No more a “pipe dream” thanks to Piping At Forres

A three-year-old’s ambition to meet a drum major is no longer a pipe dream thanks to his mum and the organisers of Piping At Forres.

Little Aaron Mcdowall came face-to-face with drum major John Noble and Gloria Aicken (pictured) two adjudicators at Piping At Forres on June 30, after his mum Lisa contacted the organisers to see if they could help fulfil his wish.

Aaron is obsessed with pipe bands and watches them perform on his iPad and listens to pipe band music every day.

He even gets his parents to march around whilst he shouts commands.

The Huntly family which includes dad Craig and one-year-old brother Callum were visiting Piping At Forres for the first time and Lisa thought it would be a great opportunity for Aaron to meet a drum major in the flesh.

She said: “A huge thank you to Piping At Forres and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association for helping to organise this. Aaron is just delighted. He loves a pipe band. We have CDs and everyday he listens to the music or watches bands on his tablet.

“He is too young to join a band at the moment, but as soon as he is old enough, if he is still keen, we will get him involved in our local pipe band.”

She added: “We are not sure where his love for pipe band music came from, but he also likes to pretend he is the drum major and he will march about, shouting ‘quick march.’ Quite often he gets us marching with him.”

John Hughes, chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association said: “We have about 5000 youngsters in pipe bands across the country. There is a big focus on education and training. Young people are the future of the Association. The more we can encourage them, then the long-term future of the association is safe.”




Worldwide appeal for Piping At Forres

Sandy Dalziel (centre) brought his Australian band to Piping At Forres.

THE Scottish born pipe major of an Australian band returned home bringing his musicians with him to compete in Piping At Forres.

Sandy Dalziel who was stationed at RAF Kinloss emigrated to Warwick in Queensland in 2005 when he left the airbase situated near to the Moray town of Forres.

However, the 53-year-old came home to the town on June 30 to take part in Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships bringing his 25-strong entourage with him.

Sandy leads the Scots PGC College Pipe Band which consists of 60 pipers and drummers aged 8-18-years-old.

Sandy whose wife Elaine hails from the town said it was important for them to return particularly as it was the last time Piping At Forres took place.

Speaking before the event, he said: “Since we left in 2005, we have only been back once. This is our first time at Piping At Forres. We always had a plan to come at some point but it was fitting to be here at the last one. Bringing these young people here is pretty monumental.

“I am originally from Stranraer and the pipe band I played with there, the Lochryan Pipe Band are competing here too. They loaned us two young players and in return, I got the chance to play with them again. Being here, in Forres, near RAF Kinloss where I was based, in the town I met my wife, with my original pipe band, somehow completes the circle.”

He added: “We have been touring around Scotland and the band played in Princes Street Gardens earlier this week, which was a real experience for them. We have had a great chance to explore, experience and enjoy.”

Elaine, Sandy’s wife said she was glad to be back for a visit: “We were treated to a homecoming party with a BBQ and I have met three new great nieces and nephews for the first time. It’s a bit strange being back. Warwick is very similar in size to Forres and the community there works in the same way as Forres. It’s been great being able to catch up with my family and some old friends.”


Piping at Forres – bridging the volunteer age gap

Oldest volunteer Charlie Gaskin (80) with youngest volunteer six-year-old Euan Ralph

Volunteers have been hailed as they key to the success of Piping At Forres, Moray’s biggest one day event.

And on Saturday six-year-old Euan Ralph met 80-year-old Charlie Gaskin – the pair being the youngest and oldest volunteers at the event.

Over 150 volunteers supported Piping At Forres 2018 and throughout it’s six year run over 400 volunteers have shown their support.

Charlie who was helping out for his fifth year in a row said: “I came to the first one as a spectator and thoroughly enjoyed it and decided that I would like to help out the following year. I think it’s important to get involved in your local community and it’s been a great way to meet lots of people.”

Euan volunteered through his school Alves Primary School whose pupils were given the task of carrying placards to announce the bands as they march into the arena at the end of the day for the prizegiving.

