piobaireachd player and a folk musician. My condolences to Duncan, Jane-Marie and the family.

  2. So sorry to hear this news. My deepest sympathies to Duncan, Jane-Marie, Di and all the family. I have very fond memories of our visits to the farm in the 80’s, and have always remembered Donald as a quiet, humble gentleman who had a depth of knowledge and love for piping.



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