Oman pipers add Middle East flavour to Innerleithen Championships

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A touch of Arabia comes to Innerleithen this Saturday when the Royal Guard of Oman Pipe Band competes in the town’s Pipe Band contest.

The St Ronan’s Piping Society’s president Bruce Hamilton said: “I am delighted that the band, which incidentally is tutored by two local men, Colin Fairbairn and David Macbeth, has agreed to take part in Innerleithen in preparation for their participation in the European Pipe Band Championships in Forres at the end of the month. “The band forms part of the personal guard of The Sultan of Oman, Quaboos Bin Said Al Said, who has ruled the Middle Eastern state for 30 years.

“The Sultan fell in love with the pipes at Sandhurst, where he trained as a British Army officer, he found the bagpipes were ideal for playing traditional Arabic and Omani music and set up the Royal Guard of Oman Pipe Band.”

Alongside the Omani pipers, there will be over 20 bands from across the south and central Scotland.

The 2013 Chieftain is Jean Wilson, best known for her role with Innerleithen Civic Association and her 
enthusiasm for St Ronans Games Week. Parades will commence at 11.30am when Jean and retiring Chieftain Jim Doherty will be piped from Hall Street to Victoria Park to open the championships.

The day concludes with the massed pipe bands parade along the High Street to salute the Chieftain.

The championships, being held for the 12th time, commences at 12noon and offers prize money totalling over £2,000.