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Authentic Highland Dress

History, Constitution and Objectives

The Argyllshire Gathering Piping Trust was constituted as a charitable trust (Scottish Charity # SCO 12513) by Deed of Trust registered on 16th May 1979 with an initial sum of £100 raised from the general funds of The Argyllshire Gathering. The name of the Charity was changed to The Argyll Piping Trust with effect from 1st January 2009. . The general object declared in the Trust Deed is ‘to advance the education of the public in the art of the Highland Bagpipe and of Scottish Dancing and Folk Music’.

Whilst the Trust Deed allows for the interpretation of the general object above in diverse ways, it provides for 8 specific purposes which can be summarised as follows;

For Highland Bagpipers, Scottish Folk Musicians and Dancers

  1. To award prizes at competitions and Highland Games in Great Britain
  2. To promote teaching or learning through prizes, bursaries, scholarships or exhibitions
  3. To provide premises, instruments, equipment, amenities or services connected with teaching or learning
  4. To assist charitable clubs, societies, associations or institutions with similar objects
  5. To promote and finance competitions
    and in addition -
  6. To found or provide a School of Highland Bagpiping in Oban or elsewhere
  7. To contribute to charitable Scottish Regimental Funds for the provision or upkeep of a Regimental Pipe Band
  8. To take other lawful action for promotion of The Argyllshire Gathering.



The Trustees throughout the year, and at the date of the approval of the Annual Report, were:
Hugh Nickerson (Chairman)
Torquhil, Duke of Argyll
Angus Nicol
Bruno Schroder
Ian Tegner CA

The Secretary is Rosemary Young
The Treasurer is Jean Ainsley CA.


Responsibility for determining and managing the activities lies with the Stewards of The Argyllshire Gathering and the Trustees who are together responsible for ensuring financial integrity and compliance with the terms of the Trust Deed. The Trustees are appointed by resolution of the Stewards for the time being of the Argyllshire Gathering.


1. Piping Competitions

The Piping Trust, in conjunction with The Argyllshire Gathering, organises each year, as a principal part of the Oban Games, one of the two pre-eminent international Highland Bagpipe competitions for solo pipers. In 2010, there were 167 competitors, from 9 countries, Scotland, Ireland, Northern Ireland, England, Canada, U.S.A, New Zealand, Switzerland, and Brittany..

The Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal for Piobaireachd was won by Faye Henderson from Kirriemuir, at 18 the first woman in 137 years to win the Gold at either Oban or Inverness. Faye played The Lament for Donald Duaghal Mackay.

The Senior Piobaireachd competition, open only to previous winners of the Gold Medal, was won by Dr Angus MacDonald from Skye with The Old Woman’s Lullaby and The Aged Warrior’s Sorrow.

The Silver Medal was won by Craig Sked, with Lady MacDonald’s Lament.

The Macgregor Memorial Piobaireachd competition (which takes place at the Gathering, but is run for the Highland Society of London) is for players under 22. Each competitor has to play two tunes. The MacGregor was won by Gavin Ferguson, with The MacFarlanes’ Gathering and The Groat.

The March, Strathspey and Reel competition for former winners was won by Stuart Liddell from Inveraray, one of the tutors of our Primary Schools Tuition Scheme.

Prize-winners in the March, Strathspey and Reel competitions at the Oban Games were Jack Lee, Cameron Drummond, William Nichols and James Patrick Troy. Sarah Muir won both the March and the Strathspey and Reel in the Local competitions, and The President’s Medal for competitors from Argyll under 16 was again won by Angus MacColl (junior).

2. Dancing Competitions

The Trust also sponsors each year the Highland Dancing competitions at the Oban Games, comprising 22 competitions for competitors under 12 years, under 16 years, and over 16. Competitors once again came from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand as well as Scotland, but the number actually competing (as distinct from entering) was disappointing.

The Challenge Medal for the best overall dancer was won by Megan MacDonald from Canada.

The William MacLennan Cup for the best dancer from Argyll, presented in memory of a distinguished family of dancers and pipers, was awarded to Alannah Higgins of Oban.

