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Glenfiddich Piping Championships 2010

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Paul McFadyen Paul McFadyen | 16:49 UK time, Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Angus MacColl - photo by Derek Maxwell

Angus MacColl - 2010 Overall Winner

This year's Glenfiddich Piping Championships took place on Saturday 30th October at Blair Castle in Blair Atholl. BBC Radio Scotland's Pipeline were there to record the event and BBC Alba were on site armed with cameras.

Watch a short interview below with Liz Maxwell from Glenfiddich Piping & Fiddling to find out more about the event. Also keep an eye out on BBC Alba next year for a programme going behind the scenes of the piping world with footage from the Glenfiddich and other major piping events.

Pipeline producer Iain MacInnes gave us his rundown of the event:

The Argyll contingent headed home from Blair Atholl at the weekend with a spring in the step and a trunk-load of silverware, as the top three prizes went to Argyll pipers, born and bred.

Angus MacColl from Benderloch took his third Glenfiddich title (the first being in 1995), with a poised performance of the grand old pibroch 'The End of the Great Bridge', followed by a blistering display of march playing as he launched into 'John MacDonald of Glencoe' with serious intent. The cautious approach is never for Angus, and on this occasion he was at his absolute best.

Also in good trim, and with a beautifully resonant instrument, was Inveraray's Stuart Liddell. As the defending champion, Stuart laid out his stall with a well-structured 'Lament for Donald Bàn MacCrimmon' (all 21 minutes of it!), followed by a free-flowing March, Strathspey and Reel, ending in GS McLennnan's tricky 'Little Cascade'. Many have come a cropper on this tune. Stuart has made it his own with an intuitive understanding of the tune's rhythmic complexities.

In third place overall was Willie McCallum from Campbeltown (by way of a short stay in Bearsden), who celebrated his 23d consecutive appearance with a measured performance of the beautifully poignant tune 'The Daughter's Lament'. Tunes of this type require a well-set instrument, particularly on the top hand. Willie was equal to the task.

In fact it's been a while since I've enjoyed a pibroch competition so much: good tunes from all concerned (including a marvellously gritty 'Donald Gruamach's March' from Roddy MacLeod); well-set instruments; and a consistency across the field which hasn't always been evident at the Glenfiddich. Particular mention should be made of the two newcomers to the event, the Oban Gold medallist Faye Henderson, and the Inverness medallist Andrew Hayes. Both played extremely well, and neither looked or sounded out of place in such exalted company.

If the MSR competition perhaps fell short of the quality evident in the pibroch, this was nonetheless an impressive showcase for Highland piping, heard in the best possible surroundings. We'll be featuring highlights on Pipeline on the 6th and 13th of November.


Ceòl Mòr

1st Angus MacColl

2nd Willie McCallum
3d Dr Angus MacDonald
4th Andrew Hayes
5th Stuart Liddell


1st Stuart Liddell

2d Angus MacColl
3d Roddy MacLeod
4th Iain Speirs
5th Willie McCallum


1st Angus MacColl
2nd Stuart Liddell
3d Willie McCallum

Make sure to tune into Pipeline on BBC Radio Scotland and also Crunnluath on BBC Radio nan Gaidheal for further highlights from the event.


  • Comment number 1.

    Thank you for this review, Iain, and I'm currently listening to this week's Pipeline online! I wondered if you could answer a question for me? It's been a few years since we've heard Donald Gruamach's march in its entirety on Pipeline. Are there plans to air Roddy MacLeod's performance in an upcoming show? (It would be good to hear all of The Lament for the Union too!)
    Anyway, thank you as ever for the BBC's wonderful coverage of these piping events. They are always a highlight of this ex-pat's week!


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