GIFTED youngsters from South Ayrshire are on a musical high after collecting one of the top prizes in the world’s largest schools piping and drumming competition.

The young musicians from the combined South Ayrshire Schools and Girvan Youth Pipe Band won the Debut category at the 2020 Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships (SSPBC).

The group from South Ayrshire were among the 152 schools from around Scotland - including 72 pipe bands and freestyle ensembles – who descended on Kilmarnock for the competition a week past on Sunday.

Piper Daniel Nicol, who collected the trophy, said the 16-strong band were overjoyed to triumph in the category.

He said: “It feels amazing to win, especially with this being our debut performance. We’re all from different schools and different parts of the region so it’s great to come together to perform as a band for the first time. And to win for Ayrshire, is a great feeling. So much practice and dedication has gone into us being able to compete in the Championships. Some of us have had to travel 10miles each way, each day, to get to practice. But that has certainly now paid off.”

The band beat competition from four other schools to win the prize, edging Upper Nithsdale and District Schools and West Renfrewshire Schools into second and third place respectively. They performed two tunes, The Green Hills of Tyroll and When the Battle’s O’er.

The Championships were established by Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) to not only showcase the talent of young musicians, but to encourage the formation of school pipe bands and reignite the nation’s passion for the instrument. First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Pipe music sits at the heart of Scotland’s culture and communities and it is always wonderful to see how many young people are involved in pipe bands.”