THE photographs in this week’s trip down West Fife’s Memory Lane feature the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Championship that took place in Pittencreiff Park on Saturday, May 24, 2014, the first such championship to have taken place in Dunfermline for more than 20 years.

Twenty-three pipe bands from all over Scotland took part in the event and the winners of the Grade 1 competition on the day were ‘Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia’, who beat ‘Scottish Power’ to the title.

The venue for the championship, of Pittencrieff Park, was gifted to the people of Dunfermline by one of the world’s greatest ever philanthropists, Andrew Carnegie, who himself was a lover of traditional Scottish music as he noted in his autobiography: “I must not, however, forget that a very good foundation was laid for my love of sweet sounds in the unsurpassed minstrelsy of my native land as sung by my father. There was scarcely an old Scottish song with which I was not made familiar, both words and tune."

When Andrew Carnegie bought Skibo Castle, he had a piper play for his guests every day at 7.45am sharp, and the first resident piper, Angus Macpherson, recalled in his autobiography: “Andrew was a lover of good music with which I am proud to say he associated the music of the Highland bagpipe. He looked upon the bagpipe as a great Scottish heritage.”

The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust sponsored the championship trophies, and their chairman Douglas Scott, who is photographed presenting a medal to one of the individual winners, commented: “To see the Glen full of people enjoying the park and hosting a major pipe band event was a real joy. The bands worked hard to perform well on the day and this event has the potential to become increasingly popular since the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association seemed particularly pleased with the venue and organisation. The Carnegie Dunfermline Trust is delighted that Mr Carnegie's legacy was so well appreciated and the Trust is pleased to have helped get this event off the ground.”

Provost Jim Leishman performed the role of Chieftain on the day: “It was fantastic to watch so many pipe bands from all around Scotland perform here in Dunfermline. There were also lots of young pipers and drummers, including many from in and around Dunfermline, which is a great sign for the future. The highlight for me was the massed bands display at the end of the day when all 500 pipers and drummers marched up the hill to all play together as one band.”

These sentiments were echoed by Tracey Thomson, of Peebles Pipe Band, who in addition to competing in the main event were one of the bands who played in a variety of locations around the town before the main event: “I and many of my fellow band members had never been to Dunfermline before and it was heartwarming to get such a great reception. The setting of Pittencrieff Park was excellent and we all loved the event.”

More photographs like these can be seen in Dunfermline Carnegie Library and Galleries.

With thanks to Frank Connelly.