New device for pipers attempts to solve an age-old problem
The saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, so after hundreds of years of Highland pipers struggling to stop their bag from slipping using all manner of patches, pads, Velcro and even cutting away their jacket and shirt to keep it tucked under the arm, father-and-son team Ian and Colin Roddick are trying to do something about it.
They’ve come up with the Bagpipe Harness, a device that they describe as “simple but effective,” that is essentially a strap worn over one shoulder and diagonally across the player’s front and back. Clips at each end lock on to the player’s kilt or clothing waistband, and an adjustable ring attaches to the stock of the bass drone, allowing the pipes to pivot but not to slide down.
The product is priced at £14.95 and is available directly from the makers and various dealers around the world. The Bagpipe Harness comes in three sizes and a multitude of colours for “maximum subtlety.”
Ian Roddick, the former Pipe-Major of the Glasgow Skye Association Pipe Band in the 1990s and Pipe-Sergeant of the Grade 1 Power of Scotland and Polkemmet bands in the 1980s after serving as a member of the World Champion Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia band in the late 1970s and early-’80s, had been working on the concept several years ago. Parkinson’s disease unfortunately forced him to retire from work and judging on the RSPBA circuit, but he and his son have pursued the project, bringing it to market last month.
“The pipe bag slipping under my dad’s arm was his pet hate,” said Colin Roddick about the Bagpipe Harness. “He always intended to come up with something to solve the problem – it’s a simple solution but is surprisingly effective.”