August 19, 2023

Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia: World Champions 2023

Boghall goes bananas.

Glasgow – August 19, 2023 – With a total of 190 bands competing across all grades at Glasgow Green, Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia of Scotland were crowned 2023 World Champions against a field of 15 other Grade 1 bands. The band was a very popular winner, with more than a half-century striving for the coveted prize.

Simon Fraser University achieved the World Pipe Band Drumming Championship, successfully defending their 2022 title.

The World Championship win was the first in Boghall & Bathgate’s 52-year history, their second major competition victory in 2023, following their success at the UK Championships in June. Until now, Boghall had been considered by many to be “the best band yet to win the World’s,” following four runner-up placings since they were elevated to Grade 1 in 1980. The World’s win was the band’s thirteenth major championship title in Grade 1.

Here’s a slideshow of Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia going bananas after being announced the winners:

The band won the award in 19-year-old Leading Drummer Kerr McQuillan’s first year in the role. Pipe-Major Ross Harvey walked in front of the band with the World’s trophy as they marched off to one of their signature tunes, “The Big Road Brusher.” Former Pipe-Major Ross Walker joined the band on the pipes in the march, celebrating the prize that had eluded him, his brother Craig, Robert Martin as pipe-majors, and long-time leading-drummers Gordon and Tom Brown.

Despite it being the first World Championship for the band, Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia has been a model of consistent success over five decades. The organization’s renowned teaching program has brought continuity to the Grade 1 band’s top-six quality year in and year out while producing hundreds of pipers and drummers throughout the West Lothian area.

In an unprecedented event, the RSPBA, in consultation with the organization’s Adjudicator Panel Management Board and Friday Grade 1 piping judge Nat Russell, decided that Russell’s results would not be counted, creating one of the biggest controversies in pipe band history. The APMB is convened by John Wilson, who was a Saturday Grade 1 Medley piping judge.

The Saturday Grade 1 competitions followed a first-round MSR and Medley the day before.

Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate leaders after playing in the medley. [Photo Alister Sinclair]
Virtually every band’s medley featured at least one classic tune, even piobaireachds, arranged in one or more time signature different from the original, a trend that continues after at least a decade. Many bands placed well-kent traditional airs and strathspeys in their selections, and several medleys made use of glissando “slurs” in jigs and reels.

Inveraray & District and Police Scotland Fife’s Saturday medleys made the most daring musical deviations with a one-beat chanter rest or cut-out, and Police Scotland Federation played part of the ground and taorluath variation of the piobaireachd “Lament for Donald Duaghal MacKay” in a highly orchestrated arrangement, echoing their intro and then reprised in the closer. These three risk-taking moments might have moved pipe band competition music ahead a few inches unless, of course, closed-minded or confused judges elected to hammer them for it.

Bagpipe pitch in Grade 1 for every band was between 484 and 487 Hz, mostly far lower than the sky-high pitch in 2022 when the World’s saw record-high temperatures in pure sunshine.

The winner of Grade 2 was Royal Burgh of Annan and Glasgow Skye Association won the drumming.

After seven years, it was the final contest for Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia’s Andrew Lawson as leading-drummer, who has voluntarily handed the role over to Grade 2 Uddingston’s L-D Grant Cassidy. As with every year, there is almost certain to be more leadership changes in the off-season.

The weather was warm for Glasgow but variable, overcast with intermittent showers and strong winds in the morning, making the conditions more challenging for competitors and listeners alike. The sun emerged, and the wind calmed a bit after 2 pm, making things better and warmer for all until about 4 pm when the rain came on again. The march-past was mercifully dry.

Though sold-out weeks in advance, the seated stands in the main arena were visibly at least half-empty, even during the final medley event. The size of the stands was far smaller than the arena has seen over the last decade, and a 10% increase over 2022 prices didn’t put bums in all seats. The free standing-room area was packed dozens deep as usual.

BBC Scotland once again live-streamed the event for free to a global audience. The lower-grade Saturday competitions began at 9 am BST. The march-past and prize-giving concluded after 8 pm, mostly due to 184 bands – all but the six 2022 Grade 1 prize-winners, which had to play many multiple rounds of 6/8 marches as “centre bands” – marching on one by one and every single prize winner, including three sections of drum-majors, coming up for their trophy.

