The 24th annual Archie Kenneth Quaich competition for amateur piobaireachd players was held in the Royal Scottish Pipers’ Society’s rooms in Edinburgh on Saturday 5 March.   The competition is sponsored by the Piobaireachd Society as one of their ways of encouraging the wider playing and appreciation of piobaireachd.

There was a record entry of 32 pipers, a record number of 8 overseas competitors from France, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and the USA, as well as from Scotland, England and Wales, and a record number of 8 lady pipers.   The two Italian pipers are pupils of Alberto Massi, who won the competition in 2003.   Nine players were participating for the first time.

For the first time, in view of the high number of entrants, the competition was played in two heats and a final.   The new format proved successful and the competition ran smoothly and seemed to be enjoyed by all who took part.   As usual, the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly.

The Archie Kenneth Quaich was won by Kirsteen MacDonald from Lincolnshire, a regular entrant over the years, playing the Lament for Donald of Laggan.   The full list of prize winners and their tunes were as follows:

1   Kirsteen MacDonald                  Lament for Donald of Laggan

2   Tom Peterkin                              Lament for Donald of Laggan

3   John Frater                                    The Battle of Waternish

4   Robert Frater                               Lament for the Children

Finalist:   Gill Cairns                          Caber Feidh Gu Brath

Finalist:   Bob Low                            The Old Men of the Shells

IMG_0136 (2)

Kirsteen MacDonald receives the Archie Kenneth Quaich from Patricia Morrison

The judges were Willie Morrison from Glasgow and Bruce Hitchings from Kirknewton and the prizes were presented by Mrs Patricia Morrison.   The smooth running of the event was due in no small measure to the energy and enthusiasm of members of the Royal Scottish Pipers Society, who did the stewarding, helped with tuning and made sure that everyone was made welcome.

Competitors submitted two tunes and were advised a week in advance which had been chosen for them to play in the heats.   As usual, a very wide variety of tunes was presented, including the rarely heard ‘The Desperate Battle, Cuillin’ and a number of modern compositions.   Some excellent bagpipes were in evidence and the tunes were generally well prepared and musically performed.

At the major professional competitions most of the participants are from Scotland and Canada and, to a lesser extent Australia, New Zealand and the USA.   The interest and enthusiasm being shown in the ancient Scottish music of piobaireachd by pipers from Europe is a fascinating feature of the amateur scene.

Alan Forbes

Music Committee Secretary

The Piobaireachd Society

Heat 1 – Order of Play and Tunes

1 George Gordon Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
2 Robert Frater Farewell to the Laird of Islay
3 Con Houlihan Lament for the Viscount of Dundee
4 Chris Ogilvie Isabel Mackay
5 Gordon Hislop Corrienessan’s Salute
6 Kirsteen MacDonald The Company’s Lament
7 Iain Kirkwood His Father’s Lament for Donald MacKenzie
8 Andrea Zingg Too Long in This Condition
9 Sandie Greenwood Corrienessan’s Salute
10 Allan Harper The Massacre of Glencoe
11 Michael Parr Andrew MacNeill of Colonsay
12 Stewart Gaudin The Old Men of the Shells (Setting No 1)
13 Tom Peterkin The Battle of Bealach nam Brog
14 Giovanni Giulianini Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
15 Robert Chalk Ronald MacDonald of Morar’s Lament
16 Michael McGowan Lament for Donald of Laggan


A Robert Frater
B Kirsteen MacDonald
C Tom Peterkin

Judge:            Willie Morrison

Stewards:    Tom Lewin, Andrew Frater (tuning)

Heat 2 – Order of Play and Tunes

1 Dagmar Pesta Sir James MacDonald of the Isles’ Lament
2 Bob Low The Battle of Bealach nam Brog
3 Lachlan McDonald Glengarry’s Lament
4 Theresa Brown The MacFarlanes’ Gathering
5 Andrew Park The Battle of Auldearn No 2
6 Anne Lore MacDonald of Kinlochmoidart’s Lament No 1
7 Janette Greenwood Lament for Mary MacLeod
8 Leslie Barrett The Little Spree
9 Gill Cairns Lament for Donald of Laggan
10 John Forbes Too Long in this Condition
11 Jim Dougall Catherine’s Lament
12 Evan Wraga Lament for MacSwan of Roaig
13 John Frater The Desperate Battle, Cuillin
14 Lorenzo Forconi The Massacre of Glencoe
15 Gregor McCulloch Caber Feidh Gu Brath
16 Walter Gray Caber Feidh Gu Brath



D Bob Low
E Gill Cairns
F John Frater

Judge:            Bruce Hitchings

 Stewards:    Alan McGhie, Peter McCalister (tuning)