As with all the other posts lately this is late. I write this on MV Loch Seaforth heading for Stornoway in a billowing snow storm after successfully completing the Inverness to Ullapool bobsleigh run. 2022 was our best season ever in competition and socialising. Period.
The crawl back from lockdown to full band practice had many set backs and wrong turns but even in February the sound on the practice floor gave reason for optimism and the continual online practice and one on one lessons had stopped everyone working hard on playing the tunes wrong. Pipey and the tutors worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic and saw us enter 2022 sounding like a band with only minor tweaks on the run up to the Season.
We were the first band on at Gourock for 2 years and fielded a lot of first timers into the competition circle, the inexperience showed but as I’ve said before this is a young band that doesn’t know what it doesn’t know and a week later we came back to Gourock in foul weather and won the British. There was a party.
This was the start of an epic run of results and stockpile of silverware. To go to Ireland and win against Irish bands was very sweet and the party after the Europeans was proportionate to the win. The disappointment at not winning the Scottish and the Worlds was tempered by being 2022 Champion of Champions. Imagine being disappointed at being third in the Worlds. We peaked too early, played our championship winning performance at the qualifying stage. The street march to the Bowling Club saw no casualties although the Hat only just made it.
Having taken 53 years to become a championship winning drummer, James the Hat has regretfully hung up his competition sticks but has no thoughts of abandoning the street or of chaperoning me to competitions. I am hopeful of making the cut this Season and the hard work continues apace.
I should probably apologise now to Pipey for my awful playing at the march off in Dumbarton, interventions are now in place.
The parties, fetes, fayres and street parades kept us busy during the dark days and the nine pipers abreast on Remembrance day (47 players on the street) should give the guys in 4A pause for thought as we displayed the depth of commitment and talent coming through the training courses. James the Hat and I continue to teach the band moderate drinking and intemperate dancing.
Burns Suppers are now the focus and our pipers are in demand across the county, my outreach work in Essex was cancelled but thanks to Mickey Blue Eyes I’m now a singer of songs. All credit to the folk band for working out whatever key I sing in.
A long time ago I wrote that we were waiting for the youth to make us World champions and let the old hackers retire to the beer tent. That day may not be far off.
I believe the first competition of 2023 is just eight weeks away. The wheels of steel will soon be turning.