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Keelie skirl of the pipes

IN the eyes - and ears - of the world nothing evokes Scotland more than the sights and sounds of the pipes and drums.

The massed pipe band stirs the soul of many across the globe, as Glasgow will again discover in August.

The launch yesterday of the Piping Live! Glasgow International Piping Festival and World Pipe Band Championships, which will run in tandem in the city, is good news for more than just devotees of our national instrument. It is estimated that festival and The Worlds, as they are known in piping circles, will attract 50,000 spectators to the city. They, plus the 8000 pipers and drummers from 150 countries, are expected to bring around £10 million into the city's coffers.

Although the pipes may be intrinsically Scottish, in recent years the World Championship has departed these shores with perhaps surprising regularity - the Grade One title has travelled to Canada, Northern Ireland, Australia and the Republic of Ireland, and there has not been a Scottish winner since 2005. This year the Field Marshal Montgomery Pipe Band, based in Lisburn, Country Antrim, will be seeking their 10th title.

Competition will again be keen - but Glasgow will once more be the winner.

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