At  1pm on Friday 9th July 2021 on Broad Street, Kirkwall Orkney Islands Council are conferring the “Freedom of Orkney” on the Royal Navy’s Northern Diving Group in recognition of their on-going commitment to the annual survey of HMS Royal Oak war grave in the waters of Scapa Flow and the resetting of a RN Ensign onto the wreck.  Also their regular visits to Orkney for the disposal of old ordnance and dangerous objects from the shore line.  The ceremony will commence at 12.45pm. Following the official handing over of the “Freedom Scroll” the NDG and RM Band will take part in a traditional march through the town with Drums beating, Flags flying and “Bayonets fixed” displaying the scroll on a cushion for all the townsfolk to see and recognize.  

On the evening of Thursday 8th July 2021 at 6.30pm the NDG accompanied by the Band of the Royal Marines will perform the ceremony of “Beating Retreat” at Stromness Academy (car park). The ceremony will be preceded by our very own Stromness RBL Pipe Band. The Pipe band will perform a short programme 10-15 mins in the lead up to the ceremony itself.

This is a public event but spectators should adhere to the Covid restrictions of social distancing and face covering where appropriate.

Dating back to Roman times Martial organizations that are granted the privilege of The Freedom of a City are allowed to march through the streets with their weapons unsheathed. In modern times this is known as Bayonets Fixed.  This is to say that the bayonet is fixed to the muzzle of a rifle as in prepared for use.

The Way Ahead in 2021

  • News
  • 2 months ago
  • Ian MacDonald

Here we are in the Month of May 2021 we have not been able to practice or play pipes and drums as a full band since March 2020. As we move through this month we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel with a lifting of restrictions in Orkney to level 1 on Monday 17th May However we have not been advised that any piping practice can restart on that date. In fact I believe we are to remain at the same level as the whole of Scotland until we are given the green light by the government to return to piping and drumming. Ongoing I also understand that the whole country will go to level 0 at sometime towards the end of June at which time surely some form of practice and street parades can return.

In Orkney as with a lot of places, most, if not all of the main annual events have already been cancelled in their normal form but some are proceeding on a virtual basis. We as a band do not have any bookings. We will be announcing some self organised street parades and any offers that we receive once we can get back together and form a plan.

Pipers are already taking their pipes out of the box, for some it has been a long time since they have seen the light of day. Drummers are looking for their drum pads and hoping the family haven’t used them as teapot stands.

Practices will start as soon as we are allowed and hopefully get a full band out as soon as possible. Until then we won’t hold our breath we will use it to blow the dust out of that pipe bag and the drummers will be giving their drum pads a lot of stick.

We were going to hold a short parade and remembrance ceremony in Stromness on Sunday 8th November followed on Wednesday 11th with a gathering for the 2 mins silence at 1100. Unfortunately new Covid regulations came into force today. Although they do not restrict private citizens paying respect at the War Memorial a dictate from the Scottish Government has been sent to the OIC instructing them to cancel all Legion Parades.

The band members are keeping in touch by social media, practicing and carrying out instrument maintenance. Yes? there is an upside.

No official cancellation yet, watch out for further information–Sunday April 26th 2020. 10.30am The Stromness RBL Pipe Band will lead the parade of all Orkney BB sections from the Finstown Hall to the Kirk and return following the Enrolment service. This is an annual event where the BB’s renew their vows

Who’s up for a wee bit o’ Burns.

  • News
  • 1 year ago
  • Ian MacDonald

We are approaching that time of year when Scots around the world brace themselves for a large dose of Robbie Burn’s. This year on Saturday 25th Jan the band will be at the Standing Stones Hotel to celebrate the Bard’s life, poetry and songs, with a wee bit o’ the Great Chieftain O’ the pudd’n race and a drop of the amber liquid. (senior members only?) All in aid of fund raising for the Stenness School’s older pupils trip to Nethlybridge. This had become an annual event, not to be missed. Enjoy a bit of Burn’s culture and a Haggis meal followed by a ceilidh dance.

Santa Claus is coming to town

  • News
  • 2 years ago
  • Ian MacDonald

The Stromness Pipe Band met Santa and his Elves, Pixies and helpers today Saturday 14th December 2019 as they came off the Stromness RNLI lifeboat and escort them all through the town and up into his Grotto at the Community Centre. Lots of young folk entered the Grotto and wandered through the wonderland of Disney and other cartoon characters before meeting Santa himself. Hot/cold Drinks and super hot mince pies were available after visiting Santa and the members of the pipe band.

Remembrance Sunday and Armistice day

  • News
  • 2 years ago
  • Ian MacDonald

It is coming around to that time of year when we remember the dead of all wars but particularly the First and Second World Wars of last century. This year once again the Stromness RBL Pipe Band will lead the Royal British Legion (Stromness) Branch commemorations. A parade and service will take place on Remembrance Sunday 10th November starting from the Town House to the church at 10.30 am where a service of remembrance will take place. This will be followed at approx 12 pm by a parade out to the war memorial along the main street. Laying of wreaths by the various organisations during the playing of the lament on the pipes will be followed by the Last Post and 2 mins silence and prays. The whole parade will then return via the main street back to the Town House.

On Armistice day Monday 11th Nov, time to be announced Stromness Academy pupils will be conducting their own Remembrance Service at the War Memorial. The Stromness RBL Pipe Band will lead the pupils down from the Academy pausing at the Primary school for Legion, Royal Naval Association and other services standard bearers to join the front of the parade before continuing to the War Memorial. The service will be conducted by the pupils and a wreath will be laid. On completion of the service the parade will return to the Academy.

The Vikings are coming

  • News
  • 2 years ago
  • Ian MacDonald

We have been asked to take part by leading a Viking style Fire Festival fun weekend entitled Orkoberfest on a theme similar to the German Octoberfest except this will be Viking orientated. A Jarl squad from Shetland South Mainland will be visiting to take part . The Fire Festival will take place on Saturday 26th October 2019. Leading off from in front of the Town House to Ness at 5pm. followed by a bonfire. I’m sure more info can be gathered from the media.

Shopping Week 2019

Story and Photo taken before the fancy dress parade.

Members of the band before we set off for the fancy dress parade. Fantastic weather for the fancy dress carnival.

On Monday 22nd July the band played a selection of tunes at the pier head before the arrival of the Shopping Week Queen at 1100. As the Queen and her attendants were escorted up the pier from the Lifeboat they were lead by Pipe Major Mark Weir. There followed the opening ceremony. The band then lead the horse carriage carrying the queen and party through the streets of Stromness. During the afternoon the band played a selections of tunes at St Peter’s House, the old folks home.

On Thursday afternoon 2 members of the band attended the sheltered housing at Rae’s Close whilst the Shopping Week Queen and party distributed fruit and flowers to the residents. Just a few tunes and then a well earned cup of tea with some cake.

Friday evening saw the whole band on the street at the stage area for a parade as part of the entertainment before the three legged beer race??? At which the band do not take part.

Saturday evening as a climax to the week the band leads the very large, very load but very funny fancy dress and floats carnival. the Carnival wends it’s way from the south end of the town through the narrow streets to the north end and finishes on the football pitch. This takes a couple of hours before the prize giving takes place and the week comes to and end with fireworks and a street dance until 1am.