Pipes and drums

Levengrove prepares a ceud mile failte for more than 100 pipe bands

Pictures by Bill Heaney

By Lucy Ashton

Preparations are in full swing as West Dunbartonshire gets ready to welcome the Scottish Pipe Band Championships for the 19th year.

The event has grown to be one of the biggest free pipe band competitions in the world and brings significant economic benefit to the area each year.

More than 100 bands and 25,000 people are expected to descend on Levengrove Park on Saturday 28 July for this year’s event.

As well as the unmistakable sound of the pipes and drums from some of the best bands in the world, spectators can look forward to Highland dancing competitions and a fun fair.

There will also be a range of free activities and games for all ages on offer at the West Dunbartonshire Leisure ‘Sports Zone’.

West Dunbartonshire Provost William Hendrie, Chieftain of the Scottish Pipe Band Championships, said: “I’m really looking forward to the 2018 Scottish Pipe Band Championships. It is such an honour for Dumbarton to have hosted such a wonderful event for the past 19 years.

“The competition has grown and grown and the people of Dumbarton have loved being part of it as well as welcoming visitors from far and wide who have travelled here over the years.

“There’s nothing quite like the sound and sights of the pipes and in Levengrove Park in the shadow of the Castle, it’s a magical setting too. It is sure to be a great day out for all the family.”

Competitors are getting ready to show off their skills in the hope of landing the top prize.

And for Fraser Sergeant and his band, Lomond and Clyde, it’s more important than ever.

Placing first in last year’s Grade 2 contest, they will be playing as a Grade 1 band at the event for the first time.

But Fraser, the band’s longest-serving member, said: “Needless to say, this competition is always an important one for us, but more so than ever this year as it’s our first season in the Grade 1 section. We’ve also just got our new kilts in our official Lomond and Clyde tartan –  “We can’t wait and hope our hard work pays off.”

Ian Embelton, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, added: “The Scottish Pipe Band Championships is always popular with competitors and spectators and we are looking forward to welcoming everyone to one of the most important events on the piping calendar.”

A Council spokesperson said: “The annual competition brings significant financial benefit to the West Dunbartonshire economy, with visitors spending at the event and in local shops, restaurants, bars, guest houses and hotels.

“Visitors are asked to note that due to refurbishment work in the park, there will be a slight change to the layout of the event which means they will enter and exit the event differently from previous years.

“There is a pay and park facility at the venue, but due to the high volume of people expected at the event, visitors are encouraged to use public transport. Dalreoch railway station and buses into Dumbarton High Street are both within easy walking distance of the park.”

  • Ceud mile failte is Gaelic for 100,000 welcomes.

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