The Royal Scots Cap Badge


Battle Of The Pass Of Crieff


The name, Battle of the Pass of Crieff, seems to overstate what may have been a relatively minor local skirmish


Other than the vigorous jostling of cattle drovers fighting for the best grazing ground, there is no known link between this piobaireachd and a battle at the pass of Crieff. However, one can speculate that the inspiration for this fine piobaireachd was a skirmish, circa 1730, between excisemen and a gang of freebooters but there is no hard evidence to support that view.


Just as there was no battle of armies, there also is no pass at Crieff except for passing across an imaginary line from the Highlands into the land of the southerner, or sassenach as a Gael would have it.


There was once a battle at or near Crieff, but well back in time &ndash circa 962 A.D. Who fought who is unknown but they could have been rival Thanes struggling for power. At that early age, the Great Gaelic Pipe would not have been dreamed of and ceol mor not even a gleam on the horizon of time. So, it would seem that this very fine piobaireachd arose from a much later local incident, the connection to which has since faded from the collective memory.


Another version about the origin of the tune has it that it was composed by a Rankin as a Ioram, or rowing tune. The Rankins were hereditary pipers to MacLean of Coll, an island off the west coast of Mull. It was and is not unheard of for a composer to re-dress an older tune in new colours and give it a distinctive name. But, if that applies to this tune, the question arises as to which came first – Rankin's Ioram? or this fine piobaireachd by an unknown composer?


Make up your own mind about the tune as you listen to, and hopefully enjoy, a piper's interpretation.


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