Shotts and Dykehead Pipe Band

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Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band
Established 1910
Location North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Grade 1
Pipe Major Ryan Canning.
Drum Sergeant Jim Kilpatrick MBE
Tartan MacLean of Duart
Notable Honours Winner, World Pipe Band Championships: 1948, 1952, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1970, 1973, 1974, 1980, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005
Website [1]

The Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band or simply "Shotts", is a grade one pipe band from Shotts, in the North Lanarkshire region of Scotland. The band has consistently been a championship calibre grade one band since the 1940s, having won the World Pipe Band Championships fifteen times.


The Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band was formed in 1910 by Pipe Major Dugald MacFarlane, initially practicing in his kitchen. For the next four years, dedicated fundraising efforts allowed the band to purchase its first uniform with kilts of the McKenzie tartan. Entering many competitions between 1914 and 1929 left the band ultimately unsuccessful, until Pipe Major Tom McAllister took the lead role.

Seemingly moving from success to success, the band went through a five year rebuilding period and claimed the grade two title in 1935. This earned their promotion to grade one, and after winning in their inaugural appearance in the British Championship, a decade of fierce competition led to Shotts and Dykehead winning the World's grade one title in 1948.

After leading another victory in 1952, McAllister retired in 1954 before his 60th birthday, passing the position to his son, John Kerr MacAllister. With combined efforts from Drum Major Alex Duthart, the band went on to win four consecutive world titles, from 1957 to 1960, in addition to winning the 'grand slam' - Scottish, British, European and Cowal championships - all in 1959.

The band went into a decline and rebuilding period for the next decade, many members leaving in 1963 including Drum Major Duthart. Tom MacAllister Snr. fought on, with new Drum Major Willie Stevenson and oversaw the task of recruiting and training younger players until 1968. Unsurprisingly, the McAllister tradition was survived by younger brother Tom McAllister Junior. A year later, after winning the world drum major titles, Drum Major Stevenson relinquished his role to a returning Alex Duthart.

The following decade marked much success for Shotts and Dykehead, winning the world championships in 1970, 1973, 1974 and 1980, a tribute to the reconstruction efforts of the previous band leaders. Unfortunately, once again the following decade was one of instability resulting in a number of leadership changes. In 1982 Duthart again left the band, superseded by Drum Major John Scullion who remained until 1986, when Drum Major Arthur Cook was left to lead the 1986 season. In 1984, the McAllister legacy was ended, as Tom Junior fell ill, to be superseded by James A. 'Sandy' Bell.

Whilst there were personnel changes throughout the eighties, this was far from an unsuccessful decade for the band. 1984 in particular was notable for two reasons. Firstly a very serious illness for Tom McAllister just prior to the opening of the season. Tom rallied from this in typical fashion and led the band to an incredible string of successes that saw them win the British, European and Scottish Championships as well as a string of first places in other competitions. After the summer break the band took first place at Bridge of Allan before finishing in second place the following week at the World Championships in Glasgow. In spite of failing to win the Worlds, Tom gathered the band around him after the rehearsal on the Monday night following the Worlds and described the performance as the best he had ever taken part in throughout his thirty years of playing with the band.

Before the 1987 season began, Pipe Major Robert Mathieson and Drum Sergeant Jim Kilpatrick (MBE), both past members of the band, took the leading roles, asserting their desire to return the band to its former glory. Success soon followed with world championship wins in 1994, 1997, and 2000. Following the band's 2002 season a sponsorship deal was minted with tartan mill The House of Edgar, resulting in a change of band name to The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band. With secure funding and a new set of uniform, the band has gone on to conquer the 2003, and 2005 world championships.

The band reached its centenary year in 2010 and celebrated with an exhibition at the College of Piping in Glasgow. Just over one week before the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships, Pipe Major Mathieson announced he was to stand down from the position of Pipe Major. Gavin Walker, a former Pipe Sergeant of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band was immediately announced as Mathieson's successor and led the band thereafter, with Pipe Major Robert Mathieson leading the band for a final time in competition in the Medley leg of the grade one final at the 2010 World Pipe Band Championships.

Following the unexpected resignation of Gavin Walker just prior to the 2012 World Championships, Ryan Canning has been appointed as the new pipe major of the band. The band did not, however, compete in the World Championships that year, partially due to the suspension[1] of Drum Sergeant, Jim Kilpatrick.

In 2013, the band announced the end of its decade long sponsorship from The House of Edgar and the name reverted to Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band.[2]


  1. ^ RSPBA suspends Kilpatrick, pipes|drums
  2. ^ Shotts ends 10-year spnsorship deal

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