Grade 1 (16 competed)
1st Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
2nd Field Marshal Montgomery (Northern Ireland)
3rd Inveraray & District (Scotland)
4th Simon Fraser University (Canada)
5th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (Scotland)
6th St. Laurence O’Toole (Republic of Ireland)
7th Police Scotland Fife
8th ScottishPower (Scotland)
9th Manawatu (New Zealand)
10th Canterbury Caledonian Society (New Zealand)
11th Johnstone (Scotland)
12th Police Scotland & Federation (Scotland)
13th 78th Fraser Highlanders (Canada)
14th St. Thomas Alumni (USA)
15th Auckland & District (New Zealand)
16th Closkelt (Northern Ireland)
Drumming: Simon Fraser University

Medley Overall: Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia
Medley Drumming: Field Marshal Montgomery
MSR Overall: Field Marshal Montgomery
MSR Drumming: Simon Fraser University

Champion of Champions: Inveraray & District
Drumming: Field Marshal Montgomery

Medley (own choice)
1st Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (2,3,2,2)
2nd Simon Fraser University (ens.pref.) (5,1,3,1)
3rd Inveraray & District (1,2,4,3)
4th Field Marshal Montgomery (3,5,1,4)
5th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (4,4,8,6)
6th Police Scotland Fife (8,7,5,5)
7th St. Laurence O’Toole (7,9,7,11)
8th Johnstone (9,10,6,10)
9th Canterbury Caledonian Society (6,6,15,9)
10th ScottishPower (13,8,9,7)
11th Manawatu Scottish (10,11,12,8)
12th Police Scotland Federation (11,12,11,16)
13th St. Thomas Alumni (15,14,10,12)
14th Auckland & District (12,13,14,13)
15th 78th Fraser Highlanders (14,15,13,14)
16th Closkelt (16,16,16,15)
Judges: Brian Switalla, John Wilson (piping); Greg Dinsdale (drumming); Robert Mathieson (ensemble)

MSR (own choice, maximum four parts each tune)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (2,3,1,1)
2nd Inveraray & District(1,1,4,4)
3rd Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (3,2,3,3)
4th Simon Fraser University (6,5,2,2)
5th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (4,4,7,6)
6th ScottishPower (5,6,8,5)
7th St. Laurence O’Toole (8,8,5,9)
8th Manawatu Scottish (7,7,10,7)
9th Police Scotland Fife (11,12,6,8)
10th Canterbury Caledonian Society (9,11,14,10)
11th Police Scotland Federation (12,13,9,12)
12th Johnstone (10,9,,15,14)
13th St. Thomas Alumni (13,10,11,16)
14th 78th Fraser Highlanders (14,14,13,13)
15th Auckland & District (15,15,16,11)
16th Closkelt (16,16,12,15)
Judges: Sam Young, Ronnie McShannon (piping); Allan Craig (drumming); Paul Turner (ensemble)

(own choice)
1st Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (1,1,2,1)
2nd Inveraray & District (ens.pref.) (2,2,5,4)
3rd Field Marshal Montgomery (4,3,1,5)
4th Simon Fraser University (6,6,3,3)
5th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (3,4,8,6)
6th St. Laurence O’Toole (8,8,4,2)
7th Police Scotland Fife (5,5,6,11)
8th ScottishPower (10,10,7,8)
9th Canterbury Caledonian Society (9,9,9,10)
10th Manawatu Scottish (7,7,12,12)
11th Johnstone (11,11,10,13)
12th 78th Fraser Highlanders (12,15,13, 13,9)
13th Auckland & District (16,14,14,7)
14th St. Thomas Alumni (13, 13, 11, 16)
15th Police Scotland Federation (15, 12, 16, 15)
16th Closkelt (14,16,15,14)
Judges: John Connor, Jim Semple (Piping); Gordon Parkes (drumming); Tony Sloane (ensemble)

MSR (own choice, unlimited parts per tune)
1st Field Marshal Montgomery (ens.pref.) (X,1,6,1)
2nd St. Laurence O’Toole (X,3,2,3)
3rd Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (X,2,3,4)
4th Inveraray & District (X,4,4,2)
5th Simon Fraser University (X,5,1,7)
6th ScottishPower (X,7,8,,5)
7th Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia (ens.pref.) (X,6,11,6)
8th Police Scotland Fife (X,10,5,8)
9th Canterbury Caledonian Society (X,9,9,11)
10th Johnstone (X,11,10,9)
11th Manawatu Scottish (X,8,13,10)
12th 78th Fraser Highlanders (X,14,12,12)
13th Auckland & District (ens.pref.) (X,12,14,13)
14th Police Scotland Federation (X,16,7,16)
15th St. Thomas Alumni (X,15,15,14)
16th Closkelt (X,13,16,15)
Judges: Nat Russell (marks not used by RSPBA), Mark Faloon (piping); Paul Brown (drumming); Jim Campbell (ensemble)

