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Loch Almond

Bagpipes are not unique to Scotland as from the dawn of time bagpipes were common to many cultures. When Emperor Nero was said to have been playing a fiddle whilst Rome burned, he could equally as well have been playing the pipes. Nero was both a fiddler and piper. Even the English King Henry VIII had five sets of bagpipes. Many pipes are traditionally bellows-driven but in Scotland the Great Highland Bagpipe is mouth blown and it was in the Highlands that the pipes came into their own. The pipes played a vital part in Highland life, in peace and war, and pipers developed the classical side of the pipes - Pibroch. Piping colleges such as the Skye base of the MacCrimmons were vital to the development of the Scottish piping tradition.

Pipe bands came about through service in the British army and the sound of the pipes was carried to all parts of the globe. Piping out-with the military is a enjoying a great revival, which was evident in the public support to last week's Glasgow-based Piping Live festival which culminated in Saturday's (13 August) 2005 World Pipe Band Championship on a sunlit Glasgow Green.

More than 200 bands and 8,000 pipers and drummers from across the world - Europe, Australia, Canada, USA, Pakistan and New Zealand - contested the various grades in front of a 50,000 crowd. However a Scottish band bore the gree as The House of Edgar Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band took the top prize in Grade One. Second place went to Irish band The Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band and The Simon Fraser University Band from Canada took third place. Congratulations to Shotts and Dykehead on their splendid victory.

The weekend competition and other attractions, including Highland games, Highland dancing, craft fair and special events commemorating the 700th anniversary of the death of Sir William Wallace, marked the 75th anniversary of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), which organises the World Championship.

You have the opportunity to catch another great gathering of pipers this Sunday (21 August 2005) in Edinburgh when Pipefest 2005 aims to have the largest-ever gathering of pipers and drummers rally in aid of the Marie Curie Care Cancer charity. The massive pipe band will be led for the third time by Scottish Rugby legend Gavin Hastings. He captained Scotland's rugby team 20 times and won the coveted Grand Slam. Visit for full details of an exciting day out for all the family.

Piping and whisky gang thegither and this week's recipe is whisky based - Loch Almond.


Loch Almond
Ingredients:  1 oz of Scotch;  1 oz of Amaratto;  Ginger ale

Method:  Mix in a long glass.  Decorate with a long twist of orange spiralling into the glass.

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