Pipe dreams come true for best friends

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Two Borderers became world champion pipers last weekend, when their pipe band beat the best in the world, and returned the title to Scotland.

The two best friends, Selkirk mechanic Grant Munro, 27, and BGH caterer James Gill, 21, from Tweedbank, have played for the crack Grade 1 squad Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band since winter 2012.

Their daily practices and twice-weekly trips to Lanarkshire reaped rewards when the 105-year-old band’s 40 pipers and drummers won the 69th World Pipe Band Championship finals on Glasgow Green – the first time the band, and Scotland, had won the crown since 2005.

More than 40,000 spectators watched 8,000 pipers and drummers compete at the two-day event, known as The Worlds, in 230 pipe bands from 16 nations, including USA, Oman, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Denmark, Switzerland, South Africa, Belgium, Austria and Malaysia.

Coached to world class level by former bandsman John Connor from Peebles, the pair chucked their Glengarrys into the air as they beat Northern Ireland’s Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, world champions since 2011, into fourth place.

James, who trained in Galashiels Ex-Service Pipe Band, said: “It was the best we’d played all year.

“The feeling was: ‘You’ve done it – the thing you’ve worked towards your whole life.’ You dream about becoming world champions - it doesn’t happen.”