Campaigning in Glen Innes during the 2017 New England byelection (Image: AAP/Tracey Nearmy)

If you approach Glen Innes from the south, passing through Ben Lomond and Glencoe amidst tall stands of poplar and conifer, you could be forgiven for thinking you were taking the high road through a small patch of Auld Scotland.

It's midday on a Friday and I slip past the Clansman motel with its triumphant bunting of rampant lions and saltires, cross Mackenzie and Lang streets, looking for somewhere to eat. As I walk there's a familiar -- but unlikely -- sound, which only grows louder as I turn onto Grey Street. Outside the town hall, in glengarry and hose, kilt and sporran, stands a lone piper playing what Alec Guinness once called The Tunes of Glory – "Flower of Scotland", "The Gathering of the Grahams", "The Black Bear" and all the rest.