What would a Highland Games be without the bagpipes? At Bridge of Allan we have always considered ourselves exceptionally lucky to host a high standard of competition with such a high number of pipe bands. Year after year some of the finest pipe bands in the world grace our field for what is one of the most favoured events in the bagpiping calendar.
Piping is a very competitive activity. Coming as it does shortly before the World Pipe Band Championship, Bridge of Allan Highland Games is an ideal opportunity for bands to ‘fine tune’ their performance in time for the big one, as well as an important event to win, in its own right. This fortuitous timing also helps greatly with visiting bands from overseas, which often plan their trip to include several Highland Games before the Championship. This year is no exception and we are delighted to welcome all bands who have travelled from near and far to play in our competitions.
The competition itself is a great spectacle but of course nothing surpasses the march past of the massed pipe bands, which marks the climax of the Games. At around 5.30, dependant on other events, our Chieftain takes the salute as the bands come into the arena and pass in front of the grandstand. During this a number of ‘core’ bands are positioned in the middle of the field, taking it in turn to play.
Once all bands are assembled, they play ‘Salute to the Chieftain’. It is this highlight which many past Chieftains have described as the most moving moment in a day which is filled with many emotions.
Bands are unaware of their placing until the results are read out at the end of the Games and the prizes presented by the Chieftain. All competitive pipe band activities in Scotland are run under the auspices of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association. www.rspba.org
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