MUSICIANS hit the high notes by winning a top prize in the world's largest school piping and drumming competition - for the second year in a row.

The team from St Columba's School in Kilmacolm fought off tough competition to win the Novice Juvenile B category at the annual Scottish Schools Pipe Band Championships in Kilmarnock.

The 35-strong band were overjoyed to pick up the first prize at the event, which featured 152 schools from around Scotland.

Ross Findlater, 16, said: "It is amazing to not just win but to retain our title for the second year in a row.

“Last year, the band was smaller but our numbers have swelled for the 2020 Championships as more pupils took up the pipes.

“Winning this makes all the early starts at 7.45am and after school sessions very worthwhile."

The youngsters, led by hard-working tutor Gordon Bruce, competed against 21 schools to win their category, beating High School of Dundee and George Watson's College respectively in second and third place.

The students performed four tunes at the event: Captain Norman Orr Ewing, Greenwoodside, The Siege of Delhi and The Earl of Mansfield.

The championships were established by the Scottish Schools Pipes and Drums Trust (SSPDT) to showcase the talent of young musicians and encourage the formation of school pipe bands.

Alexandra Duncan, chief executive of SSPDT, said: “It was brilliant to see the students from St Columba’s School show their passion for the Scottish tradition of piping and drumming.

“Playing in a pipe band requires a huge amount of discipline and plenty of practice – and the judges were impressed with the talent on display from bands from all across Scotland.

“We hope this will inspire other schools and students to get involved next year and to keep our proud musical heritage growing.

“We’re extremely grateful to the parents, schools and local authorities that are working closely with us to bring tuition opportunities to young people in Scotland, although there is still a long way to go until all pupils who would like to learn the pipes and drums have the chance to do so."