The Hunter 2018 – Stuart Gillies
I was born in 1986 and raised in the village of Lamlash on the Isle of Arran with my 3 sisters. My father Neil worked as a paramedic on the island and my mother Anne worked in the local village shop. I attended Arran High School and enjoyed a very typical village life as a child, taking part in Boy Scouts, Rugby, Football and sailing. I left school at 16 and joined the Army to follow the path of my Dad and my Uncles.
In 2003 I started basic Infantry training and joined the 1st Battalion the Royal Highland Fusiliers. I was posted to Cyprus for the first 2 years of my career and was employed as a Machine Gunner. A strange tradition in Scottish Regiments at that time was, “if you wanted to become a Machine Gunner”, “you have to learn the bagpipes”. So, I Attended the Basic Army Bagpiper Course in 2005. My Battalion then moved to Glencorse Barracks Penicuik in 2006 where I have lived since.
I am now currently employed as the Battalion’s Pipe Major and second in command of the Assault Pioneer Platoon. To this day, becoming a military piper was the best decision I have ever made. The opportunities it has given me has helped define my life and has allowed me to travel the world meeting people who are now lifelong friends. As a military piper I have performed in Stadiums and Royal Palaces all round the world. It has taught me the importance of Scottish Traditions not only here in Scotland but around the globe. The importance of this heritage is a defined factor in my decision to apply for Penicuik Hunter 2018. I have served in two Operational tours of Afghanistan, both in Helmand Province. During my first tour I was employed as a Section Commander of a Rifle Platoon. The second tour as a Police Mentor, training the Afghan National Police.
Over the years I have watched both the military families and local Penicuik community grow together. Growing to become one indistinguishable town. A town that has given me so much in ways of friendships, memories and opportunities. I would now like to give something back & what better way than to have the honour to represent the town as Penicuik Hunter 2018. Alisha and I have been filled with excitement at the thought of representing Penicuik while visiting other town festivities and border rides and can’t wait to show off Penicuik at its best. I know the next few years are going to be an amazing adventure and there is no one else I would rather experience it with.