John McDougall - World Champion Piper

John McDougall, a Multi Gold Medal winner, Master of Piobaireachd, and leading exponenet of the “Balmoral” style of piping.

John was born in Aberdeen 1936, and started playing the bagpipes when he was about ten years old. John played in the Boys Brigade and the Bucksburn Pipe Bands, where he was taught by Pipe Major Davie Duncan. John went to Davie for private lessons in Aberdeen and it was Davie Duncan that introduced John to the Queens Piper Bob Brown who taught him Piobaireachd. Johns father also an accomplished piper encouraged and helped John at every opportunity.

John did his National Service with the Queens Own Cameron Highlanders, and played with best friend, Iain McFadyen, and other great pipers under Pipe Major Even McRae. The Pipe Band was in great demand and John had the opportunity to travel both home and abroad. The army encouraged John and fellow pipe band members to enter piping competitions around the country and on the Highland Games Circuit.

John won the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting in Inverness in 1960, he has also won the Clasp and the former Winners, March, Strathspey and Reel twice.

John has won many, many other prizes and competitions during his playing career amongst them, the Argyllshire Gathering Former Winners March, Strathspey and Reel five times,Braemar Gold Medal three times, Open Piobaireachd at the Argyllshire Gathering twice, Dunvegen Silver Chanter twice, Dunvegen Clasp twice, The Argyllshire Gold Medal Piobaireachd, Dunvegan Medal and the Mod Gold Banner

John also played in the Edinburgh Police Pipe Band and the Invergordon Distillery Pipe Band under PipeMajor Donald Shaw Ramsey and with John D Burgess.

In 1962 John married Vanora Grant and they had two girls Fiona and Mairi. During the summer months the family would tour the Highland Games. John became a ledged on the competitive circuit, became known as the “Hoover” for sooking up all the prize money.

In 1973 John get the job of piping instructor to the Schools of Badenoch and Strathspey and the family moved to Kincraig. John taught and encouraged many a young piper, and many of Johns pupils have gone on win many prestigious competitions or to make piping their living in one form or another. John taught piping in the USA and Canada and his recordings are still played on the BBC’s pipeline radio show. After retiring from competition John  became a much sought after Judge, and regularly judged the Northern Meetings, Argyallshire Gathering and enjoyed his days at the hand full of Highland Games he judged annually.


John McDougall passed away in his sleep on the 18th of February 2016. We his family would like to thank everyone from around the world who gave their condolences.

The Scotsman newspaper published a great obituary, to read it please click on the link below.





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