Forres twin town associations in Chieftain’s Marquee fundraiser

VISITORS from Forres’ two twin partners will kick off the weekend of Piping At Forres with a celebration in Grant Park.

Guests from Vienenburg in Germany, and two students from Mount Dora in America which are both twinned with Forres will descend on the town the night before the piping extravaganza for a fundraising event.

The party was the idea of sixth year Forres Academy student Laura MacPherson Zieger who approached Forres Events Limited, the organisers of the European Pipe Band Championships to hold the event.

The event is being held to raise money to send two Forres Academy pupils to Mount Dora on exchange next year, plus a number of younger pupils to Vienenburg in the following year.

Laura said: “I heard about the Chieftain’s Marquee when a representative from Piping At Forres and Forres Rotary Club came into the school to do mock interviews with us to prepare us for university and job interviews. One of the questions I was asked is what I would use the Chieftain’s Marquee for and it made sense to use it for a fundraising event. That’s really where the idea started.”

The event which will feature The Dunphail Ceilidh Band and the German guests singing folk songs will take place on June 23.

David MacFarquhar, chairman of the Forres-Vienenburg Twining Association which is supporting the event and has been involved in the organisation of the celebration said: “This is going to be a fantastic event and is a great way to kick off what is going to be a spectacular weekend for the town of Forres. Laura and her team have put in such a huge amount of work and tickets are already like gold dust.”.

Tickets priced at £10 must be purchased in advance. They are on sale at the Fact Office in Leask Road.

 

 

 

Walking app will encourage visitors to explore town’s rich history

A walk in the park – The app will encourage visitors to the town to explore the rich local heritage the town has to offer. Left to right are app developer David Sim, Forres Events director Eddie Tomkinson, and volunteer Paul Johnson.

A WALKING app which will provide self-guided tours around Forres and will highlight its rich and colourful history is now available to download.

Organisers of the European Pipe Band Championships, Piping at Forres, commissioned the app to help people explore the heritage of the town and its people.

The free to download app has been launched in the run up to Piping At Forres which takes place on 24 June 2017, and which is celebrating the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

Joanna Taylor from Forres Events Limited, which organises the event now in its fifth year, said: “We are delighted this app is now live.

Easy to use

“With an interactive map, both audio and written commentaries and great photographs, it provides a very easy to use piece of technology and includes a trail map which guides the user around the town highlighting key locations such as the Town Hall, Sueno’s Stone, the Falconer Museum, the Old Longview Hotel and the. Whether you are a visitor to the town or a local resident this will give you insights about the town that will fascinate you.”

She added: “If you complete the whole tour, it takes an hour and we hope that people who visit Piping At Forres will take the time to download it before coming to Forres.

“Then, as well as enjoying the Championships, they will also be able to take in the many other interesting landmarks that Forres has to offer. The aim of the app is to get people, whether they are locals or visitors, to enjoy moving around the town as they learn about the long and varied history of the town, its sites and colourful characters.

Long-term benefits for Forres

“Whilst the app is being created on behalf of Piping at Forres, it’s not just going to be available on one day, our intention is that it will keep delivering benefits for the town over time and can be added to and developed even further.”

The app was created by Moray-based software company Openbrolly. Director David Sim said: “Right from the start we’ve built something that is easy to use and easy to update in the future with new walks and updated information. It is an exciting opportunity to be able to work on an app alongside an event that will bring so many people to the town. The app will take visitors a little further afield into the town and allow discovery of what it has to offer.”

Paul Johnson, who volunteered to help research the information about Forres within the app for Piping At Forres, said: “Forres has a fascinating and long history. I am used to telling some of its story to our visitors at Carden Cottages but I have learnt a lot more about the area. I am sure the app will be of interest both to those who live locally and those who come to Piping At Forres as visitors from outside the area.”

This year, Piping At Forres, which is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs and new to this year an interactive science tent.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Forres Walking App – iOS

Forres Walking App – Google Play

Be a Have-A-Go Hero at Piping At Forres

There’s lots to do at Piping At Forres and this year we have a new attraction. Have you ever wondered what it would be like to play the bagpipes or how many Gaelic words you know? The Have-A-Go Row located in the Retail Village is filled with interactive activities that you wouldn’t get to do every day.

Come along and have a go, you never know, you might just find a new interest, hobby, or even an undiscovered talent.

