The purpose was to promote "social intercourse" in the aftermath of the tragic events at Culloden and the depressing conditions faced by those living in the north during that era.
These competitions are the most prestigious solo events in the piping world. The most famous competition is the pìobaireachd competition, which is organized in three tiers. Entry is restricted to less than 100 of the world's top pipers, who must re-apply each year.
The entry level competition is the Silver Medal and is restricted to 30 players. Winners of the Silver Medal (and sometimes runners-up) are usually offered a spot to compete for the Gold Medal the following year, which is restricted to 30 players. Only previous winners of the Gold Medal are allowed to compete for the Clasp.
Among pipers, the world's most prestigious solo piping award is the Gold Medal at the Northern Meeting.
The competition has become more and more international each year, with only 11 pipers from Scotland (of 30 players) in the 2005 Gold Medal competition. Pipers come from other countries such as the USA, Canada, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and Germany.
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