The Dubai Bagpipe Band brings the highlands to the Gulf.

Last month, an unexpected sight brought golf buggies at the Emirates Golf Club to a startled halt. Even when sworn to silence, a pipe band in full regalia is hard to ignore.

It was the first photo session of the Dubai Bagpipe Band in its new uniform, and a moment of great personal satisfaction for Pipe Major Craig Lightbody.

The Lanarkshire Scot has three generations of family tradition behind his determination to forge a polished band in Dubai.

After long preparation, the band’s 13 members are now ready – right down to the sgian dubh in their socks – to bring an authentic Caledonian flavour to local events.

But don’t be fooled by the kilts. Learning the bagpipes is no longer restricted to remote highland glens. The band includes Canadians, a Frenchman, an Australian and even a young English shipping executive.

Also, in the international component is Paddy Connold, one of two South African pilots.

Back home, he says, bagpipes are seen as rain-bringing magic – ever since his band struck up at an important ceremony as three years of drought ended in a spectacular downpour.

The expressions of some passing golfers suggested they expected something similar.

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