The youngster who is going into Primary 2 after the holidays visited the event with his mum Onagh Brady.

She said: “This is an amazing experience for him. He is hoping to learn how to play the bagpipes so it’s great that he’s been able to get involved.”

Ethical crafter crowned “best trade stand” at Piping At Forres

Angus Dixon and Pearl Hamilton present the money to Shona Jennings during the Chieftain’s walkabout!

A CRAFTER who specialises in making bags and accessories from ethically sourced materials was crowned Best Small Business Trade Stand at Moray’s biggest one day event.

Thistle Fairy Designs scooped the title at Piping At Forres which took place on Saturday.

Shona Jennings who makes the products won the competition run by the Forres branch of the Federation of Small Businesses and was gifted £150.

Piping At Forres took place in the town for the last time on Saturday.

Shona who is based in Aberfeldy said: I am thrilled, this was such a surprise. This is my firsts time at Piping At Forres. I use limited edition short run Harris Tweeds and I also used cork leather. It’s a vegan alternative to actual leather. I use environmentally friendly sustainable products.”

Angus Dixon and Pearl Hamilton, members of the Federation of Small Businesses handed over the prize.

Angus said: “We chose Thistle fairy Designs as Shona has beautifully made products and designs. She is also very welcoming and informative about her products.”

Each year, Piping At Forres has hosted over 100 stalls in its craft and retail and the food and drink villages, giving businesses an opportunity to showcase fine Scottish products.

Party for volunteers rounds off Piping At Forres success

The Rising Stars sang a specially composed song t0 thank the volunteers

Hundreds of volunteers who have given their support to Moray’s biggest one day event over the last six years have been thanked at a special party held in their honour.

Over 400 volunteers who have helped at Piping At Forres over the years were invited to the event held in the Chieftain’s Marquee in Grant Park on Sunday.

The party featured performances from local youth singing group Rising Stars who performed a number of songs including a specially commissioned number called Flowers of Forres.

The celebration of the volunteers had a youth theme as Piping At Forres has been celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People.

Piping At Forres was held for the last time on Saturday and organisers of the extravaganza thought it fitting to round off its presence with the volunteer party.

Joanna Taylor, a director with Forres Events Limited said: “This seemed such a great way to finish off what has been a tremendous six years for the town of Forres. It was important to the organising committee, who are all volunteers themselves, to give something back to all those who have supported Piping At Forres. The event simply would not have worked in the wonderful way that it has for the past six years were it not for the dedication of the volunteers.”

The guests were served afternoon tea and the two-hour party came to an end when lone piper, 21-year old Scott Burgess Hay played some rousing tunes in Grant Park, in tribute to the volunteers.

Each year around 120 volunteers help to support Piping At Forres.

Sandra MacIver, Piping At Forres’ Volunteer co-ordinator said: “There are so many reasons volunteers are critical to the success of Piping At Forres. For a start they all choose to be there, there is nobody there because it’s their job or they have to be at the event. They are also proud of the town and want to be associated with that.”

Sandra has been involved with Piping At Forres from the beginning: “I was invited to take on the role of volunteer co-ordinator and after meeting Gordon Bruce, who was the event manager for the first three years, I was very comfortable that he and the five directors, would create a first class event which would put Forres to the forefront of many people’s minds.

“Each year, we have about 120 different people volunteering. Some have done all six years and some who have only helped us for one year, but each and every one has been necessary.”

Heather Hatch whose Rising Stars performed at the event said she was delighted to be involved: “It’s a pleasure and a privilege to be asked to be involved in this project. My students been so excited about performing at the event. They have worked hard learning the song and creating lovely harmonies and they did a wonderful performance that I am sure the volunteers found beautiful.”

Heather added: “The song was written by musicians Rona Valentine and Joe Harfield and three of my students, Megan Innes, Neve Smith, and Elysia Rennie and myself helped with the lyrics and creating harmonies.

“Flowers of Forres was written to celebrate community and friendship in Forres with a strong sense of what ‘home’ is.”

Inveraray scoop trophy for second year in a row

Inveraray & District Pipe Band have been crowned European Champions at Piping At Forres.