  • RSPB – Sharpen up your observation skills with the RSPB and learn to birdwatch like a pro.
  • The Keith Kilt and Textile Centre – Make & Take – create a crazy felting miniature or make a card and find out more about the kilt and textile courses on offer.
  • The Squeezebox Shop – Hear the accordion played by an expert and maybe even have a go yourself.
  • The Discovery Tent – The Forres & District Pipe Band will let you practice your puff on the pipes and bang the drum to your heart’s content!
  • Moray Gaelic Group – Dip your toe into the culture of the Gaels – and have a go at the language – with the help of the Moray Gaelic Group
  • Historic Environment Scotland – In keeping with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology you can delve into the history of Forres and Moray with tailored crafts and get hands on with artefacts discovered around the region.
  • Battle Scar Entertainment will have actors dressed in historic costume roaming the arena bringing history to life as they engage the public with stories from the past. There will also be the chance to make your own battle mask.
  • We are hoping the snow will stay away today, but you never know in Scotland! Just in case, you can test your skills with Moray Sports Foundation who will be on the park with their ski ergometer.
  • Get a taster of life as a Highland Reservist with the Highland Reserves and Cadets Association.
  • Delve into the past of Cluny Hill with archaeologist Dr Leif Isaksen and his team who are excavating the site which is thought to be an Iron Age hill-fort

Science and the sun set to shine at Piping At Forres

Firth Flyer – From left: George Goudsmit and Campbell Maclennan from AES Solar with Bill Graham and the Firth Flyer from the T-Exchange which will be displayed in the Science Tent.

Piping At Forres is delighted to welcome the only Scottish solar panel manufacturer, based in Moray to this year’s event to entertain visitors with the power of the sun.

Forres-based firm AES Solar is operating an Interactive Science Tent at Piping At Forres and it is encouraging little and big kids alike to pay them a visit.

George Goudsmit, managing director of AES Solar explained: “Piping At Forres is a huge event for Moray and of course Forres where we are based, and as a local business it is really important for us to get involved and be part of it. We could have taken a stall but that’s not how we operate at AES. We want to create something fun and unique which will be enjoyed by all, but that will also provide information about how we can harness the use of the sun and what a powerful source of energy it is.”

Collaboration

AES Solar has created the free attraction by collaborating with a number of organisations.

Visitors can be expected to be wowed by the Firth Flyer, a solar plane which will be making its debut journey across the Moray Firth in the coming months and they can also become a remote pilot of the Mars Rover with the T-Exchange, a group which combines creative thinking, practical skills and new or old technology to make innovative objects and devices.

T-Exchange member Les Grosvenor will also be there with his experimental Model Railway “Plank” which will show how a simple model railway shuttle system can be powered by a solar panel, whilst the Falconer Museum of Forres will be there its Kinetic Bike.

There will also be STEM Ambassadors co-ordinated by Aberdeen Science Centre who will have plenty of interactive activities such as engineering challenges, and maths and science puzzles too.

Hands-on

George added: “This has taken a lot of planning and we want to ensure that there are plenty of hands-on activities. We are delighted with the response and we are very fortunate to have such a wide range of interactive experimental things for the visitors to Piping At Forres to do.”

AES Solar was established in 1979 to manufacture solar thermal panels and has been run by George Goudsmit since 1989.

AES Solar has been involved in a number of landmark projects such as the first ever domestic Solar PV roof installation in the UK in 1995, and more recently has carried out work on a project on the Royal Estate at Balmoral.

The company trades worldwide and has export customers in markets as diverse as Scandinavia, Africa and South America.

Recently, AES Solar launched a new service for custom-built solar panels which can be shaped to accommodate difficult roof areas whilst the frame can be manufactured in any colour.

 

Businesses urged to bang the drum for the town – and win a prize!

Piping At Forres is delighted to be working alongside the Forres Business Association who are encouraging businesses in and around Forres area to beat the drum for the town by getting involved in the event.

Organisers of Piping At Forres and the Forres Business Association have launched a competition where businesses are being encouraged to immerse themselves in the event and they could win a £150 prize.

Marc Hindley from the Forres Business Association explained: “Big events such as Piping At Forres, Colours of Cluny, and the Findhorn Bay Festival for example can mean big business for the town, but it’s important that local
businesses feel part of these events too, hence why we are working with the organisers at Piping At Forres on this competition.

