Youngsters cook up tattie treats for ticket launch

Charlie Park and Emilija Lake from Dallas Primary School were crowned winners at the Junior Tattie Scone Contest.

CHILDREN have celebrated that tickets are now on sale for Piping At Forres by taking part in a cooking contest.

Primary school children took part in a Junior Tattie Scone contest to mark that tickets are now on sale for Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, which will take place in the Moray town for the last time on June 30th.

The 12 primary school children battled it out in the contest which is also a feature at the June event where the World Tattie Scone Contest was founded.

Countdown to the big day

Alan James, a director of Forres Events Limited which organises Piping At Forres, Moray’s biggest one day event said it was a great way to officially launch the countdown to the day.

“Piping At Forres is clearly predominantly about piping and drumming. By marking that our tickets are now on sale in this way, we are showing that the event incorporates so much more. There are lots of things to see and do at Piping At Forres and it is a great day out for everyone.

“We are hugely grateful to all the schools who took part today and gave us a ticket launch to remember.”

As Piping At Forres is celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Alan added that this was a great way to mark the occasion.

Alan who is also taking on the role of Chieftain at Piping At Forres added: “Scotland’s Year of Young People is putting the talent of youngsters across the country in the spotlight and we wanted to ensure that young people play a role in Piping At Forres. We have many things planned but ensuring we included young people in our ticket launch was important to us as it marks the countdown to the big day itself.”

Schools that took part in the event were Alves, Applegrove, Dallas, Dyke, Kinloss, and Logie Primaries.

Secret ingredient

Pupils from six Forres area schools took part in the tattie scone contest.

The winners were Emilija Lake and Charlie Park from Dallas Primary School. Their secret ingredient was buffalo meat reared at a farm near the school.

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “EventScotland is delighted to once again be supporting Piping at Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships. It is a fantastic family-friendly weekend offering an array of entertainment in addition to world class piping and drumming. We are particularly delighted to have Piping at Forres as part of our partner programme for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 as they help shine a light on the wonderful talents of our young people from tattie scone baking to being key members of the pipe band community.”

Judges at the event were Rick Cooper, facilities officer for Moray Council, Vicky Farquhar from Oakwood Cookery School, Mary Grier a former World Tattie Scone Champion and Peter Wilson from Mackenzie & Cruickshank in Forres where the contest was held and is one outlet where tickets for the event can be purchased.

Final fling

Peter said: “We are thrilled to host this momentous event and to launch tickets going on sale for the final Piping At Forres. The event has done so much for the town over the years and we are glad we have been part of this occasion. The children clearly enjoyed the contest, and all of them seemed to be having fun, which is really what it’s all about. Congratulations to Dallas.”

Rick who played a crucial role in encouraging the schools to gets involved added: “Being able to be part of this tattie scone contest has really made the youngsters think about food. We encouraged them to use locally sourced products and that shows given the winners used buffalo meat from a nearby farm. It is also fantastic that they have been part of the launch of this year’s Piping At Forres, particularly it is in its final year in the town.”


Cas and Sam put Forres on European tourist map

Cas Anderson (second left) and Sam McPartlin (15) received prizes for their leaflet designs. Also pictured are Ainsley James (left) and Mhairi Stewart.

TOURISM brochures which promote Forres as a place to visit have been produced by foreign language students at the local secondary school.

S3 pupils from Forres Academy studying French and German had to produce the pamphlets as part of their work, but to add an extra element, the material was judged by organisers of Piping At Forres with the winners being announced at an assembly last week.

Scooping the prize for the best French document was Cas Anderson (14) whilst 15-year-old Sam McPartlin took home the crown for the German guide.

Year of Young People

Piping At Forres is joining the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and Ainsley James, former depute rector of Forres Academy, is coordinating all of Piping At Forres’ events associated with the Year of Young People 2018.

She said she was delighted to be involved: “Showcasing local secondary pupils’ work linked to an actual event in Forres made this more real in the eyes of the young people who were tasked with creating the leaflets.

“There was such a huge variety in what was produced although the winners were chosen because their leaflets gave excellent information for a tourist visiting Forres. They covered everything from where Forres is, places of interest and where people could eat. They included all the vital information you’d need when visiting somewhere for the first time.

“As well as clear, concise information, there were illustrations of attractions and it was all laid out in a way that was easy to follow. They certainly hit the brief. Piping At Forres is taking an active role is the Year of Young People 2018 and this is just one of many events we are involved in to ensure we celebrate such a tremendous year.”

