No meeting in Inverness, but Oban gathering still a glimmer
The Northern Meeting solo piping competitions in Inverness, Scotland, are officially cancelled, according to Piping Convenor Alan Forbes.
The contest had been scheduled for August 21-22 at Eden Court Theatre, but the COVID-19 crisis forced the event’s cancellation.
“With much regret, the Northern Meeting Piping Committee has decided to cancel this year’s competition in view if the coronavirus pandemic,” Forbes said. “Although the competition is still some months away we feel that it is unrealistic to expect conditions to change sufficiently to give us confidence that running it in the normal way would be considered safe, and we do not wish to prolong the uncertainty around it for longer.”
The formal nixing of the competition, which includes the Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal, the Clasp and the Silver Star Former Winner’s MSR – probably the three greatest non-invitational events in the solo piping world – was not much of a surprise.
“I think given the circumstances and with literally everything else being cancelled, this is the right thing to do,” Competing Pipers Association President Glenn Brown said.
There is still some hope that at least some of the less structured Highland games in Scotland will manage to go ahead if self-isolation policies and orders in the UK are relaxed in time.
Forbes offered an optimistic view for 2021: “Let’s hope that some measure of normality will have returned by next year and we hope to welcome you all back to Inverness then.”
The Argyllshire Gathering at Oban, Scotland, is still scheduled for August 26-27. While the Northern Meeting is an all-indoor event, with the elegant Eden Court Theatre having to be booked well in advance, “Oban” is held across the town in a series of small venues on the first day, and then is essentially an outdoor Highland games on the Thursday.
The Inveraray Highland Games, which has emerged over the last few decades as a pre-eminent solo piping competition, announced in March that its July event was cancelled.
Inverness and Oban plan to go on . . . for now
March 20, 2020