Silver Chanter piping competition switches to Glasgow from Skye

One of the most prestigious events in the Scottish traditional music calendar has been forced to leave its home for the last 50 years due to rising costs.

The Silver Chanter competition was first held at Dunvegan Castle in 1967. Picture: Robert Perry/TSPL

The Silver Chanter, which sees pipers perform solo recitals, has been held in the drawing room of Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye every year since 1967.

Around six competitors are invited to take part each year and the event was once considered so important it would be broadcast on BBC radio.

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But funding cuts by the William Grant Foundation have meant the organisers, the Skye Piping Society, have found it impossible to continue staging the meeting.

The winner of the 2017 Silver Chanter, Cameron Drummond. Picture: Derek Maxwell

The 2018 competition will instead be held at the National Piping Centre in Cowcaddens, Glasgow.

The recital was established in 1967 by Dame Flora MacLeod, 28th Chief of MacLeod, with the aim of encouraging more top pipers to compete at the Skye Gathering.

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Cailean Maclean, chairman of The Isle of Skye Piping Society, said: “While the Skye Piping Society is disappointed that due to rising costs and diminishing income we have had to sever our connection with the Silver Chanter Competition, we are delighted that through the support of the William Grant Foundation and The National Piping Centre a way has been found of ensuring the event’s continuation at least for the next few years.

The winner of the 2017 Silver Chanter, Cameron Drummond. Picture: Derek Maxwell

“It is wonderful that this prestigious piping event has not been lost and we wish every success to The National Piping Centre in its stewardship of the Silver Chanter competition.”

Roddy MacLeod, the principal of the National Piping Centre, said the landmark event had been a “high point” in the solo piping season for the last 50 years.

He added: “Through the generosity of the William Grant Foundation and with the support of The Isle of Skye Piping Society we aim to preserve the traditions of the event which celebrates the music of the MacCrimmon composers. In 2018, the event will be held on August 4 at the National Piping Centre and from 2019 the event will be brought into the Piping Live! festival’s portfolio of events.”