Scottish title for Camelon’s ‘wee band on the rise’

A long-established pipe band has drummed up some impressive performances over the past few months and bagged Scottish titles last weekend.

Camelon and District Pipe Band, which was established way back in 1913, took home first place trophies for the Scottish Grade 4b best band and best drum corps at the Scottish Pipe Band Championships in a rainy Levingrove Park in Dumbarton.

Propelled by the veteran experience of pipe major Jimmy Gavin and leading drummer Jockie McLean and the emerging talents of young drum major Eve Llewellyn, the band is truly punching well above its weight.

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Chairman Murray Cameron has been with Camelon and District for eight years now and has seen them get better all the time. Now they are knocking on the door of promotion from a Scottish Grade 4b band – which they have been since 2015 – up to a 4a.

Camelon and District Pipe Band at The Falkirk WheelCamelon and District Pipe Band at The Falkirk Wheel
Camelon and District Pipe Band at The Falkirk Wheel

They just missed out on promotion to the higher level last year.

Murray, also a bass drummer in the band, said: “You would see younger members getting downhearted because they were not winning, but that’s how you learn and how you get better. Last year we got fifth place at the British championships – the first time in a long time we had been placed at the competition.

“Then we got a fourth place at the UK championships in Ireland and you could see the younger members’ confidence building. You can see them saying we can do this – it wasn’t a fluke.”

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The upward trend has continued this year with the win at the Scottish championships and other high finishes.

When they are not competing – the championship season runs from the middle of May to the middle of September – the band is busy practising at Falkirk’s Grahamston United Church, in Bute Street, on Monday and Thursday evenings or entertaining crowds at various events including Grangemouth Children’s Day.

The registered charity, which enjoys support and sponsorship from John Mitchell Haulage and other organisations, has around 40 members from all over the Falkirk area of varied abilities – from beginner, to intermediate to competitive level – ranging from 12 years old right up to 70.

Offering teaching in piping and drumming, the band is starting to see the fruits of its labour pay off as youngsters who have come up through the ranks grow in experience.

“We are a wee band on the rise,” said Murray.

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They are due to compete at Bridge of Allan Highland Games on Sunday, followed by a trip down to North Berwick International Highland Games on August 10 and then it’s the big one – the World Pipe Band Championships on August 16 and 17 at Glasgow Green.

“We’re definitely in with a shout,” said Murray. “We’re up against 40 bands this year compared to 56 in 2018.”

The sky could be the limit for Camelon and District Pipe Band, with future plans being discussed for a dream flight to New York to play in the world famous Tartan Day parade.

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