Inveraray celebrated their win for the second year in a row at the European Pipe Band Championships which was held in Forres in Moray for the final time on Saturday following a six-year run.

Competitors and spectators were delighted when it was announced the Championships would be staying in the Highlands when Alan James, Chieftain of the event, revealed it will moving to Inverness for the next three years.

Alan James, who performed the role of Chieftain but is also Chairman of Forres Events Limited which has organised Piping At Forres since 2013, said he was delighted the Championships were staying in the area.

“First of all I want to say how well today’s event has gone. The level of expertise and the professionalism shown by all the competitors has been tremendous. I have thoroughly enjoyed listening and watching the bands perform and, as chieftain, I was lucky enough to do a full tour of the park meaning I got to meet with stallholders, sponsors and visitors. We were delighted to have over a thousand young pipers as well as a record number of young Highland Dancers. Everyone seems to have enjoyed their time at Piping At Forres today.

“I would like to thank the organising committee and the hundreds of volunteers who have worked so hard over the last six years to make the Championships such great events enjoyed by thousands of people and bringing millions of pounds of economic benefit to the local area.”

He added: “It has also been an honour to be able to announce that the Championships will be moving just along the road to Inverness. This is great news for the Highlands that the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association have chosen to locate the European Pipe Band Championships in Inverness from 2019. This will continue to encourage the pipe bands from the Highlands and Islands as well as the North East to attend.

“We wish the new organisers all the best for the next three years and we look forward to attending and showing our support at the Championships in 2019.”

The event in Inverness will be organised by LCC Live Event Services and will be held at Bught Park on June 29 2019.

Les Kidger, Director of LCC Live, said: “We’re absolutely delighted to be bringing the European Pipe Band Championships to Inverness. Not only will the event bring significant economic benefit to the city, but it will showcase Inverness and the surrounding area to visitors from across Europe for one of the most illustrious events in the Scottish calendar.”

Piping At Forres which is sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky was attended by thousands of pipers, drummers and visitors from all over the world including a band from Australia.

Ian Embleton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, said he was thrilled with how the final Piping At Forres went: “We have enjoyed an incredible day at Piping At Forres. I am very sad that we will not be coming to Forres next year, however I am extremely grateful for the warm welcome the people of Forres have given us over the last six years. The Championships have been very popular with the bands and we have made many friends in this area. I hope that we may be invited back sometime in the future.”

Back by popular demand for the second year was the AES Solar Science Tent and “Have A Go Row” which provided visitors with numerous interactive activities including an organic vegetable orchestra and the chance to race solar boats.

Alasdair Henderson, pipe sergeant with the band said: “It was one of the strongest performances we have ever given. We are delighted.”

The event not only included world class piping and Highland dancing but it also featured the World Tattie Scone Championships which this year was won by Lara and her 4-year-old daughter Arianne who assisted.

Their tattie scone consisted of halloumi, aubergine, lemon, honey with a thyme dressing.

Lara from Inverness said: “We based the tattie scone on Arianne’s favourite meal which is mashed tatties with lemon and thyme and halloumi. We came and had a go last year, but didn’t compete, but she has been talking about it ever since so this year we thought we would give it a go. We are delighted although surprised we won.”

It also boasted bars, a food and drink village, a craft and retail village, and family attractions such as funfairs.

Pupils “cook up” support for Piping At Forres

The youngsters created a special Scottish-themed menu including tatties scones and shortbread.

LOCAL school pupils who run a monthly community café dedicated their most recent event to Piping At Forres.

Youngsters from Logie Primary School used a Scottish theme for their May café in order to help promote what is deemed to be Moray’s biggest one day event, which will take place in the town on June 30.

The community café is run by the primary four, five, six and seven pupils who created a special Scottish menu for the event including tattie scones and shortbread and they donned tartan and even booked a piper.

Helen Douglas, headteacher at the school said it was great fun and explained how the community café was created.

She said: “The community café is a social enterprise and all funds made at each event are reinvested back into the business and are used to pay for children in P6 and P7 to go on residentials if their families would struggle financially.

