The Call of the Bagpipes – The Argyllshire Gathering

“The Oban Games – The Argyllshire Gathering – is one of the largest in Scotland and attracts international visitors and competitors to its events, many of which are for Scottish championship titles.” Oban, UK

January 25, 2021, the world will be celebrating Robert Burns.

To commemorate and prepare for this event, I have returned to Scotland via photography. Before I head over to Alloway, the birth place of Robert Burns, I am visiting Oban which is known for the Argyllshire Gathering. Come join me as I follow the bagpipes and take a tour around the historic resort town of Oban. You will sense the energy and excitement as we join the bagpipe band procession that will take us to the open spaces where the Highland Games will take place.

In 1871, several landowners and families of Argyll resolved to begin an annual tradition of gathering together to socialize and to compete against each other. The first Gathering was held in 1873. That was the beginning of the Argyllshire Gathering which includes the Highland Games.

The Argyllshire Gathering Association is well known to be “instrumental in the teaching and promoting of the Highland bagpipe” through their charitable endeavours.

A highlight of the Games is the opening march of the Gathering Stewards from the centre of Oban to the Games field at Mossfield, led by a pipe band made up of the competitors and winners in the Piping Competition. This is a truly unique opportunity to hear some of the best solo pipers in the world playing together as a band. Be at Station Square by 10.30am to follow the band to the Games.Oban Games

On the day following the piping competitions, all competitors form a band and march through Oban in “The Stewards’ March“

Someone told me that the bagpipe instrument chooses those who will become a bagpiper.

Have you heard the call of the bagpipe? If so, you will be joining a community of kindred spirits who share a connection with music and history. What a marvelous way to enhance our world through transformation of breath into music.

This old barbaric music has magic in it. It transforms the Gael. It reawakens in the depths of their being, even in this…century, impressions, moods, feelings inherited from a wild untamed ancestry for thousands of years, and thus gives them, more than strong wine, that strength of arm and that endurance of soul which makes them invincible.” Michael MacDonagh 1916

6 Thoughts

  1. This story is magical – I couldn’t wait to watch the video because I love listening to bagpipes! What a great experience… I’m not Scottish but I hope being a kindred spirit counts… 🙂

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    1. Oh, Meg, absolutely it counts. And it is very possible somewhere in your ancestry you have Scottish ancestry. In the 18th century, with the Highland clearances, many Highlanders were forcefully evicted from their homes to make way for sheep farming. The Scots then took to travel and made the world their home. I read that there is an estimated 85 million people worldwide that claim to have Scottish Ancestry. When you feel a nostalgia when you hear a piper play Amazing Grace, you are indeed a kindred spirit. Sending many hugs!

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  2. I love the sound of the bagpipes. The bagpipes say that they call to players to play them, I am sorry they did not call me to learn to play as I love the sound. The two bagpipe bands were a joy to hear, I listened at least three times for more. The high school band was excellent, and of course the professional were amazing. The crowd that gathered were very impressed. I saw a short glimpse of Thomas. Thank you for this very special post, very mort interesting|! !

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  3. I love this, Rebecca — what fun! My father’s people were from Scotland. Dwellers of the Three Cornered Land. They came here in 1692. Although I think they had issues with tithing and got shipped off to the new world. LOL, just a bit of intuitive deduction on my part. Hugs on the wing.

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    1. How interesting, Teagan! 1692 was a pivotal year in Scotland. The Massacre of Glencoe, a significant historical event, occurred on February 13 of that year. By May 1690, the Jacobite rising of 1689 was not considered an imminent threat, but unrest in the remote Highlands continued. The Jacobite chiefs said that they would swear allegiance to William III and Mary II in return for cash payments. But they delayed and frustration set in. I am not a historian by any means, but around this time and in the decades that followed Scots left Scotland and made the world their home. It seems that my Scottish family (border clan) left Scotland just after 1745. So many stories….

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