Whose history?

Not the history of the bagpipe (for that you should consult one of the books, articles and websites mentioned in the Reference section).

Rather, this is my own history beginning with the Boys Brigade at the age of 13 or 14.  At the  outset, it is worth making clear that I certainly do not consider myself to be an accomplished piper.  But bagpiping has been a part of my life since the age of 13 and an increasingly important part in the last decade.

So this story will only be of interest to my family and possibly to some of the bagpiping friends I have made along the way.  I have recounted, as well as my poor memory allows, the most significant events in my bagiping journey.  One aspect that may be of slightly wider interest is that of tuning.  Unfortunately (as one of my teachers at the  National Piping Centre once pointed out) I do not have a well-trained musical ear and, as I have not been a member of a band for many years, I have had to develop an alternative coping strategy, which you can find under the menu item Tuning.

But I digress.  So where did my journey start?

Teachers

This is about the people who taught me.

Firstly there was Hugh MacPherson, the Pipe Major of the 167th Glasgow Boys Brigade Pipe Band.

I think he was a bit of a teuchter (a highland gentleman).

Next, although I cannot really say he did much to teach me, there was the somewhat famous Jimmie Baxter, the Pipe Major of the  Rutherglen Pipe Band, for which I played for around 3 years until I left Glasgow to come to London in 1968.

At which point my piping prowess went into a slow decline.  There were probably some years when my pipes only had a single outing (to bring in the New Year.

In 1987, for reasons that escape me, I attended the RSPBA piping summer school in Glasgow.  I cannot remember the name of my instructor but he certainly did a good job pointing out all the deficiencies in my technique.  And I learned a fair amount about the theory side of the bagpipe.

Events

By "Events" I mean almost anything that could be entered in a diary.  Unfortunately I am not one of Nature's diarists and as most of my life was lived before the arrival of smart-phones and social media (which in any case I tend to abjure) I have been forced to rely on my own very imperfect memory for the contents of this website.  I can say the same about the photographic record.  In spite of the fact that my father was a keen amateur photographer, and even cinephotographer, I did not inherit the bug from him.

So a lot of what I would like to record here has been forgotten or at best dimly remembered.  Often I have only the haziest idea of dates. 

But the kind of events I wanted to include are classified as follows.

  • Competitions
  • Performances (mine - in the widest sense of the word)
  • Performances (witnessed)
  • Meetings
  • Instruction

Equipment

In other words, all the objects I have bought for playing, maintaining, tuning, carrying and storing my bagpipes.

The only purchases not included here are scores and tutor books, recordings and services (like lessons, schools, competitions and conferences).

The equipment is organised in the following categories:

  • Instruments
  • Reeds
  • Maintenance
  • Investigations & tuning
  • Storage and transport
  • Miscellaneous

People

This is a list of some of people whom I have met through my interest in piping.