I first heard this tune at a contest in Bathgate in the 1970’s, played by the Dysart and Dundonald Pipe Band. I wrote it out for our own band and it proved popular with our members. Some years later the tune was published as “Unknown Retreat” , but we have elected to stay with our original choice of name ll
The 5/4 Time Signature is enough to make this composition stand out from the pack, but it is also a lovely expressive melody. We play only the first two parts of this four-parter, because long ago it was part of a contest medley with time constraints, and the tradition has stuck !!!
Cullen Bay is a beautiful area north of Grampian, between Buckie and Banff. The composer is Ian Duncan – a drummer believe it or not !!! It is worth mentioning that there is another tune by this name, composed in 1959 – a 2/4 march by Pipe Major James Robertson of The Gordon Highlanders, and named after the very same area.
Barren Rocks of Aden.
Composed by J. McKellar. This tune has four parts but the last two parts are seldom played nowadays. However, it would be hard to imagine a piper of any worth anywhere in the world who doesn’t have the first two measures in his repertoire. It does remind us that once upon a time the British Army was firmly ensconced in that hot and rocky Red Sea port.
Flower of Scotland.
Little did the popular folk duo “The Corries” realise when they penned and recorded this song that they would release such a flood of Scottish nationalistic feeling. Some people have even suggested it should be the Scottish National Anthem. Certainly it has become the popular choice of Scottish Soccer and Rugby fans at international matches. The words invoke the spirit of the Battle of Bannockburn (1314 ad) when the Scots, under Robert the Bruce, soundly thrashed “Proud Edward’s army” and firmly established Scottish independence.