Open to all

“The competition is open to all businesses in the IV36 postcode area, and it’s really important that we stress that. The business association is not just about the High Street.”
He added: “It may be that shop owners want to dress their windows with a piping theme or tie it in with the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology which Piping At Forres is part of, or it may be they want to create some kind of item to sell, or food outlets such as the restaurants, cafes, bakers and butchers create a culinary delight with a piping or drumming feel. The options are endless, we want people to be creative and we want our businesses have fun and tap into the event.”

“The event brings thousands of people to the Forres area, and making visitors feel welcome has great long-term value for the town and its businesses, and not just those in the tourism sector.”
Ideas need to be in place by Monday June 12 and judging will take place on Friday, June 16 a week before the European Pipe Band Championships.

 

Moray Speyside Tourism Operations Manager Laurie Piper (third left) attended the Piping At Forres launch party and will judge the FBA competition.

Judging the entries will be Laurie Piper, Operations Manager with Moray Speyside Tourism and Jo Robinson, Visit Scotland’s regional director.
Laurie Piper said:  “This is a great idea by the Forres Business Association. Events like Piping At Forres are crucial for the area and entice people not just from across the region but from around the world too. What better way to get people interested in your product or shop than by creating something unique that’s going to make people want to stay longer and potentially visit your business.”

Economic impact

Last year, Piping At Forres generated over £1m for the local area according to an independent economic report and the feedback study gave the event 9 out of 10 for overall customer enjoyment and attracted more pipers than ever before.

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said: “I would encourage all the businesses in this area to get involved in this competition, which is a bit of fun but also shows that they are getting behind this hugely successful annual event, which brings so many visitors into the town. 

“Tourism is leading economic transformation in Moray Speyside through redevelopment and expansion of existing products, innovation and bringing new opportunities to the visitor economy.”
Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.
Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

Please email FBA Marketing Officer claire@chitchat.scot by June 12 with your completed ideas to ensure that all the information is handed to the judges for June 16th.

Forres Pipe Band will play at Euros

Gordon Roy was the star of a video promoting Piping At Forres

A PIPE Major who became an internet sensation when he appeared in a video promoting Piping At Forres has said he is delighted his band will be taking part.

Gordon Roy who leads the Forres & District Pipe Band has confirmed that the band will be taking part in this year’s event.

But he said, that whilst the Grade 4B band is looking forward to the event, running a pipe band is becoming increasingly difficult due to recruitment.

Gordon said: “We actually decided relatively late that we were going to take part in the European Pipe Band Championships as we were not sure we would have enough people to make up the band. It should be a given that the band from the town that holds event take part, but we were not sure we would manage. It would have been unfortunate had we not been able to get something together, but we have managed and we are really looking forward to it.”

He added: “We have around 30 playing members who age between 12 and 73 years old, but the problem lay with the drumming. We just couldn’t recruit enough drummers. However, we are delighted that this problem is now solved and we have been practising to prepare for the Championships.

“This isn’t a problem that is unique to Forres, we are in touch with pipe bands throughout the country and everyone is feeling the difficulties.”

To address the issue of getting new members, Forres & District Pipe Band has a vigorous youth training programme and offers tuition on the pipes and drums free of charge to anyone in the local area who wishes to learn.

“Our free training programme has been up and running for about a year. It was the brainchild of our chairman and piper John Channon who saw a real need for it and the programme is working. What we are seeing is that there is a desire for young people to learn this skill,” explained Gordon. “It is part of Scotland’s history and heritage and we feel we have a duty to ensure that it doesn’t die out. Whilst we have had a few problems over the last couple of years, we believe that through our recruitment programme we will be creating pipers and drummers for generations to come and that is something that feels great.”

Gordon hit the spotlight in May when a promotional video for Piping At Forres went viral on social media. Gordon was filmed playing Flower of Scotland at numerous historical locations in and around Forres including Nelson’s Tower and Brodie Castle. The film was viewed almost 30,000 times and reached over 72,000 people on Facebook.

Speaking on the success of the film, Gordon said: “I had great fun filming, it was long day and never have I had to play the same tune so many times in one day, but it was worth it. I was delighted to be asked by the team at Piping At Forres, but never did I expect it get such a huge response.”

This year, Piping At Forres, which is supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate will be held on Saturday, June 24 in Grant Park, Forres.

The event not only includes world class piping, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also has a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs and new to this year an interactive science tent.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drum themselves.

More than 100 pipe bands compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray. It has been awarded over 9 out of 10 in feedback each year, and in 2016 was again shortlisted for Best Event in the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

If you want to find out more about the Forres & District Pipe Band contact the band secretary Elaine Mcallister at elaine_mcallister@aol.com or call  01309 676736.

