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20th June 2008

The Pipers' Trail brings musical spectacle to Thurso, Wick and John O'Groats

The Army in Scotland's main effort to mark the centenary of the Territorial Army (TA 100), comes to Wick today (21st June 2008) as part of its 470 mile Pipers' Trail march through Scotland, calling upon all local musicians to join them along the way.

This leg of The Trail will began with pipers and drummers coming off the ferry in Thurso yesterday evening (20th June)and proceeding onto Wick where there was piping and drumming workshops and a full musical display. The Trail will also visit John O'Groats (22nd June). This is the first time the Army has staged anything on this scale in Scotland and provides local battalions with a unique opportunity to meet and interact with communities in a fun and expressive way.

The Pipers' Trail is the brainchild of Brigadier David Allfrey, Commander of 51 (Scottish) Brigade, who stated: "After many months of planning, we're naturally delighted to get The Pipers' Trail underway and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank all those involved. I'd also like to call on the people of Thurso, Wick and John O'Groats to come out and support The Pipers' Trail as we make our way through the town and use the occasion and opportunity to raise money for local good causes.

"The Army in Scotland has a long and established relationship with pipe and drum music and, through various events this summer, we will encourage more people to play, learn, listen to and enjoy traditional piping music. At key locations along the route there will be a series of piping and drumming Summer Workshops, conducted over four days, with a professionally staged performance at the end of every week."

Brigadier Allfrey continued: "The intention of The Pipers' Trail is to provide, through the medium of bagpipe music and highland drumming, an insight into Scottish culture. With Scottish soldiers serving all around the world, The Trail will help connect them with their local communities through a shared passion for music. We invite people of all ages to come and enjoy the celebrations in their local area and hope to inspire and excite Scots everywhere."

The Trail will visit towns and cities across Scotland having started in Lerwick between 17-18 June and Kirkwall between 19-20 June. The Trail is in Wick on the 21st June, Inverness 23-28 June, Aberdeen 23-29 June, Dundee 30 June-6 July, Perth 7-10 July, Stirling 7-13 July, Ayr 14-17 July, Glasgow 14-20 July and finishing in Edinburgh between 21-27 July.

Kevin Reilly, Chairman of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA), explained that the organisation has worked with the Army to arrange a number of workshops, which will take place at the main stops of the route. He said: "The Pipers' Trail shares our vision of encouraging piping and drumming and I believe the Army in Scotland will contribute significantly to our joint endeavours over the coming summer.

"We want everyone to have a good time and mix with other musicians but also we seek to raise the standards of playing. Our values are very similar to those held by the Army and we are delighted to adopt this shared approach in the pursuit of musical excellence. People of all ages and abilities will be invited to join in and enjoy the various performances and events at each location along the way."

The Pipers' Trail will culminate in Edinburgh the week before the Military Tattoo and is expected to become a key milestone in the Scottish cultural and military calendar. For further information, visit

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