August 31, 2011

Northern Meeting brings out the best in solo pipers


The world’s premier pipers will once again converge on Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, Scotland, for the annual Northern Meeting Piping Competitions on Thursday, September 1st, and Friday, September 2nd.

The two highlight piobaireachd events are the second of the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal competitions and the Clasp, reserved for previous winners of the Gold Medal.

Last week at the Northern Meeting’s sister competition, the Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Callum Beaumont of Bo’ness, Scotland, won the Gold Medal, while Iain Speirs of Edinburgh took home the Senior Piobaireachd, a contest reserved for winners of either of the two Gold Medals.

If Beaumont manages to capture the Inverness Medal, he will achieve the rare “double,” a feat accomplished only 11 times in the competitions’ 150-plus years. John Cairns of London, Ontario, was the last to complete the double, in 1999.

Gordon Bruce, who won the Silver Medal at the 2011 Argyllshire Gathering, is not scheduled to compete for the double-win, since he was deemed ineligible for the Inverness event through the two competitions’ complicated selection system. Bruce managed to qualify only for the Oban competition in a special competition on August 21st where 26 pipers whose entries to the Silver Medal events were originally rejected vied for a limited number of extra spots in a one-time performance.

A pall is certain to be cast over the Northern Meeting after the tragic death of Alasdair Gillies on August 27th. Gillies held many records at the competition, including 11 Silver Star Former Winners MSR awards.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the 2011 Northern Meeting as they are announced.




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