The People of Boghall and Bathgate
Ross grew up in Edinburgh and began his piping career with Craigmount High School before joining the Boghall Novice Juvenile Band in 1994. Ross moved quickly through the Juvenile grades, winning the European Juvenile Championships twice under the direction of P/M Alvis Kerr in 1998 and 1998 before being promoted to the Grade 1 band at the age of 14. Since then Ross has gone on to become a key member of the organisation, becoming Pipe Sergeant of the Grade 1 band in 2010. Outwith Boghall, Ross has a BA in Music Performance and works as a full time piping tutor at George Watson’s College where he is Pipe Major of the highly successful Novice Juvenile band. Ross has also played with a number of other bands including the folk group, Celtica, the Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band (with whom he won the 2008 New Zealand Pipe Band Championships) and is an accomplished kit drummer with the band ‘We See Lights’ who have played a number of major festivals and have been featured on BBC Radio 1. Despite this varied experience, Ross says his favourite band performance was his first outing as P/S with Boghall, collecting 2nd at the 2010 Scottish Championships. Despite not dedicating much time to solo playing, Ross has won a number of solo prizes, however he says his biggest individual achievement was winning a bike in a colouring in contest at the age of six! Ross took over as P/M at the end of the 2015 season and is looking forward to continuing to produce the quality of music expected from Boghall.
Alexander was born and raised in Edinburgh and has spent all of his competitive pipe band career with Boghall. He initially received tuition from Andrew Warren before joining the Boghall Novice Juvenile Band under the direction of P/M Colin Urquhart in 2005. Ali quickly progressed through the ranks to the Juvenile band, initially under P/M Donald MacLeod (who also helped to further his solo playing), before spending a number of seasons as P/S to Ian Bowden. Ali enjoyed a significant success in the Juvenile Grade, winning the British and European Championships in 2009 before graduating to the Grade 1 band for the 2010 season. Ali has thoroughly enjoyed his Grade 1 experience to date, citing the 2010 Cowal Championships win as his favourite band memory so far. He says one of his favourite tunes is The Dechmont Flyer, though we all think he might just be sucking up to the pipey with that one! Outside band Ali enjoys playing football and is currently studying a BA (Hons) in Accounting at Napier University. He also enjoys listening to ceilidh bands and was previously a piper with KODA with whom he performed at T in the Park on 4 occasions
Adam was born in Edinburgh and began his piping career at George Watson's College with tuition from Boghall and Bathgate P/S, Ross Harvey. Despite starting lessons a few years later than a lot of his peers, Adam made quick progress, competing with the Watson's Novice Juvenile Band in 2009 and 2010 (winning the Scottish, Cowal and World Championships) before making the transition to the Juvenile band under the leadership of P/M Iain Simpson at the end of 2010. During his time in the Juvenile band, Adam won nine major championships including back to back World Championships and Grand Slams in 2011 and 2012. On leaving school in 2012, Adam moved to Glasgow where he is now studying a degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde. He joined Boghall in the winter of 2012 and is looking forward to his first season with the band this year. He says his favourite contest is the World's because of the scale of the contest and the atmosphere in the week leading up to it. Outwith band Adam says he is enjoying university life and enjoys playing football, golf and watching Formula 1.
Andrew was born and brought up in Edinburgh and started learning the pipes at the age of eight under the direction of the late P/M Willie McBride at George Watson’s College. He was subsequently taught by P/M Iain Simpson and was P/S of the highly successful George Watson’s College Juvenile Band between 2003 and 2005. During that time he won every Juvenile major championship including the World Championships in 2002 and four consecutive Champion of Champions awards. He joined Boghall in late 2005 and was Assistant P/M of the Juvenile band between 2010 and 2012. He has also competed overseas with the Canterbury Caledonian Society Pipe Band and enjoyed a 3rd place in Grade 1 at the 2010 New Zealand National Pipe Band Championships. Andrew says the 2010 Cowal Championships win is his best memory with Boghall to date and says that this was particularly sweet given that the Juvenile band also lifted the title on the same day. He also thoroughly enjoyed the trip to Switzerland in 2008 despite the experience of being woken up by Paul Brown sleepwalking! Outside band Andrew is a qualified doctor, having graduated from Edinburgh University in 2010. He has just completed his first two years of work in Edinburgh and is now specialising in anaesthetics in Bristol. He also enjoys watching rugby and Formula 1 and is a keen skier.
