On the 23rd November 1919, a pipe band was formed to parade through the streets of Kirkwall to commemorate the Armistice of 1918. Appearing only in civilian clothes, this was the first public appearance of what was to become the Kirkwall City Pipe Band (KCPB). One hundred years later, Kirkwall City Pipe Band is a thriving and sociable organisation of around 70 pipers and drummers, including both learners as well as established players, with members ranging from their teens to their 70s.

Based in Kirkwall, Orkney, which itself is located just north of the coast of Scotland; today the band predominantly serves the community through teaching and playing. Over the years members of the KCPB have taught many locals how to play the highland bagpipe, the side drum, the tenor drum as well as the bass.

Each year the band attends many community engagements, functions, parades and concerts. In addition to this KCPB has competed in many pipe band competitions such as the RSPBA World Championships. In 2004 a subsection of the full band won the British Championship and placed third at the World Championships. Since then, the band has brought home silverware from many other competitions, most recently winning their grade in 2014 at the RSPBA North Of Scotland Indoor Championships held in Huntly, Aberdeenshire and placing 2nd at the Dundee Mini bands in 2018.

The KCPB is also a band with a global reach! having travelled the world (as far as Japan), appeared on international television as well as playing for thousands of tourists each year as they leave Kirkwall on cruise liners.

The band proudly wears the Mackenzie Seaforth modern tartan, with many Orcadian men having been members of the former Seaforth Highlanders regiment throughout the years.

Historically the band wore number 1 uniforms consisting of a tunic (green denoting pipers and red denoting drummers), hose, shoulder plaid, broach and a glengarry for the pipers and a busby for the drummers; the bass drummers of the time were also known to wear a leapord skin!

With changing times and increasing costs, the band adopted the nunber 2 uniform in the late nineties. This saw the band move to Argyle jacket, short sleeve white shirt, dark tie, white hose, brogues, and leather sporran, this made getting ready for an engagement a much quicker process!

In 2012 the band added to the uniform by adopting black waistcoats, and then in 2019 adopting a new look sporran

In 2023 the band will be updating to another new uniform so keen you eyes peeled for the grand reveal!


Since 1919 the band has carried many maces to lead the parade, all of which have given a distinct look to the band. One of the earliest incarnations of the pipeband saw D/M Archie Forsyth carry a ceremonial walking stick in his role of Drum Major.

Some time after the formation of the band, a new wooden mace was hand crafted and gifted to the band by Edgar Gibson, although the original walking stick was still well used for many years. While the fate of the original stick is unknown, the hand crafted mace is still owned and proudly looked after by a current member of the band.

Since these early days, the band has progressed to Premier maces which are costructed with wooden shafts, a large round metal head adorned with a crown.

In the 1996 the band was once again presented with a new mace. Local supporters of the band, Shona and Roy Linklater gifted a custom made engraved mace, made of malaca cane with a spherical brass top, once again adorned with a crown to D/M Jim Maxwell.

Our current mace was gifted to the band in 2019 by D/M Cecil Sinclair and is a Moffett mace made of a chrome ferrule, malaca cane shaft, a polished chrome head with a interchangable top of a cap or crown.

The following photos are samples of the above maces being used on parade


Each player owns their own set of pipes each with a distinct look on the cap ends of the drones. However, all pipers have some common parts to ensure consistency of sound.

The band have traditionally used McCallum chanters and reeds, but have latterly adopted G1 Platinums. Historically made of sheepskin, the pipebags bags are now all synthetic with moisture control systems, all of which dramatically improves the sound.


Having played many drum brands over the years, our current side drums are Andante Next Gen Reactors in wood grain red.

Our bass and tenor drums are Premier Pro series and are in wood grain flame red. In order to compliment the melody of the pipes, the drums are pitched to the chanter. This being the case, the Bass is tuned to a Bb (to compliment the low A on the chanter), with the tenors tuned to D (Baritone), G (Tenor) and Bb (Alto which is an octave above the bass)

Since its very earliest days, the Kirkwall City has enjoyed the patronage of Kirkwall Town Council and latterly the benevolence of Orkney Islands Council. Until 2016, the band enjoyed a peripatetic existence, being based in a variety of leased or loaned promises around the town, from the Drill Hall in Junction Road (now K2’s furniture showroom), to the Toc H premises on Great Western Road (roughly in the area of the current fire station), to the Town Hall, to Papdale Primary School, to the Old Library in Laing Street, and finally the former Oxy Club in Castle Street before settling down in our, still comparatively new, own premises in the Victoria Hall in Victoria Street. And there were a few other temporary accommodations over the years – most recently the Peedie Kirk Hall on Palace Road. The former Cavern in the Town Hall was the pre-Broad Street parade meeting place for many a year. That a community pipe band in a comparatively small town could raise the funds required to purchase and refurbish its own property is a remarkable achievement and testimony, not just to many KCPB members and supporters past and present, but to a community which consistently comes out to support a wide, wide variety of local worthy endeavours across a huge range of activities - sporting, cultural and charitable.

Pre Renovation