The overall winner of the prestigious Glenfiddich Piping Championship 2023 has been named as Callum Beaumont, as the event celebrates five decades of sensational piping. The prestigious Championship, which was first held in 1974, was founded by Sandy Grant Gordon of William Grant and Sons, and Seumas MacNeill who was Principal of the College of Piping at the time. It was established to inspire the world’s finest exponents of Ceòl Mòr or Piobaireachd (the great music) and Ceòl Beag or light music (the little music). Run by The National Piping Centre, the world centre for excellence in bagpipe music, and funded through the William Grant Foundation, the event is held annually in Perthshire. Callum Beaumont went up against nine of the world’s greatest solo players at the landmark 50th edition of the annual competition at Blair Castle last night to claim the title, his first time lifting the trophy.
Finlay Johnston was crowned runner-up and Alex Gandy was third overall. Callum Beaumont was also named the Piobaireachd winner, and the March, Strathspey and Reel (MSR) competition winner was Alex Gandy. The recipient of this year’s Balvenie Medal, which is awarded annually for services to piping, was Roderick J MacLeod MBE. The five-time Glenfiddich Champion was nominated for the award by his peers for his huge contribution to the world of piping through his solo, pipe band and professional career. The Championship played out in front of a packed live audience in Blair Castle’s Victorian Ballroom, with advance tickets having sold out well ahead of the event, as well as hundreds of spectators from around the world watching the competition online.
Legacy of great pipers
Overall winner Callum Beaumont said: “I’m honoured to be taking home the Glenfiddich trophy today. It was fantastic to be part of the 50th edition of the Championship competing against such incredible pipers – everyone gave it their all so it means a lot to be the overall winner, and to join the legacy of great pipers who have received this honour in the past five decades.”
The National Piping Centre’s Director of Piping, Finlay MacDonald, said: “It was fantastic to have ten of the world’s best pipers competing here at Blair Castle for this special edition of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship. The Championship is the peak of all solo piping competitions, representing the very best in piping talent from around the world. It was a tough competition, with some incredible performances, so congratulations to our winners and runners up this year and a big thank you to everyone who came along to watch or tuned in online, and anyone who has supported the Championship over the past 50 years.”
This year’s competitors were once again chosen from the list of qualifying events, with Willie McCallum the Overall Winner of the 2022 Glenfiddich Piping Championship. Callum Beaumont won The Clasp for Senior Piobaireachd and the Former Winners MSR at the Northern Meeting, where Innes Smith was the Gold Medal Winner and Finlay Johnston took second in the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel. Angus MacColl was the Senior Piobaireachd winner at the Argyllshire Gathering, with Alex Gandy winning the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel, Alasdair Henderson taking the gold medal and Jack Lee taking second place in the Former Winners’ March, Strathspey and Reel at the same event. At the Scottish Pipers’ Society of London Competition, Fred Morrison was named the Overall Champion, while Bruce Gandy was awarded the Bratach Gorm, as well winning the Piping Live! Masters Solo Piping Competition overall prize.
Images courtesy of Derek Maxwell.