A Smart Ashes’ Prediction

May 4, 2010 on 7:26 pm by Michael Grey | In News, Pipe Bands, Solo Piping, Stories | 3 Comments

The Icelandic ash thing ain’t going away. I wonder how news that makes headlines like today’s “Ash cloud set to close Scottish airspace” will affect the overseas attendance of pipers and pipe bands at the late summer competitions in Scotland?

It’s one thing to experience a flight delay when you’re about to fly out of your home city. It’s another when you find you’re stuck — with limited funds — in a “vacation” place, a destination far from your home.

Competing pipe bands are mostly made up of people outside of the leisure class – and I have to say I’m not even sure such a class exists in the world today – a long way off from my line of sight, anyway. Pipe bands are full of working people, or, just as likely, students and young people starting out a working life.

Forget for a minute the possibility that you’re one of the scores of bands from outside of Scotland that can’t fulfill their August GLA travel plans. So what? You find out that Iceland’s unpronounceable volcano prevents you from taking to the skies.

The real problem comes when you land in Scotland, practice your face off, compete, and THEN find you can’t leave the country. What does a band do — a travelling group of 30 to 50 (or more) in size? How to prepare for the possibility of an indefinite life as a Scottish traveller?

I hope to hell it never comes to be but maybe Iceland, in her capricious, Calum Campbell-y, volcanic way, will somehow bring pipers together.

Who knows? Come August 15th, maybe we’ll see the spare and front rooms of Scotland become the crash pads for visiting drummers and pipers.

Stranger things have happened.



  1. I would recommand to use conventional ship to reach scotland, such QM2 (http://www.cunard.com/Destinations/default.asp?Sub=&Region=7) yeah, the one with Bagad St Nazer on board 😀

    Comment by YoannLeGoff — May 4, 2010 #

  2. Great idea, Yoann! Southampton to New York return is only $5300 – add in extra travel to and from departure/arrival ports and that’s about $6000 a person. A band of 30= $180,000. Not bad! M.

    Comment by Michael Grey — May 5, 2010 #

  3. 4days of duty free bar + lifetime memories is priceless Mike!

    Comment by YoannLeGoff — May 15, 2010 #

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