Pipers make their annual pilgrimage to Whitley Bay

Northumbrian Pipers during their stay in Whitley Bay.

A group of musicians have made their annual pilgrimage to Whitley Bay.

Every year in October, Northumbria School of English opens its doors to musicians in half-term to participate in workshops to develop their skills on the Northumbrian pipes.

For the past 10 years, around 30 people a year have descended on Whitley Bay.

The popular programme has been developed by Susan and Malcolm Craven, of Northumbrians and Pipers, attracting participants from America, Canada, Germany, France, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong.

This year saw workshops delivered by top pipers, including Pauline Cato, Chris Evans, Andy May, Chris Ormston, Alice Robinson, and Andy and Margaret Watchorn. The course, for all levels of ability, includes workshops, social occasions and the chance to promote cultural heritage.

The Tuesday concert this year featured fiddler Roddy Maxwell, whose father was piper to the Duke of Northumberland.

The Monday evening talk was given by Richard Heard, whose research into the role played by North Shields pipers and pipe-makers has revealed the importance played by North Tyneside piping personalities in keeping this important local musical tradition alive.

This year, an additional celebration was the tenth anniversary party held at North Shields Rugby Club.

Anyone interested in joining next year’s course, or in taking up the Northumbrian pipes, should contact Christine at Northumbria School of English on (0191) 252 5265 or Susan and Malcolm Craven at Northumbrians and Pipers on 01670 761872.

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