 

Pipes call out for volunteers

The pipes are calling for volunteers to get involved in Piping At Forres.

Volunteers are key to the success of the event which will be held on June 24 2017 in Grant Park, and registration is now open for those who want to lend a hand.

Lesley Dyson who volunteered for the first time last year said: “I absolutely loved it, it was a fantastic experience, I would not have missed it for the world. I really loved being involved in such a big event in my community.”

Jobs for all

There are jobs that suit all abilities, before, during and after the event.

During Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships which is supported by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, volunteers are asked to work in teams interacting with the visitors, selling
programmes and helping keep Grant Park looking its best.

Help in setting up and taking down the event, for example welcoming the 100+ stallholders, moving lightweight crowd barriers and banners on the Friday and Sunday morning is also requested.

Enjoy a great day out

Sandra MacIver who coordinates the volunteers said: “The feedback we get from our volunteers is that whilst they are there to help out they thoroughly enjoy the day and all that the event has to offer. There are jobs to suit everyone and we particularly encourage help from young people who may be able to use the support they provide towards awards such as the Duke of Edinburgh scheme or on their CVs.”

She added: “People who want to get involved need to register so we can make a volunteer plan. All volunteers will be given a full briefing on Thursday 15 June 2017 at 7.30pm at the Town Hall.”

Register to be a volunteer

Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

 

 

Moray landmark dig will form Piping At Forres attraction

A MORAY landmark is to become the centre of an archaeological dig which will tie in with Piping At Forres.

Cluny Hill in Forres, which is topped by the famous Nelson’s Tower, has recently been confirmed as the site of a much older historical monument.

Dr Leif Isaksen, who grew up in Forres and is now a Senior Lecturer at Lancaster University, is returning to his hometown as part of a community excavation to learn more about what may be an Iron Age hill-fort.

The dig brings together local and international archaeologists, along with a large team of volunteers, and will be open to the public as part of Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships.

Leif said: “We are very excited to be carrying out a community research project at Cluny Hill. It is a wonderful place to be working, with beautiful views across the Moray Firth. If size is anything to go by it could be one of the most significant hilltop sites in the northern Scotland.”

He added: “Dramatic changes to the landscape over the past two centuries meant that the earliest traces of human activity on Cluny Hill have all but faded from view. We very much hope that this project will inspire people to learn more about Forres and its fascinating history. The excavation has been timed to fit in with Piping At Forres and it’s a huge pleasure to be involved.”

Leif and his colleagues will form part of “Have A Go Row” at Piping at Forres which is supported by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky and supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Have A Go Row is made up of around 10 different interactive stalls. The archaeologists will be using the latest 3D and laser-scanning technologies to reveal the hill’s secrets to the public, and will run guided tours around the hill during the day.

Leif said: “We are still finalising our programme of activities at Piping At Forres, but we are certain that visitors will have their eyes opened to the ancient history beneath their feet.”

Joanna Taylor, one of the directors of Forres Event Ltd which organises Piping At Forres said: “I am delighted that Leif’s plans for an excavation on Cluny Hill are going ahead, and that his team have decided to coincide the dig with Piping At Forres. This is a welcome addition for us and will provide another fascinating element to the event, particularly as Piping At Forres is part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology 2017.”

Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

 

German “twins” plan visit to coinicide with Piping At Forres

Photos © 2016 GnBri Photography

THE history of Forres’ links with its twin town of Vienenburg will be celebrated in style when a contingency from the German town make a special visit to the European Pipe Band Championships.

Around 45 people from Vienenburg have chosen to make their annual visit to tie in with Piping At Forres which is being held in Grant Park on June 24.

David MacFarquhar, chairman of the Forres-Vienenburg Twining Association said he was delighted that the visit would coincide with Piping At Forres which has become Moray’s biggest one day event.

He said: “About 45 Germans will arrive in Forres in June in time for Piping At Forres. Twinning exchanges do not normally take place at the height of the summer but this one will and it is Piping At Forres that is the big attraction. Our visitors are familiar with pipe bands, after all, they have been here many times before and their bus is normally greeted by a piper, but this is different.”

He continued: “When they heard that well over a hundred bands would be playing in Grant Park there was a rush to get a place on the trip. Most are coming by bus and will spend a week in the area. Some, including a few dignitaries, will fly in for the event.”

