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Army pipers and drummers in spectacular challenge at Stirling Castle

16 March 2011

Officer training corps from across Scotland meet to compete.

Up to 60 pipers and drummers will gather at Stirling castle for a spectacular military musical competition.

All are members of the British Army’s Officer Training Corps (OTC) and are taking degrees at universities in the Stirling/Fife area, or in Glasgow, Edinburgh or Aberdeen.

It is the first time this annual contest has been staged in public, rather than at a barracks, and will take place in the spectacular setting of Stirling Castle from 10am to 5pm on Saturday, 19 March.

Gillian Macdonald, the castle’s executive manager, said: “We are delighted to be hosting this spectacular competition and giving visitors the chance to hear some really impressive performances by Officer Cadets from all over Scotland.

“It’s a highly appropriate location as the castle was the training depot for the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, and its walls and squares used to echo to the sound of the pipes and drums.

“We look forward to welcoming the competitors and their supporters to what should be a tremendous day out, with performances taking place all round the castle, before they all come together to Beat the Retreat.”

The competitors taking part in the Northern Lights Pipes and Drums Competition are members of four UOTC bands.

There will be solo and small group contests, plus a competition to decide which of the four bands, each of around 16 performers, is the best of 2011.

Visitors will also be able to watch displays of traditional Highland dancing.

Captain Brian Simpson, of Glasgow & Strathclyde Universities OTC, said: “We know how much people enjoy hearing army pipes and drums, and seeing Highland dance, so we decided that we would hold this year’s competition in public.

“These young men and women are highly talented and it’s a great chance to come along and witness some excellent performances in one of Scotland’s most impressive historic settings.”

For further information:

Estimated timings

  • 1000 hrs – First sets start
  • 1500 hrs – Competition ends
  • 1615 hrs – Beating Retreat
  • 1645 hrs – Competition ends
  • 1700 hrs – Prize giving

The events will be:

  • Full Band
  • Solo Drumming – Open March, Strathspey & Reel
  • Solo Drumming – Novice March
  • Pipe Quartets
  • Solo Piping - Piobaireachd
  • Solo Piping - Hornpipe and Jig
  • Solo Piping - Novice March
  • Solo Piping - Open March, Strathspey and Reel
  • Dancing

For further information

Matthew Shelley
07786 704 299 or 01786 431 325

Bill Jamieson, Army Press Officer 0131 310 2611