This competition was first held in Stornoway In April 1994. It was organised by the Lewis and Harris Piping Society to commemorate the life and work of one of the 20th century’s most famous pipers. Donald MacLeod was born in Stornoway in 1916 and died in Glasgow in 1982 aged 66. He spent a large part of his life in the Army, and his escapades in the Second World War are well documented in Military History.

He was a world class player, and won all the top awards, some many times over, including eight clasps to the Gold Medal for Piobaireachd at the Northern Meetings in Inverness. He was an expert and highly respected teacher, and his services as a tutor were much in demand all over the world. But it was as a composer that Donald MacLeod created his own legacy. His compositions cover the whole range of pipe music, and show a remarkable inventiveness and originality. Wherever pipes are played in the world, Donald MacLeod tunes will be heard.

For the initial competition in 1994 , the committee of the LHPS decided to invite eight of the best pipers of the day to Stornoway , and play a selection of MacLeod’s tunes, and some of their own choice, in front of an expert bench. The competition was so successful that it became an annual event, and nearly three decades on is now a highly regarded prestigious event in the piping calendar in Scotland.

The committee have been fortunate in attracting sponsorship from a variety of organisations, and private individuals, over the years, to enable them to continue to hold the competition in Donald MacLeod’s home town of Stornoway, where it should be held.

Since 2012 the Gordon Duncan Trust have made a very significant annual donation to the funds for the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, and the committee are deeply appreciative of the Trust’s support.

The next competition will be held in The Caladh Hotel Stornoway on Friday 3rd April 2020, and we look forward to welcoming Ian and Chris Duncan once again.

The 2019 winners
The 2019 winner, Finlay Johnson and the runner up, Stuart Liddell at the Donald MacLeod Memorial Competition, held in Stornoway, run by the Lewis & Harris Piping Society
Submitted by: Dr John Smith, Chairman , Lewis and Harris Piping Society.
Year of award:  2019