New Jersey piper takes the hon­ours at Mal­laig and Mo­rar Games

The Oban Times - - News - MARK ENTWISTLE men­twistle@oban­times.co.uk

PIPERS from as far afield as the United States and Ger­many en­sured fierce com­pe­ti­tion for the tro­phies at a rain-sod­den Lo­vat Memo­rial Field for the Mal­laig and Mo­rar High­land Games on Sun­day.

As well as the keenly con­tested pip­ing events, the games also hosted the tra­di­tional range of heavy events and races.

The over­all pip­ing ti­tle went to New Jersey pro­fes­sional pip­ing in­struc­tor Derek Midgely, who spoke of his de­light at tak­ing the top slot.

He said: ‘Of course I’m de­lighted to have won the over­all ti­tle, although dis­ap­pointed I wasn’t able to re­peat my suc­cess of last year with the pi­obaireachd.’ Derek also won the Dun­ve­gan Medal at the Skye Gath­er­ing in 2016, among a host of other prizes and plac­ings.

Derek, who has been pip­ing for 20 years and com­ing to Scot­land for a decade, added: ‘This is my third games in a row this year and it’s al­ways great to be back.’

A for­mer stu­dent of Glas­gow Uni­ver­sity, he is a reg­u­lar fix­ture on the Scot­tish sum­mer pip­ing con­test cir­cuit.

At Mo­rar, Derek took top spot in the march sec­tion, to which he added two sec­ond places for pi­obaireachd and Strath­spey and Reel, plus a third in horn­pipe and jig.

An­other well-known pip­ing com­peti­tor from over­seas was Anna Kum­mer­low, of Ger­many, who is back in Scot­land for four weeks com­pet­ing on the High­land games cir­cuit.

A pro­fes­sional piper who has been play­ing for the last 15 years, Anna grew up with the sound of the pipes as both her par­ents play.

‘This is my third games this week, so pretty busy,’ she told us dur­ing a break in com­pe­ti­tion. ‘The weather’s not great but that doesn’t re­ally bother me. I’m just de­lighted to be here and tak­ing part and hop­ing to do well.’

She did do well, tak­ing fourth spot in the pi­obaireachd and sec­ond place in the march sec­tion be­hind Derek.

Games sec­re­tary Anne-Marie Buchanan said the weather fore­cast was prob­a­bly to blame for the slight drop in spec­ta­tors, but a rea­son­able sized crowd had still braved the el­e­ments.

‘There’s a lot of vis­i­tors and tourists among the crowd and that’s nice to see and when folk are on hol­i­day they want to get out and see things, even if the weather isn’t too great,’ she said.

‘The level of com­pe­ti­tion in all the events is pretty high, which is good.’

Chief­tain for the first time was David Shaw Ste­wart of Traigh House at nearby Ari­saig who, as well as of­fi­cially declar­ing the games open, pre­sented the tro­phies and prizes.

Open­ing the games, Mr Shaw Ste­wart told of the im­por­tance of the event to keep­ing alive tra­di­tion and cul­ture.

‘ What we have here is the great cel­e­bra­tion of High­land cul­ture that our games rep­re­sent,’ he told those present.

‘The dis­as­trous end to Bon­nie Prince Char­lie’s Ja­co­bite re­bel­lion re­sulted in a de­ter­mined ef­fort by the Hanove­rian gov­ern­ment to abol­ish High­land dress and cus­toms.

‘But the High­land spirit re­mained in­ex­tin­guish­able and that is what we cel­e­brate with our games – with all the unique heavy events, but also the won­der­ful danc­ing and ex­tra­or­di­nary foot­work that so en­chants us all.

‘And you will have heard the stir­ring pipes ac­com­pa­ny­ing us down to the games field and I would also draw your par­tic­u­lar at­ten­tion to the pip­ing com­pe­ti­tions.

‘These are great clas­si­cal pieces of High­land mu­sic and you will hear the pi­broch played in all its glory. There are some of the very best pipers around play­ing here.’

Right: Abi­gail Cloughton from Swin­don takes part in one of the ju­nior heavy events. f32 Mo­rar Games 3JP

Pho­to­graph: Pipes|Drums Mag­a­zine. Over­all pip­ing win­ner Derek Midgely, right, with Ceol Mor win­ner Dr Peter McCal­lis­ter.

Games 8JP f32 Mo­rar Above: Spec­ta­tors cheer on some young run­ners.

Com­peti­tors go flat out in the men’s 400m race. f32 Mo­rar Games 7JP

Thor Gyl­fa­son from Ice­land was a win­ner at this year’s heavy com­pe­ti­tion. f32 Mo­rar Games 10JP

Games Chief­tain David Shaw Ste­wart with an­nouncer Ian MacLel­lan right. f32 Mo­rar Games 4JP

There was keen com­pe­ti­tion in the High­land danc­ing. f32Mo­rarGames 6JP

The first girls race gets un­der way. f32 Mo­rar Games 9JP

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