Friday, June 13, 2008

This Just in from the BBC

Bag-Pipers - The Iconic Symbols of Scotland

The Scottish Government has announced that bag-pipers will now be banned from the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, the most famous street in the most famous city in Scotland! They are threatened to be arrested for antisocial behaviour if they return. Police have asked the pipers to sign "Acceptable Behaviour Contracts" promising to stop playing their pipes in Castlehill and Lawnmarket. They face arrest and having their instruments seized if they return, and persistent offenders will be hit with an Asbo.

Now wait just a minute. How can that be? You go to Scotland and expect to hear bag-pipes. Right?

The move comes after officers were forced to deal with up to 20 complaints a day about noise nuisance in the last year, and gathered the names and addresses of the offending pipers. They then posted out contracts last month to around 20 of them, all of which were returned signed. Complaints at the top of the Mile immediately ceased, but some pipers simply moved into High Street and Tron Square.

City Centre Sector Inspector Bruce Johnston said the ban would now be extended."These pipers are regarded as unlicensed trade and are technically buskers. Most of the pipers do not reside in the city centre and they are receiving quite large sums of money from what they are doing.
A spokesman for International Newsagents said most of their staff had become "immune" to noise by now. He added: "It's a tourist area and people come to Scotland expecting to hear the bagpipers play."

Bag pipes were once outlawed for being used as seditious weapons of war. Now, bagpipes have been blasted as an environmental menace, not just because of the noise. The pipes are made from a rare African wood. Over-intensive logging means that the wood used to make Scotland's national instrument faces being wiped out. Conservation groups are letting out skirls of protest, urging musicians and instrument manufacturers to make sure their pipes come from eco-friendly sources.

The Royal Mile at Dusk

As the name suggests, the Royal Mile is approximately one Scottish mile long, and runs between two foci of history in Scotland, from Edinburgh Castle at the top of the Castle Rock down to Holyrood Abbey. It is said to be referred to by locals as "High Street", but properly, this is the name of only one stretch. The streets which make up the Royal Mile are (west to east) Castle Esplanade, Castlehill, Lawnmarket, High Street, Canongate and Abbey Strand.

Edinburgh Castle

This news from Scotland was of interest to me because the Utah Highland Games and Scottish Festival will be held tomorrow (June 13, 2008) at Thanksgiving Point in Lehi--a chance to hear bag pipes all day long, plus eat haggis, see Highland games, watch josting and clogging--all while enjoying the Scottish customs and culture.

Local Pipe Band

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