Sunday, August 24, 2014

The Edinburgh Pipe Band Championships 2014

The final competition of the season took place in Edinburgh, at the Highland Centre. This is a relatively new competition - this was only the fourth year it has taken place - but it's one that Edinburgh City Council are very keen to build up. And rightly so - it's a venue that is ideal for hosting a large event, but rather poor for a small one.

The pick-up time this week was a fairly civilised 9am, which meant a lie in until 7:30! This made for a relatively pleasant morning, with me getting ready and heading out after the dawn. Then we were off to our second pick-up, and then to the contest, a mere half-hour away.

The day was fairly relaxed, with us now past the point where the contests had any serious meaning (the majors being over and done with), and so we got ready and then performed, and then got ready and performed again. The performances were okay, but not spectacular - earlier in the season this would have been the occasion for a rant, but none was forthcoming.

After the competitions were done, there were a few hours to kill, so I retreated to the bus to read. The site had virtually nothing to do - as I said, it is poorly suited to a small event, as those few local traders were shut up for the weekend, while it wasn't big enough to attract even the usual Highland Games traders.

The final competition finished just before four, and so shortly thereafter we had the march-past and prize-givings. We came fifth out of six in the Grade 4 contest (5th for piping and 4th for drumming), and third out of four in the Grade 4MSR (3rd and 3rd), narrowly missing out on a prize in both cases.

And then there was a fairly quiet, and pleasantly short, bus journey home, and that was the season done.

It was actually a nice day on which to end the competition season, with the lack of pressure, the reasonably okay weather, and a halfways decent performance. Plus, as soon as we had played our last I felt an enormous release of stress, as the burden of the season is now gone.

#43: "The Grapes of Wrath", by John Steinbeck (A book from The List, and also the new candidate for Book of the Year.)

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