Bagpiper of the year competition 2018

man playing wind instrument
Photo by Brett Sayles on

Self Taught

I was an auto-didact.  I learnt everything myself.  I couldn’t  learn in school.

“That’s because your’e not capable.” said the internalised voice of my mother.

I proved her wrong. I proved them all wrong.

Sometimes you gain prominence because of a fluke.

Then you work hard to maintain your position.

Because of your prominence people may think that you are more talented than you are.

Really you’re no better than they are – you just took advantage of a lucky break.

I didn’t have the proper qualifications,so  I couldn’t really get a full-time gig as a cameraman.

I worked hard at it, learning all I could.

It was all about being ready – if one guy didn’t turn up, I always made sure I was available.

The Competition

I’ve always been a big fan of the bagpipes. I never missed the bagpiper of the year.

I always took my camera kit with me. I learnt so much just watching and listening to the bagpipes. Finding the best way to film them. Finding my angles, improving my focus.

This particular year was held at the phoenix golf course in Arizona.

All the professional cameramen knew me, they usually laughed at me and put me down.


The night before -I got the call from the head of the competition, Toots McHoots.

The flight from Scotland had been delayed by the weather -Toots told me. The camera guys couldn’t make it.

Toots said he had called every freelance camera guy in America. After they stopped laughing as nobody believed there was a competition. They turned him down.

I said I’d be there. Toots didn’t know I was there already.

“Don’t let the pipers down.” Toots said to me.

This was my time to shine.

I got there early. I sat  at one of the tables  outside the bar. A perfect position.

I wasn’t going to drink but the waitress came up and asked. I didn’t want to disappoint anybody.

I ordered a vodka martini. With an extra one on the side.


They say it takes 10,000 hours to master your field.

This was my moment of mastery.


Those cameramen were still stuck in Scotland while I was fulfilling my life-long dream.

Drinking vodka martini as the official cameraman at the Bagpipe of the Year competition 2018.

Who’s laughing now?


Tim Willow

Next years event is in August 2019

I have started drinking early just to make sure I’m ready.

Next Friday is Burns night. The birthday of the celebrated Scottish poet Rabbie Burns.

If only God the gift to gie us, to see ourselves as others see us.

Rabbie Burns



19 thoughts on “Bagpiper of the year competition 2018

  1. Boo Urns! BOO URNS! YAAAAYYY!!!@!!
    A masterpiece of theatre, fellow minnow. With skills of such great narration, you shall surely be a leader – what intarnation, ‘eckle berry sin?! A beacon of (strobe) light for our nation.

    Liked by 1 person

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