The Pipe Majors

Pipe Major William Bremner – 1883 to 1890
Pipe Major Walter Drysdale – 1890 to 1898
Pipe Major Alexander Hutcheon – 1898 to 1913
Pipe Major William Gray – 1913 to 1932
Pipe Major John MacDonald – 1932 to 1958
Pipe Major Angus MacDonald – 1958 to 1966
Pipe Major Ronald Lawrie – 1966 to 1972
Pipe Major lan McLellan B.E.M. – 1972 to 1992
Pipe Major Harry McAleer – 1992 to 1997
Pipe Major Ian Plunkett – 1997 to 2001
Pipe Major James Wark – 2001 to 2004
Pipe Major Donald Mackay – 2004 to 2008
Pipe Major Don Bradford – 2008 to 2010
Pipe Major Duncan Nicholson 2010 – 2015
Pipe Major Iain MacPherson 2015 – present

Duncan Nicholson

Brought up in the West Highland village of Mallaig, Duncan’s father Donald started teaching him piping at the age of eight.

Thereafter he went for tuition to P/M Evan MacRae in Fort William. P/M Evan MacRae used to run the Lochaber Schools Pipe Band along with Alec MacDonald who was an ex Gordon Highlander. This was Duncan’s first experience of playing in a pipe band.

He then started playing with folk bands and eventually after a year at music college joined the folk group the Tannahill Weavers where, for 5 years, music was a full time occupation. During this time he recorded many albums including “Leaving St Kilda” and “Alchemy”.

In 2001, at the age of 28, he took the path of finding a real job (as they say) and joined Strathclyde Police.

Having played under the leadership of Ian Plunkett, Jimmy Wark, Donald MacKay and Don Bradford he became Pipe Sergeant of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band in 2008 and Pipe Major in 2010.

Despite being a full time constable with Police Scotland and Pipe Major of the band, Duncan still found time to play with successful folk bands Skipinnish, Vatersay Boy’s and Skerryvore.

Along with Ian MacPherson Duncan tried to implement a west coast style of music into their repertoire, heavily influenced by the gaelic tradition.

Pipe Major lan McLellan B.E.M. – 1972 to 1992

This is a segment from an interview by Pipers Persuasion of Jim Wark talking about Pipe Major Ian MacLellan, former PM of Strathclyde Police Pipe Band. To see the full interview and other interviews with some of the most influential piping and drumming personalities of the modern era, visit