Ben grew up in Antrim, Northern Ireland and now lives in Edinburgh where he is a serving police officer. He was initially taught by his grandfather, John H Gibbs, and later received tuition from Tom Speirs. His pipe band career began with the Ballydonaghy and Bootle Village pipe bands before he joined the army and played with the 1st Battalion The Higlanders (Seaforths, Gordons and Camerons). In 2005 he joined the Clan Gregor Society, playing 4 seasons with them before joining Manawatu Scottish Society and Dysart and Dundonald for the 2009 and 2010 seasons respectively. Following a few years out of pipe bands, Ben joined Boghall in late 2016. Interestingly, Ben has already been on stage with the band as he played guitar at the 2010 ‘Fired Up’ concert in Aberdeen and he cannot wait to return this year as a piper in the band! Ben has enjoyed some solo success with highlights including winning the Piobaireachd and March contests at the Army Solo Piping Competition in 2007. Away from competition, Ben pipes in a group called Highly Flung and attends various festivals with them across the UK. Outwith piping Ben enjoys spending time with his wife, two young sons and his two dogs. Ben claims he doesn’t have much time for hobbies but he still manages to fit in going to the gym, swimming, cycling, running, hill walking and golf. He is also an ambassador for the Scottish Sports, Fitness and Nutrition Expo.
Calum was born in Edinburgh and brought up in Lasswade. He began his piping at George Watson's College with lessons from P/M Iain Simpson, but during his time at the school has also received tuition from Boghall P/M Ross Harvey and Jonny Simpson and is currently a pupil of Tom Speirs. In his time at George Watson's he enjoyed a great deal of success, playing one season in the Novice Juvenile band in 2007, before joining the Juvenile band in 2008 where he went on to win 3 World Championships and 2 back to back Grand Slams. He also led the Novice Juvenile band to their World's triumph in 2013. Upon leaving school, Calum joined Boghall in September 2013 and took over as Pipe Major of the Novice Juvenile band following the 2014 season. Outwith competitive pipe bands Calum enjoys playing with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and has been part of a number of their impressive concerts and trips. In 2014 he was delighted to be appointed as Pipe Major of the band. Calum also dedicates a lot of time to competing in the solos and has won many prizes including the overall the overall B grade prize at the Cowal Gathering (in both 2015 and 2016) and the CPA overall winner for Piobaireachd in 2016. In September 2016 he was the featured artist for unreel.fm which showcased some of his own compositions and arrangements. Outwith piping, Calum enjoys spending time with his friends and is studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde.
Craig was born in Edinburgh and grew up in Bonnyrigg. He began learning the pipes with tuition from his grandfather and subsequently joined the Penicuik and Musselburgh Boys Brigade Band where he played from 2001 until 2007. Craig joined Boghall in early 2008 and spent 3 successful years with the Juvenile Band, winning the British and European Championships in 2009 and winning the Cowal Championships in 2010 as Pipe Sergeant. Craig says that his favourite band performance was competing with the Juvenile Band at the World’s in 2008 as it was the first time he had played in a World Championship and this gave him a real hunger for the competitive pipe band scene. Outwith band Craig works as an apprentice engineer with MacTaggart Scott in Midlothian and is also studying an HNC in Engineering Systems at Jewel and Esk College. Craig enjoys playing football and is a keen Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur fan. He also enjoys watching the Edinburgh and Glasgow rugby sides and is a big Top Gear fan.
Craig was born and raised in West Lothian and joined the Novice Juvenile Band in 2000. He progressed through the Juvenile Bands over the following eight years, joining the Grade 1 band in the winter of 2007 at the age of 17. During his time in the Juvenile bands Craig was unfortunate not to win any major prizes, but was a key member of the Juvenile Band, acting as P/S for his final season in 2007. Craig also competed well at under 18 level in the solos, particularly in piobaireachd where tuition from Tom Spiers greatly helped his progression. Outwith band Craig is studying a degree at the University of Edinburgh and will graduate in 2013. Craig also has a keen interest in mountain biking and photography and leads the production of the video blogs we have added to our site. His favourite memory with the band was the 2010 performance at the Scottish Championships and after being unfortunate not to win a major during his time in the Juvenile Grades he was delighted to be part of the Championship winning performance with the Grade 1 band at Cowal in 2010.
David was born and brought up in Edinburgh and began his piping career with tuition from John Rae of the Lothian and Borders Police Pipe Band. He spent his formative competing years with Craigmount High School under the leadership of P/Ms Kris Klezy and the late Les Watson before moving to St Andrews for University where he joined the City of St Andrew’s Pipe Band. David then had a brief spell with the Clan Gregor Society Pipe Band in 2008 before joining Boghall for the 2009 season. David has thoroughly enjoyed his time with Boghall so far but says that one of his favourite memories was watching young Ali Scougall on the way home from Cowal 2011 declaring his intentions to take over as P/M of the band before retiring to his seat with a plastic bag secured around his ears! He has also thoroughly enjoyed helping Ali part-realise his ambition by supporting him as Assistant Pipe Major of the Novice Juvenile Band, who were crowned Novice Juvenile Champion of Champions in 2013 and were then promoted to the Juvenile Grade in 2014. At St Andrews David studied a degree in Psychology, graduating in 2011 with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) and is now living back in Edinburgh where he works as a recruitment consultant for RZ group. Away from band he enjoys spending time with friends and family and enjoys travelling and skiing during the pipe band off season.
