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TITLE
Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Highland Games, Portree
EXTERNAL ID
SLD_182_021
PLACENAME
Portree
DISTRICT
Skye
DATE OF IMAGE
1973
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
Olivia James
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
39466
KEYWORDS
Drum Majors
drum major
pipe major
pipe band
Pipe Bands
pipe bands
highland games
Highland Games arena
Skye Games
Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Highland Games, Portree

The Isle of Skye Pipe Band entertains the crowd at the Highland Games in Portree while one of the athletic competitions continues in the background. Officiating at that event is Colonel Jock Macdonald (left) whose family have been associated with the Games since their inception. Colonel Macdonald was a noted piping judge. On the right is Procurator Fiscal Donald MacMillan.

The Portree Pipe band was first formed in the late 1920s by Post Master William Watson. In March 1961, having been in abeyance since World War II, it reformed under the title of the Isle of Skye Pipe Band. Fundraising and instruction of young pipers and drummers helped to re-establish and strengthen the band which has played abroad and also for the Queen at the Balmoral Highland Games. During the summer months they can be heard in the main square in Portree.

Although looking like a natural amphitheatre, the arena used for the Highland Games and other events was mostly created when stone was quarried for building work in Portree, including the Skye Gathering Hall. An early reference to "Lord Macdonald's Games" occurs in 1833 and these were undoubtedly a precursor of the modern games. They took place at Home Farm in Portree until land was purchased in 1892 at the Meall, or the "Lump", as it is more often referred to. The first Skye Games took place on 6 September 1877 and were linked to the annual Skye Balls held in September. The events are now independent of each other and the Games are a prominent feature of the summer tourist season on Skye, taking place on the first Wednesday in August. Due to recent increases in the number of visitors, certain alterations have had to be made to the retaining wall round the cliffs. A new external walk has been created and this gives good views of Portree harbour and the loch.




Olivia James
The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.
'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan.


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Isle of Skye Pipe Band, Highland Games, Portree

1970s

Drum Majors; drum major; pipe major; pipe band; Pipe Bands; pipe bands; highland games; Highland Games arena; Skye Games

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

Olivia James Collection

The Isle of Skye Pipe Band entertains the crowd at the Highland Games in Portree while one of the athletic competitions continues in the background. Officiating at that event is Colonel Jock Macdonald (left) whose family have been associated with the Games since their inception. Colonel Macdonald was a noted piping judge. On the right is Procurator Fiscal Donald MacMillan. <br /> <br /> The Portree Pipe band was first formed in the late 1920s by Post Master William Watson. In March 1961, having been in abeyance since World War II, it reformed under the title of the Isle of Skye Pipe Band. Fundraising and instruction of young pipers and drummers helped to re-establish and strengthen the band which has played abroad and also for the Queen at the Balmoral Highland Games. During the summer months they can be heard in the main square in Portree.<br /> <br /> Although looking like a natural amphitheatre, the arena used for the Highland Games and other events was mostly created when stone was quarried for building work in Portree, including the Skye Gathering Hall. An early reference to "Lord Macdonald's Games" occurs in 1833 and these were undoubtedly a precursor of the modern games. They took place at Home Farm in Portree until land was purchased in 1892 at the Meall, or the "Lump", as it is more often referred to. The first Skye Games took place on 6 September 1877 and were linked to the annual Skye Balls held in September. The events are now independent of each other and the Games are a prominent feature of the summer tourist season on Skye, taking place on the first Wednesday in August. Due to recent increases in the number of visitors, certain alterations have had to be made to the retaining wall round the cliffs. A new external walk has been created and this gives good views of Portree harbour and the loch.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <b>Olivia James</b><br /> The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.<br /> 'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>