I'm having an easy evening tonight since I didn't have any plans for this evening after the World Pipe Band Championships other than having dinner and starting on the packing. I'm only driving directly to Edinburgh from here, which should take about an hour, and I can't get there too much before 1 PM since check in isn't usually until 2 PM, so I'll probably leave here around 9:30 AM to go pick up my car and that gives me time to finish packing in the morning. Since I'm traveling by car I can just put some things in my handy reusable shopping bags with handles instead of having to stuff everything into my two suitcases as I'll have to do when I fly from Edinburgh to London a week from Monday.
It was grey, cloudy, drizzly and chilly most of today although the wind seems to have died down and the drizzle stopped some time ago.
The walk from here to Glasgow Green was very pleasant, and took me through some parts of town I hadn't been to before, and others I'd been to either on this trip or when I was here five years ago. I've learned that in reality most places are a good bit more hilly than I seem to remember them being, and Glasgow's no exception. The walk to the Green took me downhill to, and then alongside the River Clyde.
I hadn't really noticed yesterday, since the nasty weather took up much of my attention, but the Worlds are an absolutely huge affair both in terms of the number of events going on at the same time and the number of people there, both attending and participating.
Let's start with the number of events. There are competitions for drum majors and drum sections, highland athletic events, and highland dancing (I didn't even look for those two), as well as all the pipe band competitions. For the adult bands, there are four grades, 1-4, and each qualifying band plays a march/strathspey/reel set and a separate medley set. There are also many competitions for the various grades of junior and youth pipe bands.
There were over 230 different pipe bands registered to compete in this year's event, with around four thousand players in all, although not all of them passed their final qualifying round. Dowco Triumph Street pipe band, the one from Vancouver BC I heard yesterday morning in their msr set, didn't make it into the finals. Simon Fraser University, also from BC and a regular at the Portland Highland Games, and the band from New Zealand I heard practicing in the park earlier this week, were two of the eight pipe bands who qualified for today's final event. A couple of the full bands whose quartets I heard at that competition earlier this week also made it into the final 8, including the New Zealand Police pipe band who seem to have won the event.
From where I was sitting in the bleachers right in front of the Grade 1 competitions, for the best of the best, I could see at least three and maybe four other places where events were going on, as well as dozens of other places where bands or musicians were practicing or warming up.
I was quite chilled and during the break between the Grade 1 MSR competition and the Juvenile Grade A competition after a lunch break I wandered around checking out what there was to eat, and also found a place that was selling the very nice plastic rain capes I've been wanting since I first saw the Lochaber schools pipe band in Fort William wearing them when I was here last time. I don't think I ever saw any of the bands at the Portland Highland Games wearing them, which is not surprising since it's usually drier and often a lot warmer than it has been here. I put my cape on and wore it until I got back here to my hotel, not because it was raining since that had stopped but because of the wind which made having an extra wind breaking layer nice.
The adult Grade 1 competition ended at about 5:15 PM. There was going to be a massed bands to end the event but they weren't even going to start gathering until around 6:30 so I decided to just catch a cab for the ride back up hill to my hotel.
I hung out here for an hour or so, and went out around 7:00 to see if I could finally get into the Griffinand couldn't for the same reason as last night. I also wandered a little further down the street to where the Premier Inn Charing Cross is, which is where I had stayed five years ago on the trip I'd won at the Portland Highland Games the previous summer.
I had dinner at a different world buffet this time, another very nice and affordable place, which was also very busy with people who apparently been to this evening's peformance of the "Rocky Horror" musical, which ended its run here tonight.
It's now a bit before 10 PM. I'm going to copy this week's pictures from my camera's memory card over to the laptop and back them up, and also backup this file as well, and that's basically it for tonight.
More tomorrow from Edinburgh.