Scottish bagpiper visits Oman as part of round-the-world trip

Oman Wednesday 08/March/2017 22:08 PM
By: Times News Service
Scottish bagpiper visits Oman as part of round-the-world trip

Muscat: Twenty-seven-year-old Ross Jennings wants to be the first person to play bagpipes in every country in the world.
Three years since he began his tour, he has visited about 60 of them, but isn’t giving up until he’s visited the other 136 or so nations on his list. Earlier this year, Jennings visited Oman as part of his unique world tour.
“I arrived in Oman on January 22 and was lucky to spend two weeks exploring,” he told the Times of Oman.
“The problem with coming to Oman is that there is so much to do! My Omani adventures took me up Jebel Akhdar and Jebel Shams, where I ended up camping for the night and watching the sun set over the ‘Omani Grand Canyon’ - truly spectacular.”
“I was able to explore abandoned villages in the mountains and sip Kahwa under the Palm trees in Misfat Al Abreen, and I spent one morning at the Goat Market in Nizwa and ended up watching people for hours,” he added.
“Wadi Shab had been recommended by so many people that I decided it had to be done however, it almost seemed too good to be true. In the end I loved it so much that I ended up going back twice.”
Cultural integrity
“Oman’s traditions, history and culture are so enticing that I felt myself being swept up in it all. It’s a country that is modernising in a way that seems to have allowed it to maintain its cultural integrity,” revealed Jennings. “Every individual that I interacted with was an exceptional ambassador for Omani culture—polite, hospitable and friendly.”
Having now played the bagpipe for more than 13 years, Jennings said the inspiration to play the Celtic instrument stems from his time at school.
“I was sitting in a school assembly and my teacher piped on in front of us and I thought it was the coolest thing ever,” he recalled. “Being offered the opportunity to play something so unusual (and loud) totally grabbed my attention, and in combination with my mother being Scottish it felt like the perfect instrumental fit.”
While most people think of going on holiday as a sort of exercise where they attempt to see a certain number of tourist attractions, Jennings’ inspiration came from treating his tour as a musical adventure.
“In January 2014, I went to this adventure travel show in London where they had adventurers speaking about their incredible endeavours,” said Jennings. “The first country I visited—Tunisia—made me realise that travelling and piping was going to take a serious amount of time, and I shouldn’t treat the whole adventure as a box-ticking exercise.
“It’s now become this seemingly endless Celtic musical adventure, where I meet the most incredible people through interactions that involve bagpipes,” he explained. “Each interaction keeps me going and wanting to learn more.”
Although Jennings’ parents were understandably sceptical when he told them his idea, they’ve now realised he must follow his passion and are fully supportive of him.
“I fund my trips with a combination of blogging, social media campaigns and talks at international schools,” he added. “I definitely don’t get rich from what I do, but I get by for now. It sounds cheesy but for the moment I’m happy with experiences rather than cash.”
“I’ve found that one of the most important things for me has been how I manage my time and prioritise,” said Jennings.
“This does make people nervous, but with a bit of planning and time management I reckon they’re all conquerable.”