There is no doubt about it, when it comes to warmth and that comfortable easy going way, then the folk of Sutherland have it.
Last weekend Piper on Parade was privileged to pipe at weddings in the far North. Spending Saturday in Sutherland and Sunday in Caithness, the two days were just magic! (there will be a Caithness update soon, I promise.)
The Piper set off mid-morning, making his way North and as he did so the weather eased to find Dornoch bathed in bright sunshine. The town was bustling with people, both local and visitor, and there was a lovely atmosphere around the Cathedral. It was going to be a good day to play the Great Highland Bagpipe.
Now as Cathedrals go, Dornoch Cathedral is not the biggest, nor is it the grandest, but what it may lack on that front it more than makes up for with cosiness and warmth, yes cosiness and warmth! For such a large and cavernous building, with sand stone pointed interiors you may think that it would lend itself to a feeling of gloominess or chill, but there is none of that. The glowing sand stone was the epitome of the Sutherland folk themselves warm and welcoming.
I reacquainted myself with the layout and decided on this occasion that I would play the brides entrance from the very centre, or cross of the cathedral. This too would assist the organist with the playing of the tune as in Dornoch Cathedral the organist always accompanies the Piper. The two instruments blending together makes for a wonderful sound, which echo’s around the ancient stone walls and beyond.
Now the only tune Piper on Parade could play on such an occasion would be; ‘Highland Cathedral’.
The Highland Piper kept the tempo that little bit ‘up’ as this was a bridal entrance, not a hymn singing, and having eye contact with the organist made for stopping at the appropriate moment that bit slicker.
After the ceremony The Scottish Piper gave a rendition of The Flower of Scotland which saw the bride and groom glide down the aisle in readiness to greet their guests at the cathedral entrance. It fair got the hairs on the back of the neck standing on end!
Following some pictures on Dornoch Beach, the party set of for the Royal Marine Hotel, Brora, where Piper on Parade having greeted the happy couple with Heilan’ Laddie and Scotland the Brave played them to their wedding cake for the cutting and then to their seats for dinner. What better than The Mucking o’ Geordies Byre and The Atholl Highlanders to get their guests on their feet, stamping and clapping.
It had been a great day in Sutherland, and that little bit special on a personal note being Piper on Parades home county!
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