Montrose piper stars in BBC programme

Montrose piper stars in BBC programme
Montrose piper stars in BBC programme

A 17-year-old Montrose piper will star in a TV programme marking the centenary of the start of the First World War.

BBC Scotland’s Landward will transmit a special programme focusing on the effect the war had on the Scottish countryside.

The programme ends at the Auchenblae War Memorial and concludes with a lone piper playing ‘Flowers of the Forest’.

The piper is Alexander Sanger, from Montrose, who is the Pipe Major of Lathallan School Pipe Band.

Presented by Dougie Vipond, the programme begins and ends in the Howe of the Mearns, in Aberdeenshire, the setting for Lewis Grassic Gibbons’ classic novel ‘Sunset Song’. The novel vividly depicts a small Scottish community and Dougie explores the huge changes that the war brings to this area and the wider country.

The programme will uncover the tragic story of two brothers, Duncan and William Harper, named on the War Memorial in the village of Auchenblae. Both were killed during the Battle of the Somme.

Euan McIlwraith finds out how Scottish agriculture changed through the war years and is joined by Dr Billy Kenefick, of Dundee University, who shows him how the farming community at Abernyte, near Dundee, adapted over the war years from small scale mixed farming to growing oats and other cereals on a vast scale in order to feed people and horses.

Euan visits the Montgarrie Oatmeal Mill in Alford to see how it would have been at full capacity during the busy war years and discovers how the Scottish farm workhorse, the Clydesdale, was used by the British Army in the war effort with George Skinner at Strathorn Stables, Aberdeenshire.

Sarah Mack discovers the high price that Scotland’s native forests paid as the demand for timber in the trenches soared.

She also finds out why Scottish gamekeepers were so valuable to the British Army as snipers on the Front Line. She meets Deeside gamekeeper Peter Fraser, at Invercauld Estate, Braemar, who explains why these men were so sought after.

The programme airs on Friday, April 11, at 7.30 p.m. on BBC2 Scotland.