August 31, 2007

Solo pipers gear up for Argyllshire Gathering

About 90 solo pipers lucky enough to be accepted will compete at the Argyllshire Gathering in Oban, Scotland, Wednesday, August 22, and Thursday, August 23. Among the competitions are the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal and the Senior, or Open, Piobaireachd, both held indoors on Wednesday.

The Argyllshire Gathering – or simply “Oban,” as most pipers refer to it as – has a rich tradition, and is seen as the sister-contest to the Northern Meeting, which will be held Thursday, August 30, and Friday, August 31, in Aviemore, Scotland.

While Oban’s Wednesday events are held indoors in venues throughout the town, ranging from small cinemas to a function suite in the basement of a hotel, the Thursday events take place outdoors at the Argyllshire Gathering park.

Despite the rich tradition of the park, where the Argyllshire gentry enjoy niceties in a large marquee tent strictly off-limits to competitors, the world’s most talented pipers voluntarily compete through testing conditions. Starter-pistols, a bouncy castle and a distracting Tannoy augment the frequent wind and rain, making determining prize lists extra challenging for the judges.

At last year’s Argyllshire Gathering, Greg Wilson of New Zealand and Roddy MacLeod of Cumbernauld, Scotland, won the Gold Medal and Senior Piobaireachd, respectively.

Winners of the three top events at Oban are generally invited to compete at the Glenfiddich Championships at Blair Atholl, Scotland, in October.

Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from Oban as they become available.


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