Bag­pipes are wel­comed home to Kin­tyre

The Oban Times - - News - BEN RAMAGE ed­i­tor@oban­

A PIP­ING leg­end car­ried out a Camp­bel­town man’s dy­ing wish by bring­ing his beloved set of pipes back to his home­town.

Bob Wor­rall, from Canada, de­cided to re­turn his pal Archie McGeachy’s pipes to Kin­tyre af­ter he died last Novem­ber, fol­low­ing a long bat­tle with can­cer.

Archie, born in Camp­bel­town in 1932, wanted the set to be passed on to another young piper, just as they were given to him when he was 14.

Ian McKer­ral, Kin­tyre Schools pip­ing in­struc­tor, was given the task to find a suit­able heir and chose another 14-yearold with a pas­sion for solo pip­ing, Cal­lum McKil­lop.

Ian said: ‘I got a phone call from Bob about six weeks ago. He told me the story and tasked me with find­ing some­one to have them.

‘I chose Cal­lum be­cause he is a com­mit­ted up and com­ing solo piper, who hap­pens to be the same age as Archie was when he re­ceived them.

‘I knew of Archie, par­tic­u­larly that he set up a band called Kin­tyre in Canada. He was well known in the Kin­tyre pip­ing scene.’

Bob, a renowned player and tu­tor, was in Scot­land pro­vid­ing commentary for the BBC’s live stream­ing cov­er­age of the World Pipe Band Cham­pi­onships. He came down to Kin­tyre to pass on the legacy last Tues­day af­ter­noon.

He said: ‘Archie’s wife, Maura, asked me to find a suit­able kid, and I as­sumed that’d be in On­tario. But the more I thought about it, I thought these pipes are from Camp­bel­town, so they should come home.

‘I was very good friends with Archie. He in­ces­santly talked about his home­land and had a huge emo­tional at­tach­ment to the area.’

Archie’s pipes, a vin­tage set of Hen­der­sons, were a gift from a wealthy man back in 1946 af­ter his fam­ily could not af­ford to buy him a set. He went on to re­ceive tu­tor­ing from ‘Dilly’ Wil­son, fa­ther of the cel­e­brated John Wil­son.

Af­ter com­pet­ing in Scot­land for many years, both solo and for the Clan MacRae So­ci­ety pipe band, he left for Canada in 1966 and joined the Gen­eral Mo­tors pipe band of Oshawa, On­tario. There he played with Bob and sev­eral other well­known play­ers.

In a let­ter writ­ten by his wife Maura to Cal­lum, she said: ‘His beloved pipes are now com­ing home to Camp­bel­town, and I sin­cerely hope that you will enjoy play­ing them as much as he did.’

Cal­lum, fresh from com­pet­ing at the worlds as the 3A Kin­tyre Schools pipe band notched third place, said: ‘I to­tally wasn’t ex­pect­ing it and it’s a huge hon­our to keep car­ry­ing on the tra­di­tion. Of all the folk it could have been, I’m really happy to get them.’


Bob Wor­rall hands over the pipes to Cal­lum McKil­lop, along­side Ian McKer­ral, and Archie McGeachy with his trea­sured pipes.

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