A miner, born in Backworth in 1865, Mowat won the Northumbrian Smallpipes Society's piping competitions for three successive years 1894-6, and was subsequently barred from competitions. That society was short-lived, between 1893 and about 1899. In this period it awarded two pipers its Gold Medal; one was Mowat, and the other was Henry Clough. There are several photographs of him in the Cocks Collection; these can be viewed at,
Mowat, like Tom Clough, had studied the pipes with Thomas Todd, but he had a very different style from the Cloughs' close-fingered playing. He had, contrastingly, an unusual fingering style, occasionally lifting several fingers at a time, and sometimes his entire right hand, particularly on long notes in slow airs, such as Roslin Castle. He was evidently not penalised in competitions for this, as he would be today.
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