Roland Wolf, the secretary of the Vienenburg Twinning Association said: “To hear more than one band playing together sounds difficult. But how can you organise a hundred pipe bands to play together? It sounds impossible or a miracle!”

The trip follows a visit last year which focussed on kick starting the school exchanges between Forres Academy and the Vicco von Bulow Oberschule in Vienenburg, a slightly smaller school.

It also falls just a month before Forres Area Soccer 7s take 16 young players to Germany as a response to a similar exchange visit from the Germans in 2015.

Joanna Taylor, a director of Forres Events Limited, the company that organises Piping At Forres said it is great the event is attracting the twinning visitors.

She said: “It is marvellous that our counterparts in Germany have decided to arrange their visit to tie in with Piping At Forres and in such large numbers too. We extend them a very warm welcome and wish them all the best and have no doubt they will have a fantastic day.”

Tickets on sale for Piping At Forres extravaganza

Left to right: Forres Events Chairman Alan James, RSPBA Chief Executive Ian Embelton, Moray Speyside Tourism Operations Manager Laurie Piper, Benromach Marketing Director Ian Chapman, Forres & District Pipe Band piper John Channon and 2017 Chieftain Major General Seymour Monro.

 

The countdown to Moray’s biggest one-day event which attracts visitors from all over the world is on, with tickets now on sale.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place on June 24 in Grant Park.

And the event, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, has been launched with a party held in the distillery.

Now in its fifth year, Piping At Forres not only includes world class piping and drumming, Highland dancing and the World Tattie Scone Championships but also includes a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, bars and family attractions such as funfairs.

Hands-on activities

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. New attractions at this year’s event will include an interactive science tent and reenactors to tell visitors more about the history and heritage of Forres and the surrounding area.

Elaine Sutherland from Oakwood Cookery School serves up her famous tattie scones to MSP Richard Lochhead.

Alan James, chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises Piping At Forres said: “The launch event was a huge success and marks the countdown to what is now a firm fixture on the piping calendar and also a key date in the diary for locals and tourists alike who come and spend the whole day in Grant Park soaking up the atmosphere of the piping whilst enjoying all of the other attractions such as the craft village, food and drink stalls, the funfair and the many interactive attractions that make it a great family day out.”

He added: “Since the first Piping At Forres in 2013, the event has grown and each year there is something new. This year we are delighted to be part of Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and the park will be cast back in time when reenactors from various historical periods descend on the arena. We have also commissioned a historical walking app which will not only get people moving around Grant Park and learning about its history, but also get people out into the town itself, creating a real carnival feel not just in the park, but throughout the whole of Forres.”

The Chieftain

Major General Seymour Monro who will act as this year’s Chieftain also spoke at the ticket launch event.

He said: “I am really delighted to have been invited to act as Chieftain for this year’s European Pipe Band Championships. It is a spectacular event which has put not only Forres but Moray on the map. From across the world, pipers and drummers travel to Forres to take part. The people of Forres and the organisers of Piping at Forres are now renowned for putting on a fantastic show. As a local man it is a real honour to be able to support this superb event and the launch party has kicked that off very nicely.”

Tourism

Last year, Piping at Forres drummed up over £1 million for the local economy and was shortlisted for the Best Cultural Event or Festival award in the 2016 Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards.

Laurie Piper, Tourism Operations Manager for Moray Speyside Tourism attended the launch party and spoke about the economic and cultural benefit of events such as Piping At Forres.

He said: “Piping At Forres has established itself as one of Moray’s key annual events, attracting patrons from across Scotland and beyond and offering a unique opportunity for visitors to enjoy a truly authentic taste of this most special part of Scotland.”

On behalf of Benromach, Ian Chapman Marketing Director added: “We are very proud to have been involved from the very start with Piping At Forres. Piping At Forres promotes the local community and this is something Benromach is keen to support. We are looking forward to this great day out in June.”

#HHA2017

The McNab family.

Special guests at the launch party were the McNab family from Pitlochry who won a contest to find the family with the most poignant links to piping. The McNabs currently have 11 family members spanning three generations playing in The Vale of Atholl Pipe Band.

The contest which saw nominations coming in from as far afield as Canada also ties in with Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology. Piping At Forres is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is delighted to again be supporting Piping at Forres, which has grown to be a standout event for the region.

“Set against the scenic backdrop of Forres, the sight and sound of pipers together with the array of entertainment, ensures that locals and visitors travelling from far and wider to the Championships have a wonderful day out whilst also celebrating Scotland’s Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology.”