“We have one city residential and then one outdoor pursuits or skiing residential and the café ensures that no child is left behind.”


She added: “We grow an increasing amount of vegetables to use in the café, with some produce being bought and some donated via Fareshare at Tesco. It has been fantastic for developing community links, welcoming people into the school, and for the children to learn about running a catering business. This month the pupils decided they wanted to support Piping At Forres and they really thought about what they could do to make that little bit different, going as far as arranging a piper and inviting representatives from the event.”

Twelve-year-old, primary seven pupil Connor Taylor-Marriott said: “Lots of people go to Piping At Forres, it is a very good event for the town. Last year, we were asked to carry the placards to announce the bands as they entered the arena at the end of the day, so this was a way for us to support the event.”


Piping At Forres is celebrating Scotland Year of Young People.

Ainsley James has been appointed Piping At Forres’ Year of Young People Co-ordinator and she attended the school’s café.

She said: “This was a great event and the pupils went to such an effort to make sure that it celebrated Piping At Forres. Their Scottish spin on what is their usual monthly café was perfect. The piper, Lily Carmichael from the Forres & District Pipe Band who also attended, a young person herself was also great with the pupils and allowed them to have a go on her bagpipes. Young people enthusing young people about our culture. Just perfect.”

This year, Piping At Forres, will be held on Saturday, June 30 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, bars, a craft and retail village, attractions such as funfairs and back by popular demand is the AES Solar Interactive Science Tent.

More than 100 pipe bands from around the world compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray.



Young people urged to ‘locate the logos’ to win a prize

Lisa Wilson and Jenifer Walker from Forres High Street shop Villagegreenery are supporting Piping At Forres with its locate the logos contest.

YOUNG people are being encouraged to hit the High Street to “locate the logos” in a competition being run by organisers of Piping At Forres.

Twelve Forres businesses have signed up to the challenge in which people have to search for the Piping At Forres and Year of Young People logos to be in with a chance of winning a prize.

The competition will officially launch on June 1 and young people up to the age of 18 will have two weeks to find all the logos.

Helping to co-ordinate the competition is Jenifer Walker from High Street shop Villagegreenery.

She said it was a fun initiative which will help bring people onto the High Street: “Villagegreenery are delighted to be involved with this project, we all need to work together to promote our local High Street and at the same time support the young in the community. Anything that brings families into the town is an asset.”

Piping At Forres which is celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, has also coincided the competition to take place alongside Scottish Week which takes place from June 2 to 10.

Ainsley James who is Piping At Forres’ Year of Young People co-ordinator added: “This is going to be a lot of fun and we thought that by coinciding it with Scottish Week and the Toun Mercat, people were more likely to get involved. The start of June is also the real run up to Piping At Forres which takes place on June 30th so we hoped the activity might create a bit of buzz and excitement for the event which will be the last to take place in Forres.”

The prize is a family ticket (2 adults, 2 youths aged 12-17) to Piping At Forres worth £32 and a cinema voucher worth £50.

Forms outlining the competition and terms and conditions are below or can be collected from Villagegreenery, 44 High Street or downloaded here Spot the logo PAF YoYP competition entry form.

All completed forms to be returned to the dedicated box in Villagegreenery by June 14th.

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

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves and back by popular demand is the AES Solar Interactive Science Tent.

Become a World Tattie Scone Champ at Piping At Forres

BUDDING cooks are being urged to put their culinary skills to the test by taking part in the World Tattie Scone Contest which will be held at the final Piping At Forres in June.

Registration is now open for the contest where participants fight it out to win the accolade of World’s Tastiest Tattie Scone Maker at the event.

The competition was launched at the same time the European Pipe Band Championships, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, first came to Forres in 2013.

The aim

The aim of the competition is to make a tattie scone using a set recipe with mashed potatoes and flour, plus the contestant’s own magic ingredient which they will bring with them.

The most tasty and imaginative scone will be chosen as the winner.

Last year’s winner was Christine De Agostini whose ingredients of samphire and smoked fish tickled the judges taste buds.

