PIPE bands from across the country are tuning up ahead of this weekend's Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships.

The annual competition held at St Ronan's Primary School has become one of the most anticipated in Scotland.

And taking centre stage this year as Chieftan will be football stalwart Stuart Robertson.

The former player, coach and manager, who is currently chairman of Vale of Leithen, will take the salute from the massed bands on conclusion of the competition.

Stuart, who recently retired as janitor of Priorsford Primary School in Peebles, told us: "It is an honour and a privilege to be appointed as Chieftain for the 18th Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships.

"Part of my life has involved working around children and young people, watching them develop as they progress through school.

"I feel that it is vitally important that contests like this continue to thrive and that Pipe Bands throughout Scotland actively promote piping and drumming amongst our country’s children and young people.

"They are the future of our musical art.”

Competition will get under way within the school grounds from late morning.

As well as contests in Grades 2, 3, 4 and Novice Juvenile sections, there will also be a Strathspey and Reel competition.

The ever-popular Drum Majors Dress and Flourish Competition will also be held throughout the day.

Prize money worth over £2,500, as well as many trophies, will be presented to the successful bands and players.

Allan Johnston, secretary of St Ronan’s Piping Society, believes there will be something for everyone during the Championships.

He said: "In addition to the fine pipe band music there will be an array of stalls, a children’s fun fair, a face painter, pony rides, snack bar and even a bar.

"The competition will be fierce, and the piping will be first class, definitely an event not to miss."

Mr Robertson will accept the Chieftan's Chain of Office from retiring David Lindsay at 10.45am, ahead of competition starting.

The grand parade up Innerleithen High Street is scheduled to take place around 5pm.