The Trustees are most grateful to Sheryl Peter for her organisation of these competitions.

There were no members of the Armed Forces competing, and the Challenge Cup was therefore not awarded.

3. Piping Tuition in Argyll Primary Schools

In 1996 the Trust entered into an agreement with Argyll and Bute Council to support the teaching of The Highland Bagpipe in Argyll primary schools. Since then this tuition scheme has expanded greatly, and during 2010 the Trust has supported provision in 17 primary schools at a cost of £23,908. Some 167 pupils received tuition during the year. Our three tutors, Angus MacColl, Stuart Liddell and James Carmichael, are all pipers of world class. In addition they teach 45 pupils on the pipes at High School level. Funding constraints have prevented expansion during the year but the Trustees continue discussions with the Education Authority. The fruits of this scheme are now clearly demonstrated both in the development of pipe bands in the County and in the increase in numbers of local pipers competing with success at the Oban Games and elsewhere. Both Oban and Inveraray pipe bands competed during the past year with outstanding success. Oban was victorious in the Novice Juvenile Grade at the World Pipe Band Championships at their first attempt, while the Inveraray and District Band became champions at Grade 2. We are deeply grateful to the sponsors listed below who make this tuition possible.

4. Awards for All scheme for loan of sets of pipes

The tuition scheme is focussed on introducing primary school children to the joys of the bagpipe. The majority of our pupils are therefore still learning on the chanter. One of the challenges which we have faced has been the difficulty of providing at reasonable cost full sets of pipes for those ready to progress to the real thing. We were therefore delighted early in 2010 to receive a grant of 10,000 from Awards for All Scotland which enabled us to commission 12 sets of pipes and ancillary equipment which we can now loan to young local players. This project was implemented in the year and a ceremony to mark the presentation of the first sets is to be held in February 2011

5. Bursaries for Young Argyll Pipers

Through the Fund set up in memory of the late Ian, Duke of Argyll, the Trust provides discretionary bursaries for promising young Argyll pipers. This fund is invested to provide a stream of income from which annual grants may be made as a contribution towards tuition, equipment and travel. The Bursary in 2010 was again awarded to Angus J. MacColl.

Funding in 2010

The activities of the Trust are funded from charitable donations from the Gathering and its membership, from entrance fees for competitions, and from sponsorship, for both the Tuition Scheme and for the Competitions. The Trustees are deeply grateful to the following who have provided generous support during the past year. They also wish especially to thank John Lowrie Morrison whose generosity in the previous two years enabled us to extend the tuition scheme to the Knapdale region. They also acknowledge with great gratitude an anonymous donation totalling, together with gift aid, over £7,000.:

For the Piping Tuition Scheme For General Funds
The P.F. Charitable Trust (Fleming) Wm Grant & Son Ltd
The Schroder Foundation The Mactaggart 3rd Fund
The Robertson Trust The Highland Society of London
M & K MacLeod Ltd The Piobairachd Society
Awards for All Scotland
(for sets of pipes)
Angus Nicol Esq
  The Royal Celtic Society
  Francesca von Hapsburg

Finance, Reserves Policy and Risk Management

The accounts show that the Trust continues to be in a sound financial state with total funds of £50,965 (2009 £51,921), of which £5,494 are for the restricted purposes of the Piping Tuition Scheme, and £11,495 represents the Duke’s Fund which is held as an endowment. The deficit for the financial year to 31st October 2010 was £956 (2009 £1,197). The main reason for the deficit arises from a shortfall in funding income.

The Trustees aim to hold in reserve sufficient funds to continue the competitions for at least two years in the event of a serious deterioration in income. The Tuition scheme is funded on a direct sponsorship basis. The Trustees are seeking to address the current shortfall in sponsorship for this scheme.

The Trustees have considered the risks inherent in its operation, the main one of which is the possibility that insufficient sponsors are prepared to support its activities in the longer term future.

On behalf of the Trustees

Hugh Nickerson
Chairman of the Trustees

12th February 2011