Inverness, Scotland – September 1, 2016 – The first day of the two-day Northern Meeting solo competitions brought together most of the world’s top competing pipers at Eden Court Theatre on the banks of the River Ness.
Ian K. MacDonald became only the twelfth piper in the 129-year history of both events running to achieve “The Double,” winning both the Argyllshire Gathering and Northern Meeting Highland Society of London Gold Medals in the same year. MacDonald’s accomplishment comes only two years after Dougie Murray and and 17 years after John Cairns achieved the same feat.
Double Gold Medallists
Willie Lawrie, 8th Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders – 1910
George Yardley, Cambuslang, Scotland – 1911
John MacDonald, Glasgow Police – 1926
Robert B. Nicol, Balmoral, Scotland – 1930
John D. Burgess, Edinburgh – 1950
William MacDonald, Inverness, Scotland – 1955
Donald Ross McLennan, North Berwick, Scotland – 1956
Hector MacFadyen, Pennygael, Scotland – 1964
Andrew Wright, Paisley, Scotland – 1970
John Cairns, London, Ontario, Canada – 1999
Douglas Murray, Cupar, Scotland – 2014
Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, Canada – 2016
Sean McKeown, who was second in the Oban Gold Medal, was runner-up again in his first year competing in the Gold Medal after winning the Silver Medal at the Northern Meeting in 2015. Unusually, both MacDonald and McKeown had the tune that they performed at the Argyllshire Gathering selected for them. Both play with the Toronto Police Pipe Band, MecKeown the pipe-major; MacDonald the current pipe-sergeant and former pipe-major. Cameron Drummond was third, as he was at the Argyllshire gathering.
The Silver Medal was won by Connor Sinclair of Crieff, Scotland, who also had a strong showing in the equivalent event at Oban the previous week. Sinclair was the only competitor in the Inverness Silver Medal prizes also to feature in the Oban Silver Medal list.
In the first result announced, Neil Walker, originally from Dunblane, Scotland, and now living in Australia, won the A-Grade March, Strathspey & Reel, making him eligible to compete in the Former Winners Silver Star MSR in future years.
The final event of the day, the Silver Star MSR for winners of the A-Grade MSR, was won by Angus MacColl of Benderloch, Scotland, his third time capturing the prize, considered by many as the greatest light music prize in solo piping. The rest of the list comprised pipers who had each won at least one Silver Star in their piping career. Notably, four of the five prize-winners are members of the Spirit of Scotland Pipe Band.
The second day will see the Clasp, the B-Grade events and the Hornpipe & Jig competitions. Of note, Willie McCallum will attempt again to win the Clasp, the only major prize that has eluded him in his illustrious 40-years of competitive piping.
Highland Society of London Gold Medal (25 accepted)
1st Ian K. MacDonald, Whitby, Ontario, “Mary’s Praise”
2nd Sean McKeown, Toronto, “Iasabel MacKay”
3rd Cameron Drummond, Edinburgh, “The Battle of Waternish”
4th Andrew Carlisle, Pittsburgh, “The Gathering of Clan Chattan”
5th Faye Henderson, Kirriemuir, Scotland, “I Got a Kiss of the King’s Hand”
Judges: Iain MacFadyen, Ronnie McShannon, John Wilson
Silver Medal (26 accepted)
1st Connor Sinclair, Crieff, Scotland, “I Am Proud to Play a Pipe”
2nd Craig Sutherland, Crieff, Scotland, “Lament for the Castle of Dunyveg”
3rd Sarah Muir, Campbeltown, Scotland, “The MacDonalds Are Simple”
4th Stuart Easton, New Zealand, “Flame of Wrath”
5th Alex Gandy, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, “The Piper’s Warning to His Master”
Judges: Archie McLean, Bob Worrall, Bill Wotherspoon
A-Grade MSR (31 accepted)
1st Neil Walker, Australia
2nd Alasdair Henderson, Dunoon, Scotland
3rd Callum Beaumont, Linlithgow, Scotland
4th Craig Sutherland
5th Jenny Hazzard. Edinburgh
Judges: Bruce Hitchings, Iain MacLellan, Tom Speirs
1st Angus MacColl, “Highland Wedding,” “MacLean of Pennycross,” “Caledonian Society of London,” “Ewe wi’ the Crookit Horn,” “Pretty Marion,” “Captain Lachlan MacPhail of Tiree”
2nd Willie MacCallum, Bearsden, Scotland, “Major Campbell of Drumavoisk,” “Angus Campbell’s Farewell to Stirling,” “Caber Feidh,” “Lady MacKenzie of Gairloch,” “The Man from Glengarry,” “Roddy MacDonald’s Fancy”
3rd Niall Stewart, Kyle of Lochalsh, Scotland, “The 74th’s Farewell to Edinburgh,” “Kantara to El Arish,” “Glentruim,” “Sandy MacPherson,” “Kildonan,” “Drumlithie”
4th Stuart Liddell, Inveraray, Scotland, “The Clan MacColl,” “Arthur Bignold of Loch Rosque,” “Arniston Castle,” “Cat Lodge,” “John Morrison, Assynt House,” “The Cockerel in the Creel”
5th Gordon Walker, Galston, Scotland, “Knightswood Celidh,” “Hugh Kennedy, BSc.,” “Tulloch Castle,” “Piper’s Bonnet,” The Smith of Chilliechassie,” “John Garroway”
Judges: Barry Donaldson, Ian Duncan, Iain Morrison (Duncan took the place of Walter Cowan, who could not attend due to illness.)
Stay tuned to pipes|drums for results from day two of the 2016 Northern Meeting.