Tweedvale Pipe Band are celebrating being well and truly back on form having been crowned European Champions at the weekend.
The 17-strong team of pipers and drummers from the Innerleithen-based band stormed to an unexpected victory in grade 4a at the championship, held in Forres, on Saturday.
They best off stiff competition from 14 other bands to take a two four places in piping, a second in drumming and a first from the ensemble judge - leaving them four points clear of their nearest competition.
Under pipe major Bruce Gillie and leading drummer Ross McLaren the band has enjoyed an excellent competition season so far.
Their march, strathspey and reel set, comprising Walter Douglas MBE, Archie Duncan and Colonel MacLeod, served them well at the British Championships held in Paisley in May where they picked up sixth place.
But bettering that performance to take the European title on Saturday came as a complete shock to the band.
“This result was certainly beyond our expectation,” pipe major Gillie said. “We had a great result in Paisley and from there, decided to give the European Championships a go and keep the momentum going.
“It was a long way to travel, and we knew we had to be at our best.
“We played really well and I couldn’t have asked for better from the guys.
“It all came together on the park and that’s all you can hope for.
“This is the first major championship we have won since Cowal 2002 – and since that time the band has had a few face lifts – at last we seem to be getting back on track.“
Competing since the mid 1980s, the band was also Scottish Champions in 2002 and enjoyed promotion to grade 3b in 2007 where it remained for two years before a lack of drummers left it out of competition action until 2014.
But four years later things are more than looking up for the band, which also performs at community events including St Ronan’s Games week.
“It’s great that after several years of struggle, the band has got back to the top of the tree and is performing well as a unit again,” band secretary Charles Gray added. “We’re now looking forward to maintaining this level of performance at our next competition at the Scottish Championships at the end of July.
“Results like Saturday’s are why we put in the hard yards at practices, it makes everything worthwhile.”
Tweedvale Pipe Band practices twice a week in Innerleithen and is always on the look out for new players from complete beginners to experienced pipers and drummers.
Anyone interested in joining can visit: www.tweedvalepipeband.com or email: firstname.lastname@example.org