SWSPDA's purpose is straightforward. We aim to raise the standard of, to increase participation in, and to raise enthusiasm for piping and drumming in the South West of Scotland. We will work with pipe bands and schools and directly with individuals giving bagpipe lessons. We will draw on the entire piping and drumming community to find the best tuition for those in our region who wish to make their music the best it can be.


The kinds of things the music institute can do include organising tutoring workshops and our summer school, encouraging and supporting tuition in schools and arranging performances and events. In future, as funds allow, the Academy aims to provide financial assistance such as scholarships, bursaries and travel grants.


We are also exploring the use of Skype as a teaching medium for bagpipe lessons and drumming lessons.


In addition, the Academy seeks to bring the region’s piping community  together by providing a communications forum and network for pipers and drummers and pipe band leaders.

The SWSPDA as an organisation consists of a Strategic Board of all Trustees to which a Management Board reports. The Management Board is in charge of the day-to day running of the Academy and consists of the Chair, the Vice-Chair and the Leaders of each of five Working Groups - 'Administration', ‘Tutoring’, ‘Schools’, 'Summer School’ and ‘Social Media’.



Andy McCartney


Andy began chanter lessons at the age of eight. When he was was ten he was in Garlieston & Sorbie Boys and Girls Pipe Band under the leadership of Drew Galbraith and Geordie Kelly then ex Army Pipe Major Wullie McGibney. Andy progressed to playing with Wigtown Pipe Band and when he was fourteen he was playing with Newton Stewart British Legion Pipe Band under Pipe Major McConnell. Andy has played with Kirkcudbright & District Pipe Band for many years. He was their chairman for eighteen years until October 2013.

Fiona Morton

Admin and Treasurer

Fiona has no particular background in piping and drumming, but is learning fast! She is a qualified SAGE Bookkeeper, has a background in banking and has been involved in Administration for most of her working life.

Bob Lee

Vice Chairman

Bob Lee became interested in piping through his wife’s family’s long standing sponsorship of the Glenfiddich Piping Championship. Bob is a member of the William Grant Foundation group which supports ‘The Unique Culture &

Heritage of Scotland


Walter Cowan

Trustee & Tutor

Walter played with Annan Ex-Service Club Pipe Band for 51 years He was Pipe Major for 29 years taking the band from grade 4 to grade 1. Walter served with the 8th Argylls under PM Ronnie McCallum for 4 years. He has featured in the prize lists at all the major solo piping competitions and is now a senior judge with the Solo Piping Judges Association.


Jennifer Cranmer

Parents’ Representative

Jennifer Cranmer is from Nova Scotia in eastern Canada and settled in Dumfries in 2006 with her husband and daughter. Jennifer is currently secretary of Dumfries Pipe Band, having become involved in piping when her daughter took up the Bagpipes at the age of 9.

Andrew Williamson

Trustee & Piping Tutor

Having worked in the oil industry for twenty years, Andy retired and returned to his roots in Upper Nithsdale, and founded the Upper Nithsdale Youth Pipe Band, with the aim of re-establishing piping  among the young people of the area. The band has been successfully operating since 2006


Iain McDonald

Legal Adviser

Iain McDonald is a solicitor in Castle Douglas with no piping background but is enthusiastic about supporting community organizations. He is a member of several.

Alan MacMillan

Trustee & Tutor

Allan began his piping career in a local Boys' Brigade band in Falkirk at the age of 12 and went on from there to play with a number of grade 1 bands.  He has also competed as a solo player, playing both light music and piobaireachd.  Allan tutored piping while working as a school teacher and, more recently, was involved with Kirkcudbright & District pipe-band as a player and tutor.

Alan Maltman


Alan was taught by a number of local pipers, most notably the Oban Gold Medallist, Ian Clowe. For the last two decades he was a member of the Dumfries & Galloway Constabulary Pipe Band, which enjoyed success in major competitions in grade 2.

Keri-Ann Gordon

Facebook Administrator

Keri-Ann is a supporter of the Academy and has volunteered to help us look after our Facebook page. She will be moving to Kansas in a few months time - but distance is no barrier to communication these days!

David Hannay


David Hannay plays the Highland bagpipes with the Cairnsmore pipers and also the bellows blown Scottish smallpipes. He has edited a book on Piobaireachd and was a founder member of the Lowland and Border Pipers' Society.


Colin Warden


Colin's association with piping began in the late 90's through the sponsorship by his company, Castle McLellan Foods Ltd. of Kirkudbright and District Pipe Band, a sponsorship which continues to this day. Colin is currently President of Kirkudbright and District Pipe Band.

Norrie Thomson


Norrie moved to Dumfries in 1982 where he was a secondary school teacher until 2014. He is very active in competitive pipe band drumming and brings 50 years experience to the Academy.  He has been leading drummer, much of this in grade 1.  His “100 Pipers Whisky” drum corps won the Grade 1 British Championships.  He was leading drummer of the highly successful grade 1 Annan Ex Service Club Pipe Band, under Pipe Major Walter Cowan.  Norrie is currently leading drummer with City of Newcastle Pipe Band.

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Copyright South West of Scotland Piping and Drumming Academy ©

Copyright South West of Scotland Piping and Drumming Academy ©