Emma was born and brought up around Falkirk and began her piping career with Bo’Ness RBLS in 2000 She initially received tuition from Jimmy Grant and is now taught by Roddy McLeod MBE. She made a significant impact on the Under 18 solo piping circuit winning an incredible number of contests including the Champion of Champions award for former Scottish Junior Champions. On leaving Bo’Ness in 2003 she joined David Urquhart Travel Pipes and Drums, first competing in Grade 1 at the age of 14. She had 2 Years with DUT before joining Boghall in late 2005. She enjoyed four great seasons with the band before taking a year out in 2010 when she joined Torphichen and Bathgate in Grade 1 as Pipe Sergeant. Emma was back soon after, rejoining Boghall for the 2011 season and she is now one of the band’s valued corner players. Outwith competitive pipe bands, Emma has also spent a very successful spell with the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland, culminating in three years as Pipe Major. During this time Emma enjoyed a number of trips abroad and also led the band in their very successful concerts, ‘The Dragon’s Lair’ and ‘Illumination’. Outwith band she has found time to infrequently compete in the adult solos, but despite this she has picked up some significant prizes including two 2nd places at the Duncan Johnstone Memorial contest. She has studied a BA in Scottish Music at the RSAMD, graduating in 2011 and now works in Glasgow in Technical Support with Apple.
Gavin grew up in Broxburn, West Lothian and started piping with one of his local bands, Seafield and District where he received tuition from Linda Bennett. Following an initial spell with Seafield, Gavin joined Polkemmet under Stevie Young and also had stints with Torphichen and Bathgate, Lomond and Clyde and MacKenzie Caledonia before joining Boghall in late 2011. Gavin has won a number of prizes whilst competing with these other bands, including a very successful 2008 season with MacKenzie Caledonia in Grade 3A when the band won 4 majors including the World Championships and the Champion of Champions award. Since joining Boghall he has thoroughly enjoyed his piping and says that a particular highlight was winning the European Championships in Belfast. Outwith band Gavin has a keen interest in other types of music. He studied a BA in applied music at the University of Strathclyde and is an accomplished guitarist. He is currently working as a care worker with Autism Initiatives, but when he is not working or piping he enjoys indoor rock climbing, kung fu and supporting Celtic.
Grant is a Bathgate bairn born and bred and is one of the founding members of the band having attended the very first practice held by the organisation at the age of seven! He has competed with the band in multiple grades, from the band’s early days in Grade 4 to the highs and lows of thirty years in Grade1. He initially received tuition from P/M Bob Martin and also had tuition from his elder brother, Craig and solo tuition from P/M John Matheson. He says he has many treasured memories from the last forty years, but that one of his favourites was the 1983 British Championships at Bathgate when the band won their first Grade 1 Championship. Achieving this on home soil and with a very young band was a brilliant feeling. Outwith band Grant had a promising solo career in the under 18 sections, but he clarifies that this was around about the same time as Allen Wells was the Olympic 100 metres champ & the UK had a half-decent chance of winning the Eurovision Song Contest! Grant now lives in Bathgate with his wife and two sons and works in a management capacity in Housing Development for West Lothian Council. He also enjoys spending time with his family, keeping fit, going to the movies, cooking and reading (which is evident by the fact that he is not only renowned as a pipe band almanac, but also has a great breadth of general knowledge!)
Iain is one of the stalwarts of the pipe corps having joined the band in 1986 under the leadership of P/M Craig Walker. He was born and brought up in Bo’ness and claims to have studied at the University of Life, apparently graduating with flying colours! Iain was appointed as the principle piping teacher at George Watson’s College in 2000 and has overseen a dramatic rise of the school’s pipe band taking the playing numbers from around 30 pupils receiving piping tuition to over 100. The school now has three bands and have won 9 Juvenile Champion of Champion awards and 5 World Championships under Iain’s direction. Iain initially received tuition from his father William and spent his formative pipe band years competing with Kinneil Colliery and BP Grangemouth Pipe Bands before spending 10 years with his local Bo’ness RBLS before joining Boghall in 1986. In his time with Boghall Iain has won multiple Grade 1 major championships and has also led the Boghall and Bathgate Juveniles to European, Cowal, World and Champion of Champion awards as Pipe Major between 1992 and 1998. Iain says that one of his favourite memories with Boghall was during the 2003 trip to Malaysia when Ross Walker asked “Does anyone want to come and see the Petronas Towers with me” to which Iain replied “Pull your sun bed over here, I can see it from here!” Outwith Boghall Iain is a member of the RSPBA Adjudicator Panel and the RSPBA Music Board. He says he enjoys travelling, watching sport and is currently on a mission to recruit someone older than himself to play with Boghall!
