Forres gave a Piping welcome for each of the 105 Pipe Bands who competed in the European Pipe Band Championships, sponsored by Benromach Speyside Single Malt Scotch Whisky held in Forres on Saturday 27 June, and the large crowds who came to the park to enjoy the day.
Winners in grade 1 were Field Marshal Montgomery, second Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia and third St Laurence O’Toole from the Republic of Ireland.
Johnstone came first in grade 2, grade 3A was won by City of Discovery, grade 3B by Portlethen and District; 4A by Methil and District; 4B Lanark and District. Novice Juvenile winners were Dollar Academy.
The Adult Drum Major title was won by Alicia Dickson Hamilton from Matt Boyd Memorial,
Zoe McDowell from Aughintober won the Juvenile grade and Abigail Wenlock from Cullybackey won the Junior grade, her first ever championship.
Full results are on the RSBPA website –www.rspba.org.
Organised by Forres Events Ltd, the event was a great family day out with over 120 trade stalls. The Craft and Retail Village included a Johnstons of Elgin sponsored Craft Marquee. The Walkers Shortbread sponsored Food and Drink Marquee and Food and Drink Village featured some of the finest produce of Moray and the surrounding area.
The World’s Tattie scone championship was won by Cardiff born, Senior Aircraftman Sam May from Catering Squadron, RAF Lossiemouth, with his ‘Taffies’ Tattie Scone with smoked bacon and smoked Dorset cheese as his ingredient, 2nd was Norma Breathet a farmer from just outside Nairn with the ‘Lorne pipe’ with Lorne sausage and carmelised chutney. Third was Elgin High School Teacher Ross Tyrbis with ‘KFT Kentucky Fried Tattie’ scone with mixed herbs and spices.
Shirley Spear, the current Highlands and Islands Ambassador for Food and Drink and owner of the Three Chimneys in Skye and one of the Tattie Scone judges said: “There has been a fantastic number of entries and an amazing assortment of flavours and tastes – some more unusual than others.”
Ian Widdowson, chairman of Forres Events Ltd said: “Absolutely delighted that the sun has shone, the park has dried up and lots of people here are having a wonderful day. The park has a busy feel about it and everywhere you look there a lot of smiley happy faces.”
Chieftain Mark Laing said: “This has been a wonderful day, everybody has enjoyed themselves and the atmosphere is fantastic. I am sure that Sir Alexander would be very happy to see this feast of colour and traditional music and be pleased to see his gift to Forres being put to such good use.”
Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association said: “This is now our third year in Forres and each year the event has been better than the last, Forres Events have taken piping championships to a new level and we are delighted to have signed the contract for a further 3 years in this wonderful location. I look forward to seeing you next year.”
The Federation of Small Business best stall was awarded to Alan Macritchie of Ullapool Box Creations who said of his win: “Really delighted to have won, lots of good products around and lots of competition so well chuffed to win.”
Pearl Hamilton, Branch Chair of Moray and Keith Federation of Small Businesses said: “We were impressed with the way Alan dealt with customers, the sustainability of his product and his knowledge of where his product came from together with the fact that he uses a lathe. A very impressive and worthy winner against some strong competition.”
George McIntyre a Trustee of The Gordon and Ena Baxter Foundation who were supporting the Education Centre said: “The park is a lovely natural setting for one of the largest single day events in Moray and such a colourful event. I think it gets better every year. The education centre gives youngsters a taste of the pipes and I think it is tremendous to have all these people who are giving up their time to encourage youngsters to take up the pipes.”
Angus Robertson whose tattie scone was hot chilli scone with olives and chilli said: "Piping at Forres has wowed the crowds once again, with thousands flocking to Forres to play and thousands more to spectate. The event has rapidly become a major fixture in both Moray and the piping world's calendar. The organisers and volunteers who make it tick have done a great job.
"The sound of the pipes and drums on such a phenomenal scale is really incredible and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone there."
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland said:
“We were delighted to support the European Pipe Band Championships with additional funding for the second year running. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and the Championships has developed itself as a standout event in the north-east of Scotland.”
“The sight and sound of pipers always present a fantastic appeal for all ages. The combination of the warm Moray welcome, the scenic historical backdrop of Forres and world class piping on offer ensured that locals and visitors travelling from far and wide experienced a memorable day of wide-ranging entertainment at this year’s Championships.”