Real-life experience for young people

Mhairi Stewart, principal teacher of modern languages at the school said she was proud of the effort the students put into their work: “The reason we came up with this idea was that we were keen to highlight to pupils the importance of using their language skills in real-life situations.

Year of Young PeoplePart of the Scottish Government’s current youth employment strategy, Developing the Young Workforce, enables young people to think about their employability skills and this task encompassed all of that. The hope was that working alongside Piping At Forres would provide an opportunity for our young people to develop their skills and build capacity in language.

“Having this international event which takes place right on our doorstep combined with the chance to show off Forres to any potential visitors to our area whilst using their foreign language skills was a very good exercise for them.”

She added: “We tasked the pupils to be creative and think about what would attract young people to Forres and the surrounding area.  We let the pupils decide whether to use technology to create a leaflet or hand draw them which gave some of the more artistic pupils the opportunity to shine.  We were very impressed with the results.”

The winners

yoyp europe leaflets

The French leaflet (left) was  designed by Cas and the German one designed by Sam.

The competition was run throughout the whole year group. Cas Anderson, winner of the French leaflet, acknowledged this: “I’m really happy that I have won, but I didn’t expect this as everyone took part. I tried really hard and enjoyed being creative.”

Sam McPartlin who created hid guide in German added: “I really just found it fun to research different places and attractions within Forres and it’s great to be chosen as the winner.”

Sam and Cas were each presented with a family pass to Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships which takes place in Grant Park for the final time on June 30.

They also received branded scarves and shortbread.

Karenza Rowe and Lily Armstrong were highly commended for their creations and there was a special mention for two pupils who created their leaflets in Mandarin.

Young pipers and drummers to star in youth film

Organisers of Piping At Forres are calling on pipers and drummers to become stars of a documentary focusing on youth bands.

Joining the celebrations for Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, Piping at Forres is creating a special short film about youth bands and piping and need people to feature in the documentary.

The short film will include interviews with pipers and drummers under the age of 25 explaining how and why they got involved in a band. It will also feature older members of bands who have been instrumental in encouraging youngsters to get involved.

The documentary will be used to promote the European Pipe Band Championships which will be held in Forres for the last time in June 2018 after a six-year run in the Moray town.

The future of piping

Joanna Taylor, a director of Forres Events Ltd, the company that organises Piping At Forres, said she was excited about the documentary: “We want to hear from bands, pipe majors or individuals who have something to say about young people, piping and its future.

“One of the aims of the Year of Young People is to share and celebrate young people’s talent and contribution to Scottish culture and arts. What better way to celebrate this than with a documentary focussing on piping and drumming, hugely significant elements of Scottish culture?”

She added: “We know that there is a huge youth element within the piping communities. At Piping At Forres in 2017, we had more than 1,000 competitors under the age of 18, which was a terrific figure, and hope to attract similar numbers again this year.  However, we also know from speaking to bands that some are concerned that they struggle to recruit those younger members who will ensure the future of the bands for years to come.

“This documentary will not only explore why young people have joined bands and hopefully enthuse others to do the same, but it will also look at some of the ways bands have responded to the need to recruit younger members.”

The Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) which organises the competition staged at Grant Park are delighted the documentary is being made.

Growth in youth sectors

Gordon Hamill, chairman of the RSPBA said: “We are more than happy to support this documentary. The Association is very proud of the fact that our biggest growth area in recent years is in Novice Juvenile and Juvenile bands.

“At the World Pipe Band Championships in 2017 a record number of 33 youth pipe bands competed. In addition, at the recent World Solo Drumming Championships a total of 130 Juvenile snare and tenor drummers competed. These young people are the future lifeline of pipe bands and the continuation of our promotion of our national music heritage.

“In addition to our five major championships we organise and promote a further 45 local contests which encourages Juvenile bands to participate in their local area. We also encourage our juvenile members to test their ability and knowledge through our education program that is approved by the SQA. We are delighted to be supporting Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.”

The European Pipe Band Championships ‘Piping at Forres’ is being supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

If you are in a pipe band and want to get involved with the documentary contact Claire at Chit Chat PR & Digital, the company who will be creating the film, on 01309 641354 or email by March 7.

Crafters and food producers urged to get involved in final Piping fling

Photos © 2017 GnBri Photography

CRAFTERS, food producers and charities are being urged to get a slice of action from Piping At Forres, Moray’s biggest one-day event.

