Dornoch Pipe Band
The Definitive Sound of Scotland

Dornoch Pipe Band History

The Dornoch Pipe Band was formed in 1926 mainly through the efforts of a local man called William Skinner, who was at the time Town Clerk of Dornoch.

The first Pipe Major was also a local man called William Grant who was succeeded shortly afterwards by Hugh Grant being also personal piper to the Carnegie Family, heirs of Andrew Carnegie, at Skibo Castle from 1920 – 1957.

Dornoch Pipe Band History
Photograph credit: Historylinks Museum - Catalogue No. 2002.246

Back row: Kenny McRae, Frankie Sutherland, Donnie Bain, Ian Sutherland, Donnie Sutherland, Jack Cowan, Jim Duff. 

Front row: Alex Neish, Donald McKay, Peter Murray, Hughie McKay, Hamish McKenzie, Sinclair Gunn,
Hugh McKenzie, Alley McLean, John Grant, Chalie McKay, Andrew McLeod.

From the beginning the band has always set a high standard of dress and musical performance and in these early days the band wore Sutherland tartan kilts, Royal Stewart plaids, feather bonnets, with the drummers wearing white tunics; the pipers green ones. This was the Pipe Band uniform of the 5th Seaforth’s, the Sutherland County Regiment. Nowadays the band still wears the Sutherland tartan kilts, but are now more often seen, like most bands, with black jackets, Glengarry’s and white stockings. Like any other similar organisation it has had it’s ups and downs but has remained active since its inception except for the war years.

After the war the band was reformed and has been active ever since.

The present Pipe Major is Willie Fraser who has served the band faithfully for over 50 years is also a local man and has held this position for over 25 years. Willie also played with the Invergordon Distillery Band in their heyday.

In 1991 the band re-entered the competition field in Grade 4 and from the start were almost always in the prize list so it was not very surprising that in season 1993 the band were Champion of Champions of Grade 4. Moving up to Grade 3 the band hardly had time to settle down when the split in that Grade placed them in the lower Grade 3b. However the band once again proved their merit by winning the Champion of Champions of this Grade in 1999 and now moved up to Grade 3a where at present they now lie.

The band still have a very active programme but unfortunately, owing to a scarcity of drummers of competing standard they are in the frustrating position of having a first class pipe corps but do not have enough drummers of a high enough level to take their place on the starting line. We would be pleased to hear from any drummers who could help us out of this difficulty, irrespective of experience as training can be provided.


Produced by Neil-R