The competition is run by Elaine Sutherland of Oakwood Cookery School in Elgin who explained what the judges are looking for.

“Over the years we have seen anything and everything from people using prawns to raspberries and this year hope to see even more imaginative ingredients being used.

“This is the last Piping At Forres and this is where the Tattie Scone Contest has always been held so it may be the last chance to become a World Champion.

Serious fun

“It’s such a lot of fun. There are those who take it very seriously and have practised and practised and there are those who just register and have a giggle with it, and ultimately that’s what it’s about.

“It’s great as each year we have people who are seasoned chefs or cooks and those who have barely set foot in the kitchen. That’s what makes the contest so brilliant – you never know who is going to scoop the accolade. Last year we had policemen taking part and the cast of the Wizard of Oz even turned up!

“It might just be that the winning tattie scone is just so innovative, there is no choice but to choose that one, or it may be that it’s a fairly basic recipe, but it’s cooked to perfection.”

She added: “A good tattie scone is a tasty treat, cooked to perfection and is firm and floury.”

Places in the contest are limited and all completed forms will be entered into a draw. Entries must be in by 5pm on June 21nd when the draw will take place and the lucky entrants will be informed the following day.

There is no fee to enter the Tattie Scone Championships which is supported by Carr’s Flour and Albert Bartlett potatoes other than paying for entry to Piping At Forres and participants can be aged 13 upwards.

The recipe and principal ingredients are provided but contestants are invited to bring their own ‘special ingredient’ – but they are warned there is to be no alcohol.

This year, Piping At Forres, will be held on Saturday, June 30 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, bars, a craft and retail village, attractions such as funfairs and back by popular demand is the AES Solar Interactive Science Tent.

More than 100 pipe bands from around the world compete in the European Pipe Band Championships, in front of a crowd of thousands, making it the biggest ticketed one-day event in Moray.

To enter please visit



Pipes call out to volunteers to help host event

Volunteers are key to the success of Piping At Forres

Organisers of Moray’s biggest one day event are drumming up support from volunteers as they stage Piping At Forres, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky for the final time.

Volunteers are key to the success of Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships and recruitment is now open for those who want to lend a hand for the event which will be held on June 30 2018 in Grant Park.

Charlie Gaskin has volunteered at the event since 2014 and will be returning to Grant Park this year too. He said: “I attended the first Piping as a spectator and it was so well organised I just wanted to get involved. It’s a really enjoyable day out and it’s been great for Forres and Moray.  I would really recommend it.”

Emma Marshall who will also be heading back to volunteer for her fifth year added: “It doesn’t feel like you are working. It’s really good fun. I initially signed up as I wanted to give something back to the town I have grown up in. I would urge people to get involved, you meet people from different walks of life and people from all over the world. I think the volunteers enjoy it as much as the visitors.”

Huge support

Piping At Forres is now in its sixth year and over that time hundreds of people have been involved in ensuring the event which attracts people from all over the world runs smoothly.

Sandra MacIver who coordinates the volunteers said she is always humbled by the level of support the one-day extravaganza receives: “Every year we put a call out for helpers and every year we are thrilled with the response.

“Our volunteers are the back bone of the event and there are so many different roles that need filling before, during and after the event. Our volunteers are really the hosts on the day and are often the first port of call for the visitors and competitors if and when they need help within the park. This may be as simple as directing people to the correct performance areas or ensuring people know where all the facilities are. Our volunteers are always on hand to help.”

During the event 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, welcoming the 100+ stallholders, moving lightweight crowd barriers and erecting and removing banners on the Friday and Sunday morning is also requested.

An enjoyable day out

Sandra added: “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. As we are going into our final year, the organising committee has actually received feedback from a volunteer thanking us as she had such a great experience. 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 email so that we can make a volunteer plan. All volunteers will be given a full briefing on Thursday 21 June 2017 at 7.30pm at the Town Hall.”

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

Visitors can even try their hand at the pipes and drums themselves. Back by popular demand is the AES Solar Interactive Science Tent.