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Piper from Crieff to battle with world’s best at Blair Castle

A Perthshire piper will battle it out to be named the world’s top piper when the instrumentalists meet next month at Blair Castle.

Ten of the best solo pipers have been invited to compete in this year’s Glenfiddich Piping Championship, held in Blair Atholl on Saturday, October 30.

The prestigious 48th annual event will welcome live audiences to the Perthshire venue’s Victorian ballroom.

It is also being livestreamed, allowing piping fans at home and around the world to experience the impressive performances.

Connor Sinclair of Crieff is Perthshire ’s hope for 2021.

Starting to train his talent early, he was accepted for accelerated weekly tuition at the National Piping Centre in Glasgow.

Mum and dad Katrina and Alister drove him to the Piping Centre from Crieff, once a week for 10 years.

As a 16 year-old Connor was the winner of the final round of the 2012 Pipe Idol competition.

He obtained his Bachelor of Music (Piping) degree from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Traditional Music program.

Connor then joined the teaching staff of the National Piping Centre.

His pipes play for Nicola Sturgeon as he is the official piper to the Scottish National Party. He also pipes with the folk band Gnoss.

In 2019, at the age of 23, he was at Blair Castle for his first championship appearance and he finished second overall. In the same year he won the Highland Society of London Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting.

Two years on, he hopes this will be the breakthrough year at Glenfiddich.

He will be playing solo against the likes of defending champion Stuart Liddell, Dollar’s Callum Beaumont, British Columbia piper Jack Lee, five-time champion Roderick Macleod MBE, William McCallum of Bearsden, 2019 title holder Finlay Johnston, The Silver Chanter 2021 winner Angus MacColl, Edinburgh’s Iain Speirs and Glasgow-based Canadian piper Glenn Brown.

The participants were selected from the two qualifying events that took place, with Stuart Liddell as the 2020 champion and Callum Beaumont as the overall winner of the Piping Live! Masters Competition.

The other competitors were chosen based on previous achievements at the Glenfiddich Piping Championship and will travel to Perthshire this October for the annual meet.

The Glenfiddich Piping Championship was established in 1974 to inspire the world’s finest exponents of Ceòl Mòr or Piobaireachd (the great music) and Ceòl Beag or light music (the little music).

Musicians will play in both the Piobaireachd and March, Strathspey and Reel disciplines, with prizes awarded for each discipline, as well as an overall championship winner.

The championship will get underway at 10am on Saturday October 30 and with limited availability on the door at Blair Castle, people are encouraged to buy a ticket in advance for the in-person show, priced at £15 per person or £12 for a concession.

The competition will be followed by the celebratory Pipers’ Ceilidh at the Atholl Palace Hotel in Pitlochry.

A limited number of tickets are available for the ceilidh, priced at £60 per person.

The online show is priced at £15 and will be available to view for one week after it is first streamed.

Everyone who books a ticket in advance for the competition, both in-person or online, will be entered into a special prize draw to win a set of bagpipes, Piping Live! 2022 festival passes and a host of other exciting goodies.

Tickets for the Glenfiddich Piping Championship 2021 are on sale now at www.thepipingcentre.co.uk/glenfiddich.



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