Scotland’s Themed Years

Young people were involved in the ticket launch for PAF 2018

Piping At Forres was delighted to be part of Scotland’s themed years.

Scotland’s Themed Years have been running since 2009, proving very successful in giving Scottish tourism an edge and galvanising partners to work across boundaries to create a strong collaborative platform to promote Scotland and its people.

The programme of celebratory years has also supported Scotland’s events and festivals sector to develop new and exciting programmes designed to appeal to both visitors and locals and this was true for Piping At Forres particularly in 2017 when is supported the Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology and in its final year when is was part of the Year of Young People.


Piping At Forres was delighted to be part of the Year of History Heritage and Archaeology 2017.

Piping, drumming and dancing are of course a huge part of Scotland’s heritage but the organisers of Piping At Forres also wanted to bring other “themed” attractions to Grant Park.

These included reenactors from throughout the ages descending on the Park to help make battle masks whilst support was given by the town’s Falconer Museum who brought a historical mystery object challenge and natural history specimens.

The organisers also commissioned a History Walking App which can be downloaded here and provides people with a guided tour around the town with loads of fun facts and pictures along the way.

Cluny Hill also played an active role in the celebrations as it was the centre of an archaeological dig, led by Dr Leif Isaksen, who grew up in Forres. The hill which is believed to be an Iron Age hill-fort was and has since been the focus of a community excavation project.


Piping at Forres also embraced Scotland’s Year of Young People which was an opportunity for generations to come together and celebrate our nation’s young people.

One of the themes of the year was to provide a platform for young people aged between 8-26 to showcase their ideas and talents.

Piping At Forres itself has always ticked a Year of Young People box as each year over 1000 young pipers and drummers joined their bands in the arena to compete in the European Pipe Band Championships.

Throughout its six-year run, there was always a huge ethos to involve young people where possible and in previous years local primary schools have been invited to carry placards announcing the names of the bands as they march into the main arena to discover who has been crowned the European Pipe Band Champions.

But this year, the organisers of Piping at Forres went a step further and under the direction of Ainsley James who was appointed PAF’s Year of Young People Co-ordinator, they included hundreds more local youngsters in what became Moray’s biggest one day event.

“It was extremely important for us to embrace the Year of Young People and our aim was to get as many young people involved in the event as possible and through our passion and theirs we were delighted with the result.”

The ticket launch, possibly one of the key events in the run up to the big day itself was all about young people.

Another initiative involved all the third-year students and the Modern Language Department at Forres Academy who were tasked with producing tourism brochures in French and German promoting Forres as a place to visit and members of the Piping at Forres team acted as judges on who created the best leaflets.

It is estimated that aside from the pipers and drummers, Piping At Forres has included in one way or another over 200 young people in the event.

Other initiatives included:

  • A primary school opting to promote Piping at Forres at its monthly community café with invitations to a Scottish themed lunch and entertainment
  • One of Moray’s Year of Young People 2018 ambassadors was actively involved in an interactive science tent geared towards young people
  • A group of Moray Scouts offered to join the local community’s volunteering team on 30 June
  • A local singing group performed at an event in connection with PAF
  • And two young people supported our marketing team, giving their views on how we could attract even more young people to the event.