March 20, 2020

Inverness and Oban plan to go on . . . for now

Representatives from the Argyllshire Gathering and the Northern Meeting, the world’s two biggest solo competitions for top-ranked pipers, have confirmed that their events are still so planned to go on.

“After due consideration, it is our position that, at this early stage, there is no immediate requirement to cancel our piping competitions,” said Argyllshire Gathering piping steward and Northern Meeting piping convenor Alan Forbes in a joint statement. “As the situation develops, we will review our current position and clearly be guided by the level of government and scientific advice being provided.”

The Northern Meeting is scheduled for August 20-21 in Inverness, Scotland, and the Argyllshire Gathering for August 26-27 in Oban, Scotland.

“Inverness” is held entirely within the indoor confines of the sumptuous Eden Court Theatre on the banks of the River Ness, while “Oban” holds its piobaireachd and Former Winners MSR events at various indoor venues across the town, and the remaining light music contests the next day outdoors at Mossfield Park in a Highland games setting.

“We are particularly sensitive to the difficulties which this level of uncertainty generates for overseas competitors and judges who have to make extensive travel and accommodation arrangements. We will continue to monitor the situation and provide timely notification of developments,” the statement added.

The march onto the games park at the 2019 Argyllshire Gathering. [Photo Alister Sinclair]
Both competitions feature the Highland Society of London Gold Medal events, considered a pinnacle of solo Highland piping achievement, as well as the Clasp and Silver Star, Senior Piobaireachd and Former Winners MSR for previous winners of various events at the Northern Meeting and Argyllshire Gathering, respectively.

On March 19th, the all-outdoor Inveraray Highland Games, originally scheduled for July 21st, announced that it had cancelled the 2020 event outright.



The Northern Meeting in images, by Alister Sinclair




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