Accountant bags top prize in Mod piping competition

Jonathan Greenlees took home the top piping prize. Picture: Moira Kerr
Jonathan Greenlees took home the top piping prize. Picture: Moira Kerr
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An accountant won the title of best overall piper on the opening day of competitions at the Royal National Mòd in Oban.

Jonathan Greenlees won the James R Johnston Memorial Trophy in the Ceòl Mòr.

He also beat seven other pipers, competing in Gaeldom’s premier festival, to win best overall piper on his aggregate marks in the senior competitions.

Mr Greenlees, from Glasgow, who has been playing the pipes since he was 11, said: “I don’t know any of my generation in the family that play the pipes, but I had two great, great uncles, who were killed in the First World War within two days of each other, who were both pipers in the Royal Scots.”

A member of the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band since 1994, Mr Greenlees has also won the world championship with the band eight times.

Also celebrating a win was fellow piper Colin Campbell, of Inverness, who took home the prestigious John T MacRae Cup for Ceòl Beag.

Robert Wallace, one of the ­piping judges, said: “The prize winners played very well, what was disappointing was that we had 14 entries and only eight turned up.”

Graeme Scott, who judged the junior fiddle competitions, said they attracted a good number of entries.

He added: “In both the children’s competitions, in the under 13 and 13-18, the standard was particularly high this year.”

Lachlan Kennedy, 12, a pupil of St Mary’s Music School in Edinburgh, won the Gold Badge in the open fiddle under 13s contest. Lachlan, who is related to Gaelic singer Calum Kennedy, a former Mod gold medallist who died in 2006, lives in Glasgow.

Around 3,000 competitors and thousands more spectators, from as far afield as Australia, America, Germany and Holland, are expected to boost the Oban economy by millions of pounds over the course of the festival.

The nine-day event will feature 200 competitions, testing skills in music, drama, literature and Highland dance.

Events got under way on Friday with a torchlight procession through Oban followed by a concert headlined by Karen Matheson and Donald Shaw, of the band Capercaillie.

Saturday saw the music competitions begin and there were shinty and football contests, followed by the traditional Fiddler’s Rally.