Video: Boghall P-M Ross Walker retires
After 20 years as Pipe-Major of the Grade 1 Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia Pipe Band of Bathgate, Scotland, Ross Walker will step down after the World Pipe Band Championships.
Ross Harvey, a longtime piper with the band and its current Pipe-Sergeant, will take over the top spot.
Walker had made the decision some three years ago, and has been preparing since that time, but had informed Harvey of his decision a year ago following the 2014 World’s, allowing Harvey to prepare himself for the transition.
Walker has been with the Boghall organization for 39 years, his first contest being Dunbar in 1977. He became pipe-major of the Grade 1 band in the middle of the 1996 competition season, following his brother, Craig.
With a demanding career in the software industry, Walker had been continually sandwiching in the band around work, including routinely getting off flights from Oracle’s UK headquarters in London to get to band practice.
Walker said, “It is time to stop and just be a dad. It has been an honour and a privilege to lead the band over the past 20 years and I am grateful for the support and trust I have been given by the many pipers, drummers, committee members, sponsors and supporters who have been involved with the organization in that time,” Walker said. “Since I took the reins from my brother Craig at the end of 1995, we have achieved many things on the competition field and beyond and I will reflect on my time as pipe-major of the Boghall with great deal of pride.
“I pass on the pipey’s stripes to Ross Harvey who has been exemplary as my pipe-sergeant over the past five years or so. I have worked with Ross over the past three years to prepare for this moment and finally gave him 12 months’ notice to ready himself for the big job after last year’s World’s. I have no doubt that with his experience, knowledge and talent he is well prepared to lead the organization for the next 20 years to even greater success. I’d also like to express my thanks to my Leading-Drummer Gordon Brown who has been at my side for the past 20 years. I believe the musical relationship we developed was something special and the music we created defined the band over that time. I was lucky to have Gordon and I am extremely grateful for his support. There is no better person to help Ross Harvey settle in as Pipey.”
Under Walker’s tenure, Boghall won two European Championships and three Cowal Championships, and was almost always in the top-six at every RSPBA major. The band was second in the World Cha’mpionship in 2013 with Walker leading.
Walker said that he would stay with the Boghall organization in some capacity, but not as a competing piper.
Walker added, “I will remain forever part of the organization, ready to help the guys in any way I can and I will be there to support Ross over the transition period so that the band is firing on all cylinders come the 2016 season. I look forward to watching the organization blossom as the next chapter of the Boghall story unfolds.”
Ross Walker and Leading-Drummer Gordon Brown performed at the 2012 Pipes+Drums recital, a rare opportunity to hear Walker’s excellence as a piper.