Jonathon was born into the Boghall family in 1989 and although he technically joined the band in 2007 he says that he has had an Ancient Hunting Fraser kilt since 1992! He was brought up in Bo’Ness but attended George Watson’s College for most of his schooling where his father, Iain, is the principal piping teacher. Although Jonny has received a lot of tuition from his father, he was initially taught by his grandfather, William Simpson and spent his first few seasons competing with his local band, Bo’Ness. He then spent seven seasons competing with George Watson’s and is very proud to have won two Juvenile World Championships (in 2002 and 2007) and six consecutive Juvenile Champion of Champion Awards. He also won a number of under 18 solo prizes and credits his tuition from Jim Semple and Gavin Walker as being a significant factor in improving his playing. Outwith band Jonny is studying an honours degree in Business Studies at the University of Edinburgh and works part time in The Old Post Office Pub in Linlithgow. He also runs www.edinburghpiper.com and occasionally guests with Celtica: Pipes Rock at gigs across Europe. Jonny says that his favourite memory with Boghall was marching down the street at Cowal in 2010, after winning the Argyll Shield – 9 years after doing it as an awestruck, young tag-a-long. Interestingly, Jonny was hit by a speeding car while crossing the road after the 2011 British Championships whilst carrying his pipes and a bottle of Baileys and dropped neither!
Matthew was born and brought up in Bathgate and began learning the pipes with tuition from Joe Bishop in 2004 at the age of 9. Soon afterwards, he joined Boghall, first playing with the Novice Juvenile Band in 2005 under the leadership of P/M Alvis Kerr. Matthew spent four enjoyable years with the Novice band learning a great deal about pipe bands, before moving up to the Juvenile band in the winter of 2009. Matthew enjoyed three successful seasons in the Juvenile band, with a particular highlight being the 2010 Championship win at Cowal. In the winter of 2012, Matthew moved up to the Grade 1 ranks, joining a long list of local players who have graduated through our teaching system. Matthew is truly a local player - he is currently in his final year at school at St Kentigern's Academy in Blackburn where the band practice throughout the year! Outwith band, Matthew has won a number of local solo prizes in the Under 18 grades and also enjoys playing snooker, golf and football where he is a keen Celtic fan.
Matthew was born and brought up in Bathgate and began his piping career with lessons from Joe Bishop and legendary Boghall P/M, Bob Martin. In 2007 he graduated from the learner's class to the Novice Juvenile band and enjoyed three seasons in the Novice band under the leadership of P/M Alvis Kerr before progressing to the Juvenile band under P/M Ian Bowden in 2010. In his first season in Juvenile, Matthew was delighted to win the Cowal Championships and says this has been a particular highlight of his time with the band to date. Matthew competed with the Juvenile band for three seasons, before joining the Grade 1 ranks in 2013. Matthew has also received additional tuition from Grant Walker which has been a great help to his development as a player. He has won a number of local solo competitions and has represented the Lothian and Borders branch in the Wille Fergusson contest on multiple occasions. Outwith band, Matthew is studying History at St Andrew's University and also enjoys playing the piano and playing football.
Paul was born and brought up in Methil and despite being a Fifer has been well accepted into the Boghall ranks! He began his piping with tuition from Robert Barnes at Methil and District Pipe Band and has since received instruction from Jimmy Banks and Brain Donaldson. Paul spent three years with Methil before joining the Boghall Juveniles in 2005 and quickly progressed to join the Grade 1 band in 2008 at the age of 13. He has also competed successfully on the Under 18 circuit, winning a number of branch and national contests. Outwith band Paul has now finished school and is working as a business administration apprentice. He enjoys playing pool and snooker, supports Arsenal and Celtic and has a terrible habit of sleep walking, particularly when abroad! He says that he had an audition for the Grade 1 band at the age of 12 and although he thought he was good enough at the time, he is sure Ross Walker kept him back for another year just to make sure Ross’s record of being the youngest piper to play for the Grade 1 band was not broken!
Scott hails from Erskine, Renfrewshire and studies Aero-Mechanical Engineering at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow. Scott began his pipe band career with Johnstone in 2010 before joing the Boghall Juvenile system for the 2012 season. During his time with Boghall he has had a lot of success including winning Champion of Champions with the Novice band in 2013. Beyond the competition circle Scott spent 2010-2015 as a member of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland and is also a keen tin whistle and drum kit player. Scott says that he joined the Boghall organisation to fulfil his aspiration of playing with the Grade 1 band and that he was delighted to make the jump following the 2015 season.