Skirl of the pipes brings out crowds at Innerleithen

The massed bands and drum majors give a salute to chieftain Stuart Robinson.
The massed bands and drum majors give a salute to chieftain Stuart Robinson.

A 200-strong crowd enjoyed the sights and sounds of the annual pipes and drums contest in Innerleithen at the weekend.

More than 100 pipers and drummers from as far afield as Fife and Edinburgh descended on the picturesque grounds of St Ronan’s School on Saturday .

Organised by St Ronan’s Piping Society, the 18th Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships brought to a close this year’s Lothian and Borders branch competition season.

The contest featured over 25 performances with bands from grades 2, 3, 4, novice juvenile and a juvenile and adult drum majors completion.

Ronan’s Piping Society secretary Allan Johnston said: “This year’s championships proved a great day. The sun shone and everybody enjoyed themselves.

“We had around 200 people through the gate and the parade of bands along the street at the end was well supported with eight bands on parade.

“And again the weather helped bring plenty of people out on to the street to enjoy that.

“We had some great music and the Tweedvale Pipe Band was second in grade three and second in grade two.

“That’s Innerleithen’s local band and they all did really well.”

Nearby band Peebles Ex-Servicemen’s also enjoyed a successful day placing second in grade 4.

Away from the competition ring, refreshments from local traders Caldwell’s Ice Creams and Sarah’s Cakes and AMPM catering proved popular while a funfair, and children’s climbing wall kept spectators entertained.

Allan added: “Our guests of honour this year were visitors from St Ronan’s Care Home. They came along with some carers and had a really good time enjoying the music.

“I really need to thank all of the people who made today such a fantastic success, our patrons, sponsors and advertisers without whose support our event could not take place.”

This year’s games chieftain Stuart Robertson, chairman of Leithen Football Club, said it was an honour and privilege to don the chieftain’s chains.

Allan added: “Stuart said it was a day that he would never forget. He felt luck and privileged to be a part of it all.

“He really looked the part too, and was actually joined by eight past chieftains at this year’s event.”

After presenting trophies and prizes amounting to more than £2,500, chieftain Stuart accepted a salute as each band paraded past him on High Street and selected Edinburgh-based Stockbridge Pipe Band, this year’s grade 3 branch champion of champions, as his best band on parade.

Saturday also saw the crowning of this year’s Lothian and Borders branch champion of champion bands, drum corps and drum majors by the officiating pipe band body the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.

Next year’s contest takes place at St Ronan’s School on Saturday, September 12.

Results were as follows:

Grade Novice B: 1, George Watson’s College Novice Juvenile; 2, Tynecastle.

Grade 4: 1 Camelon and District (best drum corp); 2, Peebles Ex-Servicemen’s; 3,Stockbridge.

Grade 4 MSR: 1, Royal High; 2, Penicuik and District: 3, George Watson’s College (best drum corp): 4, Camelon and District.

Grade 3: 1, Stockbridge (best drum corp); 2, Tweedvale; 3,Royal High: 4, Penicuik and District: 5, George Watson’s College.

Grade 2: 1, Stockbridge (best drum corp): 2, Tweedvale.

For full results visit: www.rspba.org.uk