Kindrogan Forest, bag pipes and ukuleles…

Never in my lifetime has going on holiday depended on the decisions of two parliamentary ministers before, but reading between the lines from Boris and Nicola – it’s a yes! The holiday is on!

Photo by Naveen Annam on

A family holiday in bonnie Scotland and this time of year it is indeed oh so bonnie.

I hear songs every where, do we take the high road or the low road. Flower of Scotland, Highland cathedral to name but a few, unfortunately these tunes are relayed only in my head, as the social distancing makes the presence of a pipe band a highly unlikely scenario. It has been a while since we attended the Highland games and they are everything you would expect, and some things you wouldn’t.

Scotland is a beautiful country and I can see why Scottish friends of mine rave about the beloved “Bonnie Scotland”

Photo by Callam Barnes on

Tossing the caber, highland dancing and of course piper competitions. Prizes consist of mostly whisky, whisky and more whisky.

Photo by Clam Lo on

My brother living in Scotland says the pipes can sound fantastic especially if they are in the next Glen! I hear where he’s coming from, I once played saxophone with The Lincolnshire Concert Band in Lincoln Cathedral and we played together with The RAF Waddington pipe band. I was on first alto which puts you at the outer end of the saxes, next to me was a piper, right next to me! It was a wee bit loud.

One of the pieces we played together with the pipe band was “Highland cathedral”

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Arranging music for a concert band requires a lot of knowledge regarding the keys for each instrument, Flutes in C, Saxes in Bb, Trumpet in Bb, Saxes in Eb, bassoon in C – bass clef, horn in F, and Eb horn to name but a few and trombones require a paragraph to themselves. The good thing is that this is relatively straightforward once you get used to it.

Photo by Jack Carey on

Bagpipes are different again, they can be in different keys. The usual key is A however they tune to a different A than the common designated A which is 440Hz this makes arranging for them tricky. I think Finley the lead piper may have acquired the arrangement or done it himself. The result was a success and I particularly enjoyed the chance to play with the pipe band.

Photo by Matteo Badini on

We took our guitars and ukuleles and had a couple of singalongs, the weather was kinder than the 10.5 mile walk over the top of Kindrogan forest. I hope to return again another year when things get back to normal and we can again hear massed pipes skirling through the magnificent highlands..

Published by fretsnreeds

Professional Musician working in the community with people of all ages educating and inspiring us all to make music.

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