You either love or hate the bagpipes

dimsal drone or magisterial skirl? 'The jury is still out on the bagpipes - but whatever your views, the sound of the bagpipes instantly conjures up images of mist-shrouded lochs and lonely pipers on Scottish battlements. But the sound can also be heard at Waingroves Community Centre on Wednesday nights - as it's there that the Codnor and District Pipers gather to practise. Founded by Stewart Scott in 2005, the group recently played at the National Arboretum on November 11. 'This week reporter Tim Cunningham talks to Stewart Scott about Scotland's own national instrument, the very distinctive sound that the bagpipes make and why the pipers are going from strength to strength.

dimsal drone or magisterial skirl? 'The jury is still out on the bagpipes - but whatever your views, the sound of the bagpipes instantly conjures up images of mist-shrouded lochs and lonely pipers on Scottish battlements. But the sound can also be heard at Waingroves Community Centre on Wednesday nights - as it's there that the Codnor and District Pipers gather to practise. Founded by Stewart Scott in 2005, the group recently played at the National Arboretum on November 11. 'This week reporter Tim Cunningham talks to Stewart Scott about Scotland's own national instrument, the very distinctive sound that the bagpipes make and why the pipers are going from strength to strength.

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YOU either love it or hate it, when it comes to the bagpipes, but those who partake say once you start playing you are hooked.

Stewart Scott agrees the bagpipes are the musical equivalent of Marmite - you love or hate the sound.

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Stewart started playing the pipes in 1988 with the Ashbourne and District Pipe Band and in 2005 he was asked by a couple of people to teach them.

As others joined, so the Codnor and District Pipers were founded, and now members come from as far afield as Lichfield to practise.

Stewart said: “We now have approximately 18 members and as they get to be stronger pipers they get the opportunity to play with the Royal British Legion pipe band.

“On November 11 myself and five other members from our group played at the National Arboretum with the Leicester and Rutland Royal British Legion pipe band.

NRHNBE111123c2, Stewart Scott leader Codnor and district pipers.

NRHNBE111123c2, Stewart Scott leader Codnor and district pipers.

“We led the parade and marched past dignitaries like Lieutentant Mark Manns CBE and the Lord Lieutentant of Staffordshire Sir James Hawley.

“I was in the Scottish Guards and spent time in Northern Ireland and know one or two lads who are named on the wall that died there. The ceremony means a lot.”

Stewart, 58, was born in Coldstream, in Scotland, and moved to Codnor 28 years ago. He currently drives bulldozers for UK Coal at Smalley.

He traces his love of the bagpipes back to his time in the Forces when he used to march behind the pipe band.

In 2008 Stewart wrote a pipe tune himself and named it Codnor Castle.

He said: “I was just messing about one day and I put a few notes together. It’s been verified by the Edinburgh College of Piping as an original tune.”

But he readily admits that the instrument is not everyone’s cup of tea.

“My missus can’t stand them! She says there’s a time and the place and that’s where they should be heard. She comes to the odd show but only because she can go to the stalls.

“It’s the pipes full stop – you get to like the drone. It’s got its own sound.

“To hear the skirl is to hear the playing and the sound of the pipes.”

Besides being a love-it-or-loathe it instrument, the bagpipes are a big investment – of time and money. A set of pipes will cost around £1,000 and Stewart estimates it takes around seven years to learn to play “confidently and properly.”

The group is going from strength to strength, says Stewart, but is always looking for members. If you would like to find out more, call Stewart on 07974754045.