Well, here we are again, at the end of another year…a year not without its challenges! We did a few online ‘gigs’ from home, for Burns’ Night, St Valentine’s Day and St Patrick’s Day. The one planned for April, in commemoration of the Battle of Culloden, had to be cancelled, due to Kathryn unexpectedly being taken into hospital to have a pacemaker fitted! Six weeks of recuperation followed and by the end of May we were out of lockdown and had pupils back at the house for lessons, albeit with appropriate safety measures in place. Milo the collie was delighted to revert to his role as official ‘meeter and greeter’.

Neil did a couple of piping jobs for Primal Adventures, including one on the Isle of Arran. He always has a great day out with Matt and the Primal team. The annual Falkirk Tryst Festival was held entirely online and we made a couple of appearances. We enjoyed a holiday in Northumberland in June, with an unexpected heatwave! It was good to visit some of our favourite places along the coast near Seahouses.

In September, Neil started the Piping 100 Challenge, where he set himself the task of piping and recording a different tune each day, for 100 days. Kathryn became videographer for the task and we had fun finding suitable locations to fit the tunes. Milo enjoyed being out and about as well – he seems to know that when the pipes are out, he has to behave. Well, most of the time…We spent a week on the Isle of Mull, our first time holidaying there, and we continued with the Piping 100 on the island. Scenic locations abound on Mull so we were spoiled for choice. It was a big commitment, but it was worth the effort as we received many positive comments on Facebook and YouTube about the videos, and we also hit our target of 10,000 YouTube subscribers! This meant that we could set up a merchandise ‘shelf’ on our channel and design clothing, mugs etc which people can buy with various Falkirk Piping images etc printed on them.

In the run up to Christmas, we felt that as Glenbervie Folk Duo hadn’t had much of an airing in 2021, (other than playing at Bannockburn House’s Christmas Fayre), we would do an Advent Series and post a different Christmas tune each day from 1st-24th December. This proved to be something of a challenge, as we only had around 12 tunes in our existing festive repertoire! Some new arrangements and a bit of practising had to be done to enable us to have 24 tunes to record. It was great fun and we really appreciate all the comments we received from folk all around the world as a result of this.

Neil continues to receive requests from people wanting lessons, but as he is more or less at capacity, they are usually passed on to the other teachers that we know. Please note that we have decided to increase the prices for lessons, beginning from 3rd January 2022, to £15 for 30 mins and £25 for 1 hour. The website will be updated in the new year.

As we are still under some Covid restrictions, and will be for a few weeks yet, we are planning an online Burns’ presentation for 2022. This will consist of poems and tunes, set to photos or recorded on location (mainly places in our local area which Burns is known to have visited), as well as a traditional Address to the Haggis. Look out for it appearing on YouTube and Facebook on the 22nd January, all being well! As to any live gigs that might take place next year, well…we’ll just have to wait and see.

We’d like to wish you all a safe and happy Hogmanay, and every good thing for 2022.

Kathryn & Neil (and Milo!)