News :: About Us :: Honours :: Membership :: Gallery :: Links

About Us


Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band was formed in 1910 under the leadership of Pipe Major Dugald MacFarlane, under very humble circumstances indeed in that the band practiced in the kitchen of his home, a room and kitchen in a miner’s row known as a ‘But and Ben’. So conscientious were they that within four years, by hard work and perseverance, they purchased their first uniform of McKenzie tartan and from then on entered for every competition available without success, until in 1929 when Pipe Major Tom McAllister took charge, from whence they went on from one success to another to win the Grade 2 championship in 1935.

Leadership & Achievements

Upgraded to Grade 1 in 1936, they won on their very first appearance the British Championship

and from then onwards, honours came to them hard and fast culminating in the coveted World Championship in 1948 and again in 1952.

Of the records available, Tom gained 50 firsts, 20 seconds, 8 thirds and various other prizes including his major championships which were 5 British, 4 Scottish, 2 Worlds, 3 Cowal and 7 European. He was also chieftain of the Shotts Highland Games in 1981 at the age of 86 and was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to piping. In 1947, Tom along with his three sons John, Willie and Tom Junior won the Quartette piping at the Scottish Pipe Band Association indoor competition in Glasgow.

Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band celebrating another winWith all those achievements to his credit, Pipe Major McAllister retired in 1954 and was succeeded by his son John Kerr MacAllister who ably supported by Drum Major Alex Duthart, added many more prizes to the already long list of successes and to create a record ‘at the time’ by winning the World Championship four years in succession from 1957 to 1960. In 1959, the band won the ‘Grand Slam’; that is Scottish, British, European, Cowal and World Championships, which was the year before the Champion of Champions table was started. In 1963, the band suffered a major blow when a considerable number of its personnel, both pipers and drummers decided to leave. Among these was Alex Duthart, whom everyone knows was partly responsible for the overall success of the band. John supported by Drum Major Willie Stevenson was faced with the task of restoring the band by recruiting young and inexperienced players. Again records are incomplete, but to his credit, John gained 44 firsts, 20 seconds, 11 thirds and various other prizes including the majors of which he had 9 British, 5 Scottish, 4 Worlds, 4 Cowal, 4 European and 4 Champion of Champions. In 1968, Pipe Major John K. MacAllister was forced to resign from the band partly through ill health and partly due to his commitments to the SPBA. He was succeeded by his younger brother Tom McAllister Junior.

Pipe Major Tom McAllister Jnr & Drum Major Alex DuthartIn 1969, Drum Major Stevenson reached the pinnacle of his success by winning the World Championship at Perth. In 1970, he relinquished his position of leading drummer to allow Alex Duthart to take over the corps. The band by this time was back in the winning path and since then have added to their honours with many successes including the 1970, ‘73, ‘74 and 1980 World Championships, this year being the Jubilee year of the RSPBA Tom’s record has been 69 firsts, 50 seconds, 34 thirds and various other prizes including 6 British, 4 Scottish, 4 Worlds, 4 Cowal, 5 Europeans and 4 Champion of Champions. Tom left the band at the end of 1984 due to ill health and his role was ably filled by Pipe Major James A. Bell (Sandy Bell as he is better known) for the following 2 years.

In 1982, Alex Duthart again left the band and his position was taken by Drum Major John Scullion. John won the World Championship in 1984 and left the band in 1986. Drum Major Arthur Cook took the corps for the 1986 season.

At the end of 1986, Pipe Major Robert Mathieson was asked to join the band, which he accepted and brought with him Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick as leading drummer. Both were former members of the band and were hoping to bring back success to the band.

1994 World Pipe Band Championship winnersIn 1987, a Champion of Champions table was started for drumming and since then, the corps has won it on 13 occasions. They also won the World Championship for 11 consecutive seasons, 1988-1998, a record which is unlikely to be beaten. Since Pipe Major Mathieson has been in charge of the band, he has always kept the band in the top 6 of the Champion of Champions table and in 1994, he won his first World Championship, winning both the Medley and March, Strathspey and Reel sections, another first for the band as we were the only band to have achieved this. More World Championship titles followed in 1997, 2000, 2003 & 2005.

In 2010, Pipe Major Robert Mathieson announced his retirement from the leadership of the band. Robert's successor was appointed from within the ranks of the band, when Gavin Walker was appointed by the band as Pipe Major.


The name of Shotts & Dykehead Caledonia Pipe Band is synonymous with pipe band excellence and treated with the greatest respect by all in the piping fraternity throughout the world. They have competed and performed in Canada, U.S.A., Sweden, Germany, France, Belgium and even the

U.S.S.R. all with distinction and pride as ambassadors for Shotts, Scotland and the United Kingdom and are classed as one of the finest ensembles of pipes and drums in the world.

The band's competition uniform consists of navy blue jackets and waistcoats and the MacLean of Duart tartan and our Glengarries bare the MacLean clan crest and motto 'Virtue Mine Honour', while we also retain traditional highland dress for more formal occasions and engagements.

The band boasts a wide and varied membership, including top female players as well as male. Band members come from various walks of life to play regularly side by side. Youth is given a chance to blossom, with the younger players gaining valuable experience by playing alongside some of the ‘older’, longer serving members of the band.

Although the membership of the band is mostly Scottish, the band has over the years attracted players from abroad from places like Australia, Canada, Ireland and South Africa; indeed, the band has American, Canadian, Danish, Irish & French players in the ranks who play beside some of the band’s other ‘travellers’ from all over Scotland as well as the more local members.

The band has had the good fortune to have appeared on television both at home and abroad. The band has appeared on BBC ‘Hogmanay Live' show and on a special broadcast of the band’s concert in Ballymena in the BBC Northern Ireland area. The drum corps has perhaps seen a more varied exposure to the spotlight of television, appearing on both ‘Bruce Forsyth’s Generation Game’ and ‘Jim Davidson’s Generation Game’ on BBC TV at home, ‘The Kelly Show’ on Ulster TV and ‘Tinika’ on RTL4 in the Netherlands, which had a primetime European wide audience on both satellite and cable television.

Sponsorship & The Future

In 2003, the band announced a sponsorship deal with tartan mill The House of Edgar. Part of the corporate strategy of the sponsorship involves the incorporation of the sponsors' name with our own. As such, the band is now known as The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band. The band also wears a re-make of the McLean of Duart tartan especially commissioned by The House of Edgar.

This sponsorship by Scotland's most prominent tartan manufacturers is sure to guarantee the security of the bands competitive status for many years ahead.

With such a great range of talent and experience at it’s disposal as shown here, The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band is continuing it’s success well into the 21st century and tackling the challenges of the new millennium under the reliable and accomplished partnership of Pipe Major Gavin Walker and Drum Major Jim Kilpatrick MBE.

Contact Us Copyright
© The House of Edgar Shotts & Dykehead Pipe Band - Shotts, Scotland


News :: About Us :: Honours :: Membership :: Gallery :: Links