Thousands braved the rain for pipe band event

Pipe bands came from all over the world, as more than 16,000 people braved the weather, for the 2018 Scottish Pipe Band Championships.

Pipers and drummers from more than 120 bands descended on Levengrove Park, Dumbarton, for the event on Saturday.

And despite heavy showers throughout the day, their spirits weren’t dampened.

There was celebrations for St Laurence O’Toole band, from Dublin, who took the Grade 1 winners title, led by pipe major Alen Tully.

West Dunbartonshire Provost and event Chieftain William Hendrie said: ‘I always enjoy the Scottish Pipe Band Championships and this year it has exceeded all expectations.

‘This event has it all – traditional music, a brilliant atmosphere and some beautiful Scottish scenery.

‘While the weather may not have been on our side, it didn’t stop the dedicated musicians putting on a thrilling show, and it didn’t stop the crowds turning out to see them.

‘Hearty congratulations must go to all the competition winners, and indeed everybody who took part, as well as the organisers.

‘It’s an honour for Dumbarton to host such an event and we are already looking forward to next year.’

Ian Embelton, chief executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, added: ‘What a great year at the Scottish Championships. As always the standards were extremely high, and the judges had a tough time choosing winners.

‘Bands come here from all over the world and no wonder – what better way to test themselves than against the best Scotland has to offer.

‘We look forward to bringing the event back even bigger and better next year.’

Bands from all corners of the world came to Dumbarton to compete.

They included Grade 2 band Balagan from Denmark, and Brisbane Boys College, who came from Australia to participate in the Novice Juvenile A final – placing fourth.

Ben Rodgers, 16, said: ‘This is the first time I’ve played at the Scottish championships and it’s been really good fun.
‘We only got here from Brisbane two days ago so this has been a great welcome to Scotland.’

Henry Hulbert, 16, added: ‘The competition is much bigger than anything we have at home and the scenery is better too. Our school was founded by a Scot so having a pipe band is a tradition and that’s how we got into it.’

Spectators came from far and wide to hear the impressive music, including Dries Papen, 28, and Nils Duchene, 23, both from Antwerp in Belgium.

Dries said: ‘We expected a lot and we haven’t been disappointed. We play in a pipe band ourselves but we weren’t competing. We just wanted to come and listen to the best bands in the world.’

The event has grown to be one of the biggest free pipe band competitions in the world and it brings significant economic benefit to the area each year.

As well as the unmistakable sound of the pipes and drums ringing out around the park, visitors also enjoyed highland dancing competitions and a fun fair.

And there was a range of free activities on offer at the West Dunbartonshire Leisure Sports Zone.

Other winners included:

Adult Drum Major: Liam Renton, Inverary and District; Juvenile Drum Major: Kara Gilmour, Scottish Fire & Rescue Service; Junior Drum Major: Kathy Hunter, Manor Cunningham; Grade 2 Final: Ravara; Grade 3A Final: Uddingston Strathclyde; Grade 3B Final: Scottish Borders; Grade Juvenile: Dollar Academy; Grade 4A Final: Lochryan; Grade 4B Final: Bessbrook Crimson Arrow; Novice Juvenile A: Dollar Academy; Grade Novice Juvenile B: North Lanarkshire Schools.