December 31, 2014

The 13th annual pipes|drums New Year’s Honours!

2014 Pipe Band of the Year

Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia

Considering that this band was on the brink of extinction only a few years ago, for Shotts & Dykehead to return this year to being consistent prize-list-winners at major championships, and be seen as a realistic contender to win are astounding feats. Add to that their community involvement through the launch of a new juniors’ competition, their rejection of “fly-in” talent, and returning to the top-six at the World Championships (many feeling the band should have been in the top three) and Pipe-Major Ryan Canning, Pipe-Sergeant Glenn Brown and Leading-Drummer Jim Kilpatrick are recreating a Shotts era for the ages.

Shotts & Dykehead at the 2014 World’s.

Also considered (alphabetical order):

  • Bleary & District – three Grade 2 championship wins and promotion consideration to Grade 1 make Bleary a solid runner-up. Let’s hope they continue to grow, make and stay in the premier grade.
  • Field Marshal Montgomery – another World title, another Champion of Champions award. There’s no sign of FMM letting up on the competition gas.
  • Greater Glasgow Police Scotland – their “Ceolry” concert was a sold-out rave, honoring the Gaelic tradition in Glasgow piping, and they acquitted themselves solidly in the field. Pipe-Major Duncan Nicholson is returning this also near-extinct group to greatness.
  • Inveraray & District – they picked off a major and produced more great arrangements in 2014. This group continues to ooze music and, increasingly, is the world model for style.
  • Stuart Highlanders – being ordered to compete in Grade 1 or nothing only months before the World Championships might have caused many Grade 2 bands to crumble. It only seemed to make the Stuart Highlanders stronger. The Stuarts might eventually be the first US band to break the top-six at the World’s since Worcester Kiltie in the 1960s.


  1. Always love this year end wrap and seeing the best recognised. Glad that it is not always all about prizes won but also about other accomplishments to piping and drumming. Well done all!!!



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