Grade 2 (MSR, 20 competed)
1st Royal Burgh of Annan (Scotland) (5,3,2,1)
2nd Buchan Peterson (Scotland) (4,2,4,3)
3rd Manorcunningham (Republic of Ireland) (2,1,8,4)
4th Portlethen & District (Scotland) (3,5,10,7)
5th Ravara (Northern Ireland) (ens.pref.)  (8,10,6,5)
6th Uddingston (Scotland) (1,4,12,12)
7th North Stratton (Canada) (7,6,9,8)
8th City of Edinburgh (Scotland) (ens.,pref.) (6,8,17,9)
9th Peel Regional Police (Canada) (11,13,5,11)
10th Ulster Scottish (USA) (9,12,7,14)
11th Glasgow Skye Association (Scotland) (ens.pref.) (19,17,1,6)
12th St. Joseph’s (Republic of Ireland) (13,9,11,10)
13th Brieg (Brittany) (ens.pref.) (12,20,3,13)
14th MacMillan (USA) (10,7,16,15)
15th Los Angeles Scots (USA) (18,18,18,2)
16th Kilchoman Distillery Isle of Islay (Scotland) (17,11,15,17)
17th Highland Granite (Scotland) (15,15,13,18)
18th Oban (Scotland) (16,16,14,16)
19th Worcester Kiltie (USA) (14,14,20,19)
20th City of Discovery (Scotland) (20,19,19,20)
Judges: Bill Garrett, Terry Lee (piping); Gordon Brown (drumming); Jim Baxter (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Royal Burgh of Annan
Champion of Champions Drumming: Royal Burgh of Annan

Grade 3A Final (medley, 12 competed in final, 26 bands total in two MSR heats)
1st Tullylagan (Northern Ireland) (1,1,1,2)
2nd Robert Malcolm Memorial (Canada) (2,2,5,1)
3rd Vale of Atholl (Scotland) (3,6,4,4)
4th Coalburn IOR (Scotland) (4,3,9,3)
5th McNeillstown (Northern Ireland) (8,4,6,7)
6th Clogher & District (Northern Ireland) (11,9,2,5)
7th Major Sinclair Memorial (Northern Ireland) (6,5,10,8)
8th Deeside Caledonia (Scotland) (5,8,12,6)
9th Kildoag (Northern Ireland) (10,11,3,9)
10th City of Newcastle (England) (7,7,11,10)
11th College of Piping (Canada) (9,10,8,12)
12th City of London (England) (12,12,7,11)
Judges: John Nevans, Maurice Rhodes (piping); Keith Orr (drumming); Tom Brown (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Coalburn IOR
Champion of Champions Drumming: Tullylagan

Grade 3B (medley, 14 competed)
1st Haileybury (Australia) (4,1,4,1)
2nd Cullybackey (Northern Ireland) (2,9,3,2)
3rd Macanta (England) (8,6,1,3)
4th Ross & Cromarty (Scotland) (1,2,11,7)
5th Methil & District (Scotland) (3,3,7,9)
6th Lower Clyde (Scotland) (6,10,2,8)
7th Aven & District (France,5,12,6,4)
8th Ayr Society (Scotland) (9,4,8,6)
9th Mid-Argyll (Scotland) (7,5,13,11)
10th Arbroath (Scotland) (11,7,10,13)
11th Niagara Regional Police (Canada) (12,11,14,5)
12th Belgian Blend (Belgium) (10,8,12,12)
13th Tweedvale (Scotland) (13,13,5,14)
14th Scottish Borders (Scotland) (14,14,9,10)
Judges: Barry Donaldson, Alvis Kerr (piping; Mark Wilson (drumming); Peter Snaddon (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Ross & Cromarty
Champion of Champions Drumming: Macanta

Juvenile (MSR, five competed)
1st Dollar Academy (Scotland) (1,1,1,1)
2nd George Watson’s College (Scotland) (3,3,2,2)
3rd St. Andrews College (New Zealand) (2,2,3,4)
4th George Heriot’s School (Scotland) (4,4,4,5)
5th Preston Lodge High School (Scotland) (5,5,5,3)
Judges: David Middleton, Mark Faloon (piping); David Brown (drumming); Alan Ronaldson (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Dollar Academy
Champion of Champions Drumming: Dollar Academy

Grade 4A Final (prescribed MSR, 12 competed in final; 30 competed overall in two heats)
1st Burntisland & District (Scotland) (2,2,3,2)
2nd Syerla & District (Northern Ireland) (4,5,2,1)
3rd Cape Breton Island (Canada ) (3,3,9,3)
4th Cloughfin (Northern Ireland) (1,1,12,6)
5th Gransha (Northern Ireland) (10,8,4,4)
6th Rothesay & District (Scotland) (8,6,5,8)
7th Raphoe Ulster Scots (Republic of Ireland) (6,10,8,5)
8th Kintyre Schools (Scotland) (5,4,11,10)
9th Sri Dasmesh (Malaysia) (9,9,6,9)
10th Ballyboley (Northern Ireland) (7,7,10,11)
11th Kilbarchan (Scotland) (11,11,7,7)
12th Uddingston Strathclyde (Scotland) (12,12,1,12)
Judges: Ross Walker, John Reville (piping); Arthur Cook (drumming; Cameron Edgar (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Burntisland & District
Champion of Champions Drumming: Uddingston Strathclyde

