Border Pipes / Half Long Pipes / Lowland Pipes

The Border Pipe/Half Long/Lowland Pipes is a traditional bellows blown bagpipe of Lowland Scotland and Northern England. It pre-dates the Northumbrian Small pipe and has a musical range close to the Scottish Highland pipe of 9 notes. The chanter has an open-end as the Highland bagpipe, but uses minimal grace-notes in its technique. The chanter’s notes can have a natural 7th on the sub-tonic notes (top and bottom), which suits the repertoire of the Scottish Borders; also it can have a sharpened 7th on the ‘top sub-tonic’ note (making the chanter a “Half-long Chanter”) which suits the Northumbrian repertoire.

I play a “Half-long” chanter; this chanter suits the Northumbrian repertoire of Peacock and Bewick and some of the Dixon repertoire of the 18/19th Centuries. It is different to the Border pipe chanter as it has a G# on the 7th note (top hand) and a G natural on the bottom 7th note. An unusual scale!

I have produced a CD of Border pipe music called “O’er the Dyke” of tunes from the Peacock and Bewick manuscripts, which have performed at various concerts in the UK and in Europe.

You can hear musical examples of the my Half Long pipes on Bancamp link.

In the past few years I have been playing the Scottish Small Pipes, very similar to the Border pipes using the Scottish fingering, but these are more similar to the Northumbrian Small pipes due to them having a cylindrical bored chanter which is use in my Northumbrian bag, as the volume and tone is on par with the Northumbrian drones. My Scottish Small pipe chanter I bought from Shepherd Bagpipes, they play in the key of D. Today, I am making my own small pipe chanters. Recently (2020) I have bought a chanter in C from Richard Evens.

On both instruments I use the Lowland style of fingering, using few grace notes and playing them only when I feel they should be played, not in a written or standard system.

Scottish Small Pipe Lessons

I teach the Lowland style of chanter, few grace notes and variation pieces. I play melodies mainly from the Dixon, Peacock, Bewick manuscripts and Scottish/English Borders.

My CDs are made and produced by myself. I like the idea of the “cottage industry” and I prefer to listen to original recordings without the over-produced techniques of the multinationals. I recorded these CDs at home, on my computer (Reaper DAW), I designed the CD covers myself and I have started to put information sheets in with the CD. These information sheets offer additional information on tunes and about my activities.

“O’er the Dyke” CD
This is my first CD on the Border Pipes. It offers tunes mainly from the Scottish Borders and are taken from the Bewick and Peacock Manuscripts compiled in the 18-19th Centuries. The style of the CD is more relaxed and hopes to convey a more melodious rather than a dance atmosphere.

Due to travelling a lot I mainly sell my music digitally, if you prefer a hard-copy (CD) please contact me for details. Both types can be bought by emailing me via this blog.

O'er the Dyke

1. New Drops of Brandy
2. O’er the Dyke
3. Jockey Stays Long at the Fair
4. Wigh’s Fancy
5. Farewell
6. Little Wat Ye Wha’s Coming
7.Berwick Johnny
8. Jacky Layton
9. Sr. Charles Rant
10. Highland Laddie
11. Parks of Yester
12. I’m Over Young to Marry Yet / Bonny Lad
13. Believe Me If All Those Endearing Young charms
14. Tulloch Goram / Butter’d Peas
15. Cuckold Come Out of the Amery
16. Sweet as Sugar Candy

My 2nd has a mixture of Border piping and Northumbrian Smallpipe playing.

This CD called “Frisky” combines the music of the Northumbrian Small pipes (NSP) and the Border Pipes (BP). It was produced for the ‘Firasac’ Music Festival in Catalonia, Spain, in 2012. Since I was playing both instruments I produced a set of new recordings which give a flavor of the Border/Northumbrian traditional repertoire. This is a good CD if you are new to the music from the Scottish Borders & Northumbria, also new to the bellows blown bagpipes. Extracts from this CD can be heard here on Bandcamp


1. Mallorca (NSP)
2. Chevy Chase / Dorrrington Lads (BP)
3. Butter’d Peas (NSP)
4. Now Westerlin Winds / The Gallowa Hills (BP)
5. Noble Squire Dacre / Winster Gallop (NSP)
6. I’m Over Young to Marry Yet / German Spa (NSP)
7. Fare Well (BP)
8. The Crooked Bawbee / Hexham Races (NSP)
9. Persian Dance (NSP)
10. The Bonny Pit Laddie / Frisky (BP)
11. Rothbury Hills (NSP)
12. Blackett of Wylam (BP)
13. Whinshields Hornpipe (NSP)
14. Niel Gow (BP)
15. L’ Abat Dels Boigs / Tombigbee Waltz (NSP)
16. Bonny Lad (BP)
17. Derwentwater’s Farewell / Johnny Armstrong