The last Saturday of May saw Tweedvale Pipe Band travel the short distance to West Lothian to take part in the pipe band contests at the West Lothian Highland Games, which were held in Meadow Park Bathgate. Tweedvale Pipe Band had entered three of the pipe band events on the day and was thus assured of a busy day. The band was drawn to play first in the Grade 4 March event out of 8 entered bands. Playing in beautifully sunny and warm conditions, Tweedvale played their March set for the second time in outdoor competition this season. The consensus of opinion from the band members in the post-performance analysis was that the performance was pretty poor, with a poor introduction to the set and at least one obvious mistake; the waste of a decent sound. Undeterred by this first showing of the day the band then continued on to perform in the Grade 4 and NJ March Strathspey and Reel contest. Continuing to enjoy great sunny weather, this performance was much improved on the G4 marches but there were still too many slips being made. The Pipe Major thought this was quite unexplainable given that nothing like this had been demonstrated at practices in the run up to the Bathgate contest.
Tweedvale’s third run of the day was in the Grade3 contest which was also a March Strathspey and reel contest. The general opinion of the band was that this run was by far the best of the day. When the results were announced, the band’s own opinion of their performances were found to be markedly at odds with the judges as Tweedvale Band found itself placed FIRST in the Grade 4 March contest winning the John Russell Trophy, and a substantial cash prize to boost the coffers. Both piping judges, the drumming judge and the ensemble judge all placed the band first in the grade leading to the overall prize. Tweedvale also found itself placed FIRST in the Grade 4 & NJ MSR contest, with the judges this time placing the band first and second for piping, and second for both drumming and ensemble leading to the award of FIRST place and the RSPBA Lothian and Borders Cup. Even more silverware was to come the band’s way when the Grade 3 contest result was announced – a second place was awarded to the band, with all four judges in unanimous agreement over the second place. This was a great result for the band considering that the band only entered the event on the day to give themselves extra practice at their March Strathspey and Reel set. Grade 3 was won by Wallacestone & District Pipe Band. Thus after a long and successful day’s piping and drumming in some spectacularly sunny weather, the Tweedvale bus, kindly supplied by BARC Coach Hire, made its way back home filled with silverware, prizemoney for band coffers and a bunch of happy pipers, drummers and supporters!!
These results have boosted Tweedvale Pipe Bands standing in the RSPBA Lothian & Borders Branch Champion of Champions table. This is a ranking of the performance of all local branch bands over the six contest held in the branch area. After two events, Tweedvale Pipe Band is holding its own in the Grade 4 table with one first place and one third place giving a total of nine points and first place in the table.
Speaking about the outcome of the Bathgate contest, Tweedvale Pipe Major Bruce Gillie said “I was really happy with the results we achieved on Saturday – it’s great encouragement for all of us who have been working hard over the winter. The performances the band gave on Saturday were not of the best and there is much that we can do to improve them; but it’s great that we have won so much silverware so early in the season. Congratulations to all the players involved. I’m confident that we can use these results as a springboard to further success this season.”
Tweedvale’s contest season will resume in late July when they band will participate in the Scottish Pipe Band Championships. In the intervening time the band will, as Innerleithen Pipe Band, be taking part in local festivals including the Peebles Beltane, the Walkerburn Summer festival and the St Ronan’s Border Games week, as well as undertaking further fundraising events including its annual coffee morning which is being held this coming Saturday 04 June.
Details of the Day
Contest venue – Meadow Park Bathgate.
Grade 4 Marches: Greenwoodside, The Earl of Mansfield, McKay’s Farewell to the 74th and The Piper’s Cave.
Grade 4 & NJ MSR – P/M Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban, Men of Argyll, Molly Connell, The Keel Row, Lexy McAskill and Flora, Mrs MacLeod of MacLeod.
Grade 3 MSR – P/M Donald McLean’s Farewell to Oban, Men of Argyll, Molly Connell, The Keel Row, Lexy McAskill and Flora, Mrs MacLeod of MacLeod.
Number of Pipers – 11.
Number of Side Drummers – 5 in Grade 4 Marches, 3 in Grade 4 & NJ MSR and Grade 3.
Number of Bass Drummers – 1.
Number of Tenor Drummers – 1.
The full results of the Bathgate Pipe Band Contest Grade 4 March contest can be found here.
The full results of the Bathgate Pipe Band Contest Grade 4 & NJ MSR contest can be found here.
The full results of the Bathgate Pipe Band Contest Grade 3 MSR contest can be found here.