Grade 4B Final (prescribed marches, 12 competed in final; 39 overall in two heats)
1st Scots School Albury (Australia) (2,2,1,1)
2nd Royal Army of Oman (Oman) (1,1,2,3)
3rd Letterkenny & District (Ireland) (3,3,5,2)
4th Govan Community (Scotland) (4,4,10,5)
5th City of Aberdeen (Scotland) (6,6,11,7)
6th City of Discovery (Scotland) (8,7,7,9)
7th Altnaveigh Memorial (Northern Ireland) (9,8,4,10)
8th Irvine Memorial (Scotland) (12,9,3,8)
9th Bready Ulster Scots (Northern Ireland) (7,10,6,11)
10th Barrhead & District (Scotland) (5,5,12,12)
11th Dunoon Argyll (Scotland) (10,12,9,4)
12th Fraserburgh Royal British Legion (Scotland) (11,11,8,6)
Judges: Peter Hunt, Jim Wark (piping); Lee Innes (drumming); Jennifer Hutcheon (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Scots School Albury
Champion of Champions Drumming: Altnaveigh Memorial (Northern Ireland)

Novice Juvenile A Final (prescribed MSR, 10 competed)
1st St. Columba’s School Kilmacolm (Scotland) (1,1,9,1)
2nd West Lothian Schools (Scotland) (4,2,6,2)
3rd Scots College, Sydney (Australia) (3,3,7,4)
4th George Watson’s College (Scotland) (6,8,1,3)
5th High School of Dundee (Scotland) ((ens.pref.) (2,4,8,6)
6th North Lanarkshire Schools (Scotland) (5,5,2,8)
7th Dollar Academy (Scotland) ((Scotland) (8,7,3,5)
8th Stirling & District Schools (Scotland) (7,6,10,7)
9th Glendora High School (USA) (9,9,5,9)
10th George Heriot’s School (Scotland) (10,10,4,10)
Judges: Robert Shaw, Colin Moffett (piping); Stuart Coils (drumming); John Moles (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: St. Columba School Kilmacolm
Champion of Champions Drumming: Dollar Academy

Novice Juvenile B Final (12 in final; 30 competed overall in two heats)
1st Renfrewshire Schools (Scotland) (2,1,4,1)
2nd Lochgelly High School Junior (Scotland) (4,3,2,2)
3rd Oban High School (Scotland) (1,2,9,5)
4th St. John’s College (Zimbabwe) (5,6,3,4)
5th St. Thomas Episcopal School (USA) (10,7,1,3)
6th Bucksburn & District (Scotland) (6,5,8,6)
7th Peoples Ford Boghall & Bathgate Caledonia (Scotland) (3,4,12,10)
8th Scots College, Sydney (Australia) (Scotland) (9,10,7,9)
9th Renfrewshire Highlife Highland (Scotland) (8,9,11,8)
10th Edinburgh Academy (Scotland) (7,8,10,11)
11th Dollar Academy (Scotland) (12,11,6,7)
12th Burntisland & District (Scotland) (11,12,5,12)
Judges: Robert Shaw, Colin Moffett (piping); Stuart Coils (drumming); John Moles (ensemble)

Champion of Champions: Lochgelly High School
Champion of Champions Drumming: Dollar Academy (Scotland)

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    1. Something just not right when A Judge takes his time and experience to Judge a Competition. To have the Adjudicator Panel Management Board decided that Russell results would not be counted .
      I Think that some if not all who made the Decision to disguard Russels results be dismissed from the Board .

      1. So happy for Boghall!

        This debate over the deletion of a piping judges scores will go on for sometime Im sure. And as some say, its been happening for a long time.

        But is not the idea of having two judges to receive two different points of view? So one would assume that the results will often be different based on that assumption.

        Hats off to an organisation that thinks there is an issue and does something it rectify it, but really at the end of the day they should be assessing each and every contest in a log and looking at flaws, bias or favouritism from an adjudicator and noting any inconsistent patterns that appears that vary hugely from the general consensus. Then figure out if that person is right or wrong. If they are deemed not fit for the role then remove them.

        Accountability by adjudicators after every contest and constant professional development for adjudicators by governing bodies may just give players a little more faith in the end result.



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