Caitlin McInnes with her pipes in preparation for the upcoming Maclean Highland Gathering.
Caitlin McInnes with her pipes in preparation for the upcoming Maclean Highland Gathering.

Bagpiper set for Maclean Highland

INITIALLY, it was the Scottish blood pumping through Caitlin McInnes’s veins that made her don a kilt.

Now it is pure passion that keeps her in a world full of all things Celtic.

The 16-year-old comes from a long line of bagpipers, and took up the instrument about 18 months ago with the Grafton District Services Club Pipe Band under the tuition of her dad, Alistair McInnes.

Caitlin will also be spending this weekend in all of her Scottish regalia competing at the 106th Maclean Highland Gathering, where she will show her talents as a soloist and will compete with the band.

At last year’s Gathering, Caitlin was awarded a $500 scholarship, which she invested straight back into piping.

“I used the money to get some tuition from one of the best pipers in the country, Malcolm MacRae. It was amazing to learn from him,” she said.

Caitlin only changed from the side drum to the pipes about 18 months ago, but her father, a champion piper and a patient teacher, has helped her.

“I have been involved in highland dancing since I was five, drumming since I was 10 and piping for the last year-and-a-half,” she said.

“I love it and have been around it pretty much my whole life because of my Dad. I am really glad I got into it though, because it is a big part of my life now.”

A little while ago, Caitlin was gifted a set of silver and ivory mounted Henderson’s, the Rolls Royce of bagpipes.

“My Grandad used to play a fair bit when he was younger, so when I started competing, he gave me the set of Henderson’s he got for his 21st birthday all those years ago,” she said.

“I think it’s pretty special to keep that going.”

The Maclean Highland Gathering begins on Friday night with solo competitions and will then continue on Saturday with the band competitions.

Highland program

There will be solo and group events throughout the day. Below is a rough timetable of the events which may change according to the number of entries in each section

Saturday

 9am Highland dancing contest begins

 9.30am Elementary Piping contests begin

 9.30am Drumming contests begin

 10.30am Drum Major contests begin

 10.45am Pipe band display

 11am Highland Games and sport begin

 11.30am Pipe Band display

 12.45pm official opening

 Pipe band contests begin

 Mass Band display



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