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Stromness RBL Pipe Band

Established 1980

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Pipe Major Mark Wemyss

Mark Wemyss (originally from Dingwall) was initially taught the bagpipes by Pipe Major Andrew Venters at Dingwall Academy. Pipe Major Paul Harrison at Dingwall RBL was also a major influence on his early piping career as were Finlay MacRae and William MacDonald (Benbecula). Mark joined Stromness after a chance holiday in Orkney. He stayed in touch with many of the Stromness members and frequently travelled to the Island to play with the band. Mark then moved to Orkney in 2001 and has stayed permanently in Northern Isles since.

As a junior competing pipe numerous top solo prizes were gained including the Under 18 Northern Meetings March Strathspey and Reel, Royal British Legion Junior National Championship (twice), Territorial Army Under 21 Championship, as well as competing successfully in the Grades 3 and 2 bands: Dingwall RBL, Dornoch and Ben Wyvis Inverness.

In Senior competitions Mark started off young and was runner up in the All Ireland Solos (Senior Grade) aged only 17. At 18 he then went on to win the B Grade Strathspey and Reel at Oban and 2nd in the B Grade March at the Northern Meetings, allowing entry to the A Grade at these events after just one year. Various senior Highland Games and other titles followed over the years and in 2009 Mark won the RSPBA North of Scotland Branch Championships. However entry in competition has been less after enrolling on what Mark describes as an “never ending University career!”. Mark is currently completing a PhD and is looking forward to undertaking more Solo Competitions in the future.

While at University in Edinburgh Mark played with Scottish Gas Caledonia Pipe Band and since 2007 has also guest played with Manawatu Scottish Pipe Band (New Zealand), having played in three Grade 1 World Championship Finals and winning the 2008 Grade 1 New Zealand National Title. Mark also guest played with Tayside Police during their 2008 Grade 1 campaign.

Date Joined Stromness RBL: 1997
Previous Bands: Black Isle Junior, Ross Sutherland Music Group, Dingwall RBL, Dornoch, Ben Wyvis Inverness, Scottish Gas, Tayside Police
Current Guest Band: Manawatu Scottish (New Zealand)

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