Wessex Highlanders

Wessex Highlanders

Welcome to the Wessex Highlanders website

We hope that you enjoy looking around the site and that you find something to interest you here. If you have any comments or suggestions, please email us. The principal aims of this site are to show our band to the world, to give information about who we are, to encourage you to come along and try having a go and to tell you where you can see us play.

The band meets to learn and to practise on Tuesday evenings 7pm – 9:30pm at
Wyke Primary School, Deane Avenue, Gillingham, Dorset, SP8 4SH.
If you are interested in playing or learning to play either the bagpipes or have a go on the drums, then please come along on a Tuesday evening or contact us for more information.

“These are bagpipes. I understand the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made sound never equalled the purity of the sound achieved by the pig.”

Sir Alfred Hitchcock


Our repertoire includes around 80 bagpipe tunes, with a wide selection of marches complemented by airs, jigs, strathspeys and reels and we learn new ones as we go along. These are mainly traditional bagpipe tunes from Scotland and the rest of Great Britain (although we let the odd Irish one in from time to time!), supplemented by some of our own compositions.

Our repertoire also includes pieces that are written to be played alongside brass or military bands with the bagpipes.

Of course playing the bagpipes with other instruments can be tricky because the pipes are pitched differently from orchestral instruments. That is relatively easily addressed, however there are only very few notes available on a set of bagpipes and so it is not only the pitch of the instrument that matters but also the key in which a tune is written. The net result of all of this is that there are relatively few pieces that can be played on the bagpipes AND on conventional musical instruments without making it almost impossible for the non-bagpipe instruments to play. So the repertoire for all bagpipe bands when they play with military bands is fairly limited.


…in spite of what Sir Alfred Hitchcock said about the bagpipes, we love ’em! We love the stirring sound that the bagpipes produce and frequently have conversations with those who come to see us play who say such things as ‘I can imagine marching into battle to the sound of the bagpipes!’

If you’d like to join us, then we’d love to see you but if you just want to watch and hear us that’s fine too. And if you’re in Alfred Hitchcock’s camp, we understand but we reserve the right to differ!