Fingers crossed for members of Stranraer’s Lochryan Pipe Band, whose members are practising in earnest in the hope that they will be crowned grade 4B champions when they compete at the European Pipe Band Championships, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Whisky, in Forres, Moray, on Saturday, June 29.
The band, which celebrated its 80th anniversary last year, currently has around 40 playing members from the Stranraer and Wigtownshire area, ranging in age from 10 to 75. There are also a number of children, and adults learning the pipes and drums under the leadership of Pipe Major Andrew Nicol and Drum Sergeant Murray Stewart to swell the band numbers in future years.
Lochryan Pipe Band is a bit of a family affair, with two married couples, one of whom has a daughter piping in the band; three sisters all playing in the pipe corps; and a father with his daughter in the tenor section and his son in the pipe corps.
To get to Forres and pay for their transport, food and other expenses, the band has been busy fundraising, including raising £2000 from a walk of the West Highland Way in May, playing their pipes along the route which was a treat for all they met and – probably less welcome – at reveille a 7am.
The entire band is staying in Aberlour for two nights around the championships in accommodation found by the owners of the Mash Tun there, who are great supporters of the band.
Kim Hollis, secretary to the Lochryan band, said: “The band is very much looking forward to competing in the European Pipe Band Championships and, in particular, going to Forres.”
More than 120 bands have registered to play in the European Championships, the majority coming from Scotland, but also Eire, and Northern Ireland and as far afield as Belgium, Australia and Oman.
Tickets, now on sale through www.pipinghotforres.com, are priced: adults, £10 (£12 on day); youths (12-17), £7 (£8 on day); under-12s, free if accompanied by an adult); family ticket (two adults, two youths), £28 (£30 on day).