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------Est. 1980 Piping Perfection------

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 October 2023


Dear Piping Enthusiast, 

Despite the temptation to spend a lot of our time at the many piping events which have taken place recently, we had to remain focussed on the business side of things and it is pleasing to report that production is keeping pace with bag demand. Glasgow Skye PB are back in action and on Begg bags – and their recovery from extinction is down to Kenny MacLeod. Well done to Kenny for saving this iconic band and best wishes to Donald Stuart on his role as the new P/M. We remain the number one worldwide bag choice a by country mile with 60% of Grade 1 Bands and an ever increasing number within Grade 2 and beyond, including Manor Cunningham, Ulster Scottish, MacMillan USA and the Knox Academy Australia. The world famous Eton College in England have run a pipe band for many decades. With Eton demanding and delivering the highest standards across all aspects of their education system, we are pleased that they are a long standing customer of Begg bags and bagpipes. New pipes will be on their way shortly for their latest student intake.

We are enjoying our new antipodean Aussie working hard work in the shop. Bede Patterson is just commencing his 4th and final year at the NPC/Royal Conservatoire piping degree course and we operate a flexible working hours system to ensure Bede graduates with distinction! Many thanks to the NPC degree project leader John Mulhearn for his help in sourcing such an able and hard worker.

As you may have read in our last Newsletter, my daughter is currently working in Melbourne as a civil engineer so I have kind of done a swop/exchange for Bede.....................only joking Lisa!



Yours aye,

James C. Begg

Piping Perfection

Desk Report 1 - P/M Peter MacInnes
peter final.jpg

My very good friend Peter has just retired and has moved to the family croft in Eriskay, Outer Hebrides. I first knew Peter just before he joined the Scots Guards and at that time, I was around the tender age of 16. He did the basic training at Pirbright which was a bit of a challenge but after that, things picked up and I bumped into him at Edinburgh Castle where he was on the Pipe Majors’ course. I was at the Castle with my bags to meet the legendary P/M Angus Macdonald who was the course instructor with Major John Allan as his boss. I was quite apprehensive as whilst I made bags, I had little experience at that time of fitting. So, you can imagine the stress I was under when I had to demonstrate how to fit Angus’ bag in front of a whole load of soldiers as part of their daily instruction.  Angus was a truly kind man but due to his impressive stature, he was somewhat intimidating. He asked me to join the troops for lunch and it was so nice to have Peter there to join me as I was feeling well out my depth! But that was then, and now after thousands of fittings, I think I’ve now got the hang of it…………..

That escapade in 1980 allowed me to get many lucrative British Army contracts for bags. On the following Saturday, Angus was playing at the City Chambers Lord Provost competition in Glasgow.  I was so glad his chanter did not pop out!! My nerves were in tatters but all was fine.


Peter was an absolute stalwart on the Piping scene and served with great distinction in the Scots Guards. He led the 1st Battalion as Pipe Major for 12 years and saw active duty in West Germany, Kenya, Cyprus and the Falklands. His distinguished service citation in the Falklands reads: 'Pipers were part of the medical orderly unit involved in a night attack on the Argentine positions on Tumbledown mountain. The date was July 14, 1982. Peter was medical orderly to a diversionary force. Several men were killed and wounded by concentrated machine gun fire and the force later came under heavy fire from mortars and artillery. Throughout the bombardment Peter went forward to tend the wounded and give morphine with complete disregard for his own safety. On withdrawal he ensured the wounded reached a safe area.' 

On retirement from the Army, Peter went into education and worked with Glasgow Schools. Although he had ridiculously low funding from Glasgow, his teaching skills were to the fore and many of his young pupils went on to play in the top bands. His compositions are also well renowned and so we hopefully will hear some new ones emanating from Eriskay.

We thank Peter for his huge and hopefully continuing contribution to Piping and I personally will miss his excellent company.

Special Offer - Deger Chanter deger.jpg

The leading electronic pipe - reliable - versatile -comes with headphones - can be put through stereo computer or midi - various octaves and sounds. Was £412.50 plus vat if applicable and now standing at £333.33 plus vat.  Almost more importantly after all the chip shortages, we have the brilliant Deger in stock!


Desk Report 2 - thoughts on August

It was quite a month in Scotland with the World Pipe Band Championship, the Argyllshire Gathering, the Northern Meeting in Inverness, the Clasp events, Piping Live and all the games around the country – wow. When you put it all together, it is an impressive collective effort from people all over the country to get all the organisation in place and it is sometimes too easy for those looking on to take it all a bit for-granted. We of course also need to acknowledge and thank all the competitors and supporters from all over the world who made the long and often expensive trip to our beautiful country – we thank each and every one and look forward to doing it all over again next year!

Prime congratulations must of course go to Boghall and Bathgate on winning their first world boggiespic.gif championship. It has been a long wait for them and was achieved by an impressive mixture of focus, dedication and enthusiasm over the years by the Band and their support network - what a great organisation and really world class. With so much going on at the Worlds, I personally didn't get to hear them live on the day but I did hear FMM and Inveraray – both of these bands were right at the top of their game and so you can imagine how good the Boggies must have been to beat them – brilliant!
(Here is a link to their medley for those of you like James who missed it - Ed)

It was encouraging to see the Worlds at Glasgow Green almost back to its usual strength in terms of bands in attendance. As I wandered around, I met a few old friends but it was interesting to see the diversity of the piping fraternity. I think I even had to ask Bruce Gandy the name of a band we were listening to. It was the RMM – the Robert Malcolm Memorial from British Columbia with a really nice and enjoyable sound. The RMM is a band mainly for younger players and many pass through its ranks into the Simon Fraser University Band – what a great feeder system.

The arena itself looked a bit shabby as did many of the stands. The big marquee from previous years was removed but goodness knows what happened in there anyway – maybe it was a watering hole for the great and the good of Glasgow City Council. The Worlds is a huge event with visitors from around the world and provides a big financial input to Glasgow but the supporting infrastructure and visual appearance do not do it justice – a major rethink and revamp is required by Glasgow City Council who frankly don’t appear to be taking the Worlds seriously. Can you imagine what it would be like if Dubai or Singapore were to put on such an event – or closer to piping, if Vancouver, Melbourne, Auckland or any number of U.S cities were given the opportunity to host the Worlds? Wake up Glasgow

YouReport - An Aussie in Scotland
Bede photo.jpg

The last few months at Begg Bagpipes has been an eye-opening experience with me learning some of the specific practices James Begg incorporates into his bespoke pipe-bag manufacturing process.

As an Australian studying, working and performing with bagpipes in Scotland, it’s interesting to reflect on the different piping spheres I’ve partaken in to-date.

The Australian piping scene has strong competitive and community-based opportunities. I first started learning the pipes from my father, Robert Patterson. Between different tutors and workshops in Australia and New Zealand my passion for piping continued to grow.

Since moving to Glasgow in 2020, I’ve been exposed to many more worlds and forms of playing within the wider piping tradition. This has included composing and performing in diverse ensembles with differing instrumentation, largely through the Royal Conservatoire degree. Before this exposure my main interests included solo competitive piping and pipe band competition. These conventional piping spheres I still very much hold close to my heart!
I’ve grown to appreciate more the physics and anatomy of the great highland bagpipe through working at Begg Bagpipes. There is something deeply satisfying about seeing raw materials turn into finished products that create the make-up of our instrument!



If you would like to report on any aspect of the Piping World from wherever you live, or if you would like to comment on any articles or issues, we'd be pleased to hear from you. Email to


Begg Bagpipes

The Chall Building Kirkintilloch G66 1QF United Kingdom

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