August 03, 2021

Argyllshire Gathering celebrates sesquicentennial with live events

The venerable Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Scotland, is marking its 150th anniversary this year and is able to celebrate the occasion with an in-person solo piping contest with top-tree players from Argyllshire itself on August 25th, followed by a “curtailed” Oban Games for a wider group of contestants on August 26th.

Seven pipers from Argyllshire, or with “strong family connections” with the region have been invited to compete in Piobaireachd, MSR and Medley events on the first day:

  • Jamie Forrester, Isle of Mull
  • Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon
  • Finlay Johnston, Isle of Tiree
  • Stuart Liddell, Inveraray
  • Willie McCallum, Campbeltown
  • Angus D. MacColl, Benderloch
  • Sarah Muir, Campbeltown

Each event will offer prizes of £300 for first, second £200, and £100 for third, and the Piobaireachd and MSR aggregate winner will receive £500.

Organizer Torquil Telfer  said that, at this point, “It is hoped that there will be a live audience but at this time it is not known how many will be permitted.”

At the Oban Games the next day, solo piping contests will be held at the traditional Argyllshire Gathering park, comprising a March and Strathspey & Reel for pipers with a Premier or A-Grade from the Competing Pipers Association, a B-Grade March and Strathspey & Reel, and a Jig open to all.

With international travel restrictions in place, the complications that non-UK pipers face make it unrealistic to get to the day-two event.

The traditional march to the games, pipers in 2017 entering the Argyllshire Gathering park. [Photo Alister Sinclair]
Telfer confirmed that the traditional March to the Games through the town to the park will take place, and added that “there has been an extremely pleasing entry. Overseas competitors will be sorely missed and, as such, these competitions will not count towards (CPA) gradings.”

Regarding live-streaming of the events, he confirmed that none will be offered, saying, “Several enquiries were made but were extremely costly.”

The Argyllshire Gathering proper was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizers staged an online version of the MacGregor Memorial Piobaireachd Competition for younger pipers, and Telfer said that the performances of the finalists for this year’s event are currently being assessed.

The Argyllshire Gathering is the counterpart to the Northern Meeting at Inverness, Scotland, which has also been cancelled outright. Both contests are considered the top non-invitational events for the world’s elite solo pipers, both most known for staging the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal piobaireachd contests.



2021 Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering both cancelled
May 31, 2021

Argyllshire Gathering to hold ‘Intermediate Championship’
April 13, 2021

Argyllshire Gathering takes MacGregor Memorial online
June 17, 2020

Argyllshire Gathering cancels Thursday games, but piping could still go on
June 2, 2020





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