Piping At Forres which attracts visitors from all over the world is drumming up support for this year’s spectacle by launching a search for stallholders.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships, which has been supported by title sponsor, Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, since it first began in 2013, will be held on Saturday, June 30 in Grant Park, Forres for the final time.

Organisers are now encouraging crafters and food and drink producers to get in touch to secure their stalls as it is expected that demand will be big for the final instalment.

Joanna Taylor, a director with Forres Events Limited, the company that organises Piping At Forres, said: “We have already had people getting in touch asking to take a stall. We hope that demand will be bigger than ever before as this is the final Piping At Forres. 2018 will be the sixth year the event has taken place in Forres and we have built up a reputation amongst our traders for our organisation as well as providing them with a great venue.”

Lots to see and do

Photos © 2017 GnBri Photography

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

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

There are places for over 100 stalls at the event, with spaces available within and outwith the marquees that form part of each village.

Joanna added: “This is a fantastic opportunity for local food, drink and craft producers to showcase their products to an audience that comes from all over the world.”

More than 100 pipe bands from across the globe 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.

How to apply

Information about being a stallholder and access to the online application form is available on the Piping At Forres website.

Piping At Forres organisers are also keen to hear from any businesses or individuals interested in sponsoring the event. There are a number of different levels of sponsorship available. 

Piping At Forres will, as in past years, give a stall free of charge to six selected charities. The selection will be made by the organisers from charities that have applied for a stall using the online process.

As 2018 is the Year of Young People, Piping At Forres is particularly keen to hear from charities that are run by or are involved with young people.

Volunteers are also being sought for the event, with meetings to be held in the weeks before the event. These will be announced online at on the event’s Facebook and Twitter pages @PipingAtForres

Forres man accepts Chieftain ‘honour’ for final Piping At Forres

Piping at Forres Chairman and 2018 Chieftain Alan James at Benromach. Picture: Marc Hindley, Chit Chat PR & Digital

A FORRES man who has been heavily involved in Piping At Forres has been chosen to act as Chieftain for the occasion.

Alan James, managing director of one of Forres’ biggest employers, was announced as the Chieftain of Piping At Forres 2018 at a meeting held to encourage more sponsors to get involved in the 2018 European Pipe Band Championships which will take place in the town on June 30.

The meeting, hosted by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky, attracted both business representatives from across Moray and Highland and people from the tourism industry.

Alan James is no stranger to Piping At Forres which is now the region’s biggest one day event and has in fact been involved with the spectacle in one way or another since it started in 2013.

Alan has acted as chairman of Forres Events Limited, the company which organises the piping and drumming spectacular, for the last two years and has performed the role of accompanying and hosting previous chieftains throughout the event.

An honour

Speaking of his appointment he said: “Being Chieftain is an honour and having accompanied last year’s Chieftain, Major General Seymour Monro, around the park, and Runrig star Donnie Munro the previous year, I have big shoes to fill.

“I am thrilled to have been asked. I thought long and hard about it as I am already involved in Piping At Forres, however, with Piping At Forres in its final year, there was no way that I could turn down the opportunity. We are very lucky in Forres as we have a significant number of public spirited volunteers including a very experienced leadership team and I appreciate the work that they do.”

Alan James began his work life as an apprentice with William Reid Engineers. He worked his way up through the ranks to become the projects director.

However, in 1998, the company went into receivership and Alan used the experience he had gained and set up AJ Engineering & Construction Services in 1999.


Guests were welcomed by pipers and a drummer from Forres & District Pipe Band

Guests to the sponsor meeting were welcomed by pipers from Forres & District Pipe Band, treated to tattie scones courtesy of Elaine Sutherland from Oakwood Cookery School, who each year organises the World Tattie Scone Contest which is held at Piping At Forres, and of course got to sample some Benromach whisky.

Eddie Tomkinson, a director with Forres Events Limited said: “We are delighted that Alan has agreed to be our Chieftain for what is to be the last in the current series of European Pipe Band Championship being held in Forres.

“In 2012 Alan, together with other local business personnel started Forres Events Limited with the aim of convincing the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association that Forres would be an ideal venue for the competition. Their efforts were rewarded because not only did we secure the initial three-year contract from 2013-15 but, because of the event’s wide success and popularity, it was awarded a further three-year contact for 2016-2018.

“Sadly two years ago two of our directors died, leaving a big gap in the leadership team and Alan agreed to take on the role of Chairman.

“It is therefore fitting that in this, our last Championship in this series, Alan not only leads the team in what will hopefully be a fantastic day for all the competitors, traders and public but also on that day he represents Forres as our Chieftain.”


