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Pipeline's Iain Macinnes writes about the 2011 Worlds

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Karen Miller Karen Miller | 15:20 UK time, Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Iain Macinnes, producer of BBC Radio Scotland's Pipeline programme, and a piper himself, has written this blog about the World Pipe Band Championships which took place on Saturday 13 August at Glasgow Green...

"Probably this is the strongest band that I've ever played in". This was Richard Parkes speaking to Gary West shortly after his band, Field Marshal Montgomery from Belfast, had finished playing at the Worlds on Saturday.

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band

Richard doesn't make this sort of comment lightly, and few will have been surprised to see the Field Marshal register one of the most decisive victories in the Grade One arena in recent years. They were imperious in both the MSR and the medley, despite a heavy cloudburst in the latter, and have put together a medley selection which will certainly stand the test of time - a canny blend of the traditional and modern, beautifully weighted, and rounded off with Fred Morrison's wonderfully free-flowing setting of the 'Train Journey North'.


Richard's bands have been a by-word in creative excellence and tonal quality for over 20 years, and this latest line-up of Field Marshal Montgomery has certainly done him proud. In some ways it's hard to imagine his style and approach ever being bettered, but the 2011 Worlds perhaps gives a hint of what's to come. Scottish Power have broken into the top three with a good clean sound and classy arrangements. Inveraray and District have a hint of the peat-reek - good music, well played, with a Highland sensibility. These are bands under young leadership, keen to get on, and with the potential to win. SFU, SLOT and Boghall will always be in the mix. Shotts and the Strathclyde police are rebuilding, but can certainly pull themselves back into contention. Fife Constabulary and Dowco Triumph Street have put down a strong marker.

Anyway - you can judge for yourselves. The clips are online (thanks to Nick Dempsey and his team), and we'll be featuring further highlights in Pipeline on the 20th and 27th of August, the first in the company of pipe band veterans Alistair Aitken and John Wilson.

Iain MacInnes

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