Next up: the Northern Meeting, the crucible of solo piping
Last week’s Argyllshire Gathering is considered by many top pipers as a warm-up for the Northern Meeting, to be held August 29-30 in Inverness, Scotland, the greatest two days of competition on the world solo piping calendar.
Thursday features the Highland Society of London Gold Medal and Silver Medal piobaireachd contests, as well as the A-Grade and Silver Star Former Winners MSR events. Friday boasts the Clasp, the A- and B-Grade Hornpipe & Jig competitions and the B-Grade MSR.
With all events held indoors at the glamourous Eden Court Theatre on the banks of the River Ness, the Northern Meeting features three qualifying events for the 2019 Glenfiddich Championships: the Clasp, the Silver Star Former Winners’ MSR and the Highland Society of London Gold Medal, events considered pinnacle achievements in competitive solo Highland piping.
So far, six pipers have secured one of the 10 spots for the Glenfiddich:
- Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland – overall London Championship
- Glenn Brown, Glasgow – 2018 Bratach Gorm
- Andrew Hayes, Ottawa – Argyllshire Gathering God Medal
- Finlay Johnston, Glasgow – 2018 Glenfiddich Champion
- Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland – Argyllshire Gathering Senior Piobaireachd and Masters Championship
- Gordon McCready, Paisley, Scotland – Argyllshire Gathering Former Winners MSR
With Liddell qualifying twice, second prize in the Northern Meeting Clasp is a certain tiebreaker. Should there be another double, or even triple, qualifier, Iain Speirs’ second prize in the Senior Piobaireachd will get him into the Glenfiddich.
The Northern Meeting has long been held in high regard for its more stringent recruitment of judges, working to ensure that the event is as conflict-free as possible. The competition was an early adopter of the Competing Pipers Association’s policy that its members should not compete before their teachers and, more recently, the Solo Piping Judges Association’s equivalent stipulation for its adjudicator members and their competing students.
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from the Northern Meeting as they are announced.