Forres reaches ‘entirely new level’ as 20,000 flock to Grant Park

Some of the 20,000 who flocked to Piping At Forres
Some of the 20,000 who flocked to Piping At Forres

EUROPE CAME TO FORRES on Saturday as an estimated 20,000 people flocked to the Moray town to take in the party atmosphere.

Fears that rain would dampen the biggest event on the summer calendar proved unfounded as the sun shone for spectators and 4000 pipe band members for the European Pipe Band Championships.

The event opened with a formal exchange between Piping at Forres and the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) that would see the competition remaining in Moray for a further three years – testimony to the success Forres has brought to the competition, and which the competition has brought to Forres.

Once again the premier European title went to reigning world champions Field Marshal Montgomery from Northern Ireland – who have now recorded 19 titles in the last 20 years.

The real winner, however, was the town of Forres itself as it again demonstrated itself to be the perfect setting for the championships – well over 110 trade stalls and displays, with a fantastic array of food and drink outlets showcasing all that is best from Moray and the Highlands.

A beaming chairman of Piping At Forres organisers Forres Events Ltd, Ian Widdowson, said: “I’m absolutely delighted that the sun shone, the park dried up and lots of people were here having a wonderful day.

“The park had a busy feel to it and everywhere you looked there was a lot of smiley, happy faces.”

An essential part of Piping At Forres has become the ‘World Tattie-Scone Championship’, a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Scottish delicacy! Seeing off regular title challengers such as Moray’s MP Angus Robertson was a Welshman, SAC Sam May from RAF Lossiemouth’s catering unit.

His “Taffies’ Tattie Scone” which featured smoked salmon impressed the judges as did runner-up Norma Breathet from Nairn with her ‘Lorne Pipe Scone’ based on Lorne sausage. There was a touch of Kentucky in the third place prize winner – Elgin High School teacher Ross Tyrbis’ mix of spice and herbs for a “Kentucky Fried Tattie”.

According to the chief executive of the RSPBA Forres had taken their championships to an “entirely new level”. Ian Embelton said: “This is now our third year in Forres and each year the event has been better than the last.

“Forres Events have taken piping championships to a new level and we are delighted to have signed the contract for a further three years in this wonderful location. I look forward to seeing you next year.”

Paul Bush from VisitScotland said: “The combination of the warm Moray welcome, the scenic backdrop and world-class piping on offer ensured that locals and visitors experienced a memorable day.”