Ian Chapman, Marketing Director for Benromach added: “We congratulate Alan on his appointment as Chieftain of this year’s Piping At Forres. This much anticipated event showcases the musical and cultural talents of the participants, while the attendance of locals and visitors is testament to the festival team and our local community spirit. We are immensely proud at Benromach to have been involved with Piping At Forres from the beginning, and look forward to another great year in 2018.”

Sponsors called upon to get involved in the final Piping At Forres

BUSINESSES are being encouraged to bang the drum for their firms by getting involved in Piping At Forres’ final fling.

Piping At Forres, the European Pipe Band Championships will take place in the Moray town for the last time on 30 June 2018 after a six year run, and organisers of the one day event want to make sure it is bigger and better than ever before.

In January, Forres Events Limited will host an event at the distillery of title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky.

The party will welcome back previous sponsors, but the organisers are hoping that it will also entice potential new investors to get involved with the last Piping At Forres.

Join us at sponsor event

Joanna Taylor, a director of Forres Events Limited which organises Piping At Forres, said the sponsors event held in the Forres-based distillery will showcase why investing in the one day celebration makes good business sense: “This is the last Piping At Forres and is the last opportunity that businesses will have to become part of its legacy. The event attracts people from all over the world.   Grant Park, such an important part of the recent triumph of Forres in Britain in Bloom, will be filled with thousands of pipers and drummers along with many thousands more spectators.  What better place to showcase your business?”

She added: “There are many ways to get involved with the event. Our sponsorship packages are designed to be attractive to a range of businesses and budgets. Packages can include opportunities to be involved in advertising of and at the event, retailing your products in one of the two “villages” set up within Grant Park and entertaining current or potential customers or staff in our Chieftain’s marquee. The investment does not need to be huge and individual, personal sponsors are also welcome.”

The event has been supported by title sponsor Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky since it began in 2013.

Marketing director Ian Chapman said it has been a great platform for the brand: “It was a very strong event from the start. Those who have attended it have been very impressed with the infrastructure and the layout in the park and its location within the town and I think that contributes to the success of the event.”

Positive experience

He added that for Benromach, supporting Piping At Forres has only been a positive experience and one Ian would recommend to other businesses: “We are very proud of our association with the event because it promotes the local community, but it is also an opportunity to raise brand awareness.”

He added: “The event is helping raise general awareness of the brand within that type of audience. For any company that wants to be involved with the high-quality event, that’s the real attraction that’s one of the reasons we got involved.”

If you are keen to find out more about becoming a sponsor at Piping At Forres or attending the event at Benromach in Forres on January 18 email Joanna at

Pipes call out to young people to get involved

Representatives from youth organisations, schools and any groups which involve or have a focus on young people are being encouraged to attend an event with the possibility of being involved in Piping At Forres.

Organisers of Piping At Forres are holding an opening evening on November 22 to gauge interest from these groups on how they would like to be involved in next year’s event.

Piping At Forres is celebrating Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018 and wants to find out how best to involve the community.

Ainsley James, former depute rector of Forres Academy has taken on the volunteer role of coordinating any young people’s events related to the European Pipe Band Championships which will be held in Forres for the last time on June 30 2018.

Year of Young People

Ainsley who retired after 18 years at Forres Academy in 2016 said: “I am delighted to be working with Piping At Forres particularly with a role related to the Year of Young People. We really want young people to be part of the one-day event and want to celebrate and showcase the achievements of the young people of our community.

“Excellent relationships already exist with youth groups who have participated in previous events however we are keen to offer more opportunities and support to the community’s youth in new and different ways. There are so many possibilities out there. The evening will be informal and will very much be a two way conversation. We already have some ideas about how we want young people to be involved, but we are also looking for inspiration. We need people to come to us with their ideas, so that we can sift through all the options.”

She added: “The age range for the Year of Young People is 8-26 so we know there are huge possibilities out there. Knowing what the local community in Moray is like, the hard part will be having to turn people away.”

A spotlight on youngsters

The Year of Young People 2018 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s young people, celebrating their achievements, valuing their contribution to communities and creating opportunities for them to shine locally, nationally and globally.

It follows on from the year of History, Heritage and Archaeology this year and the Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design in 2016.

If you are interested in finding out how your group could be involved in next year’s event join us at the Courtroom in the Tolbooth on Wednesday, 22 November at 7pm.

For more information you can email Ainsley at

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