Posted by: marymarthatours | February 3, 2010

Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band at Braemar Highland Gathering, 2009

On the night before the 2009 Braemar Highland Gathering, our “Castles and Gardens of Scotland” group arrived at the Loriston Hotel in Ballater, Scotland, just ahead of a coach bringing the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band to the same hotel. This community-based band is made up of pipers and drummers from age 12 to grandparent age. They were making their third and final invited appearance at the Braemar Gathering the next day. But first they needed to practice, so at 9:00 at night on the street in front of the hotel, our group – and the entire town – was treated to a full rehearsal.


Friday night band practice

Saturday was overcast with occasional Scottish drizzle, but we had great grandstand seats at the Gathering for the dancing, athletic events, Scottish heavy events, and all the rest of the Braemar Gathering’s activities. When the Langholm band came onto the field for their solo performance, the fans from Langholm clapped enthusiastically. We Americans were less restrained with loud cheers and calls of encouragement. The Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band had become “Our Band”.

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Johnnie leads the band onto the field Entrance of the Massed Band

We even cheered for “Our Band” when they came onto the field as part of the amazing Massed Band of over 250 pipers and drummers which performed twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon for Queen Elizabeth and the royal party. After the last performance, we were ready to leave, but suddenly Johnnie, the drum major, came running up the grandstand steps to where we were seated.

“Don’t leave yet,” he said, excitedly. “We’ve just learned that we’ve won the Shield, and we want our American supporters to be here when it’s presented”.

Of course, we stayed and saw the Queen award the Braemar Highland Gathering First Place Shield to the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Major, Craig Irving. What a thrill for them and for us too. By winning they will have the honor of playing for the Queen at the Gathering in 2010.


The Braemar Gathering Shield

The next morning as we were about to board our coach for a day of touring, we were all delighted to be piped aboard by the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Major playing “Flower of Scotland”, one of Martha’s and my favorites. And while we can’t guarantee a personal concert on every tour, this sort of serendipity is what makes traveling with the M&M’s such an exciting adventure.


Pipe Major Craig Irving

You can watch a video of the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band playing at the Overseas Tent at the 2009 Braemar Highland Gathering below –


For more information about the Braemar Gathering and pictures from 2009,

By Mary, M&M Tours



  1. […] Scotland, on our 2009 Castles and Gardens of Scotland tour when we stayed at the same hotel as the Burgh of Langholm Pipe Band, winners of the first place Shield at Braemar Highland Gathering. And for this year’s Gardens of […]

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