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Boghall equals best ever finish at World Pipe Band Championships!

Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th August saw the World Pipe Band Championships return to the familiar setting of Glasgow Green, but with an exciting new two day format. The extra day gave the opportunity to introduce an all encompassing Grade 1 qualifier with all bands required to compete with both a March, Strathspey and Reel and a Medley with the 24 bands split into two separate heats.

The Saturday qualifier saw the Grade 1 band compete in some of the worst conditions seen in recent years, with near horizontal rain blighting the band’s preparations for the early morning MSR. Despite the horrendous weather, the band produced an incredibly musical and precise MSR (picking their number 1 MSR, Abercairney Highlanders, Susan McLeod and John Morrison of Assynt House) and were delighted to produce such a great band sound despite the downpour. This was largely down to the management strategy of P/M Ross Walker, P/S Ross Harvey and L/D Gordon Brown, but also thanks to around 30 supporters who held umbrellas while the band were tuning up (particular thanks to our friends at George Watson’s College for their help!)

After a very strong run, it was pleasing to learn later in the day that the band had taken two firsts for piping and a first for drumming, thereby setting them up well for the rest of the weekend.

Thankfully the weather largely cleared over the course of the morning and by the time the Medley came round in the afternoon, the sun was beginning to shine through some of the clouds. It was fantastic to see this round of the qualifier taking place in the main Grade 1 arena (with the other heat having played there for the MSR) and the band produced another very strong performance, again picking their number 1 set, Sam O’Rye, The Lark in the Morning, The Queen of the Rushes, Sad the Parting, Strathconnon, Duncan Lamont and Sir Brian Vallely of Armagh. This event was streamed live by the BBC and it was great to receive so many messages of support from all around the world after this run.

With two great runs on Saturday, the band were delighted to qualify for the Sunday final and were particularly pleased to find out that they had won heat 2 of the qualifier.  With the Saturday march past taking place around the time of another monumental downpour, it was great to see the RSPBA had the foresight to excuse the Grade 1 bands from taking instruments onto the march past. With the Grade 2 results being announced on the Saturday, it was a fantastic feeling for one of our pipers, Fraser MacIntosh to see his cousin, Scott Oliphant, lead his band, Buchan Peterson to the Grade 2 World title, whilst another of our pipers, Aimee Craig was delighted to see her dad, Allan, lift the Grade 2 drumming title with his corps at Lomond and Clyde – well done guys!

The Sunday saw the band back at Glasgow Green and this time it felt more like a familiar championship, with our Novice band also in attendance. The Novice band also had to qualify, but with them playing at 12:21 and the Grade 1 band competing shortly afterwards, it was too tight for P/M Ali Scougall to compete with the Novice band without disrupting preparations for the Grade 1. As such, P/S Harry Richards led the band and did a fine job, leading the band to 1st place in the qualifier and onto the final.

With the Novice competing within minutes of the Grade 1 medley final, the usual Novice support team was largely decimated and we were very thankful for the help of our friends, Cameron Drummond and Gavin Law in helping to prepare the band for the final. After another good performance, the band finished in 4th overall. This in itself is an excellent achievement particularly given the loss of the P/M and it is a mark of just how far the band has come that the players were all disappointed to have not finished higher up the placings. Nonetheless, we were delighted with their efforts and were very pleased to see Boghall Grade 1 P/S win the Novice Grade with his band, George Watson’s College – well done to them.

The weather on the Sunday had widely been forecast to be sunny with little chance of rain and this had held true for most of the morning. The Grade 1 band were delighted with how their preparation for the Grade 1 MSR was going and had just got into final tuning when much to everyone’s frustrations the heavens opened once again. This posed a great challenge with such a crucial performance only minutes away, but with very careful management the band managed to sustain an excellent sound through final tuning and throughout their performance of the number 2 MSR, Brigadier General Ronald Cheape of Tiroran, Dora McLeod and The Smith of Chilliechassie. You can watch this performance below courtesy of the fantastic footage taken by the BBC on the day.

The band managed to dry out again after the MSR and were delighted that the weather stayed kinder in the lead up to the Medley. Another excellent performance of our well known “Campbell’s Tartan Army” medley gained fantastic praise, particularly on the live stream from BBC commentator Bob Worrall and was ultimately rewarded with some excellent placings, including a 1st in ensemble.

After a few quick and well deserved refreshments following four intense performances the band made their way back on for another march past - this time with instruments too. With the announcements taking less time than normal, we arrived at the Grade 1 result in what seemed like no time at all. We were delighted to hear that our drum corps won the MSR contest for the 3rd year in a row (narrowly missing out on the overall title by only 1 point) and were over the moon to hear that the Grade 1 band had finished as runners up to Field Marshal Montgomery – well done to them. Whilst we would all have loved to go one better, this was still a fantastic result and represents the band’s first time in the top 3 under Ross Walker’s leadership– well done to Ross, P/S Ross Harvey, L/D Gordon Brown and bass section leader, Stevie McQuillan.

Speaking to Ross about what the result meant to him, he had the following to say:

“I’m absolutely delighted with the band’s achievement in finishing in runner up spot in the 2013 World Pipe Band Championship.  This is the first time in almost 20 years since the band has featured in the top 3 at “the Worlds” and while our ultimate aim is to win, we’re still extremely happy with 2nd place overall. It is also heartening to see our Novice Juvenile band winning 4th prize in their respective grade, helping to continue the organisation’s success in the future.

Despite the challenging weather conditions we had to deal with, the two performances we delivered were, without doubt, the best we have given at this competition at any point in our history. With messages of congratulations arriving from the four corners of the pipe band world, it’s clear that we made quite an impression on everyone who heard us play.  It’s also with a sense of pride that we are able to represent West Lothian on a global stage showing what a dedicated group of people can achieve when they work together for a common goal.

I am heavily indebted to the bandsmen and women who invested an incredible amount of time, effort and commitment preparing for the event. It’s clear that the hard work paid off.  With more of the same over the next twelve months, we hope to be in a position to challenge for the top spot in 2014 and bring the World title back to Bathgate.”

With the end of the competition season now fast approaching, both bands will turn their focus to the remaining competitions of the season, firstly at Edinburgh this Saturday before heading to an historic final championship of the season at Cowal – hope to see you there!


Posted by Andrew Ray on 08/20 at 09:23 PM in


#1. Posted by David Robb B.E.M. on August 21, 2013

I was glued to my monitor the whole weekend, and just felt that “this was your time” everyone I spoke to online were of the opinion that the title could have gone to any of 5 bands, BUT all favoured Boghall to win. Why you didnt? who knows/
Suffice to say that I personally thought your Medley performance was awesome, so emotional, I actually had Goose bumps.
When you were announced as Runners up, I am not ashamed to say i filled up, I know just how much it meant to you guys.
I am thrilled to call many of you a friend, and totally delighted for Ross, and Gordon and indeed everyone connected with the Band.
Thank you for a wonderful weekend

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