With just days to go until the 2018 Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) organisers are looking forward to welcoming visitors from around the globe back to Dunoon to take part in world-class competitions.
This year CHG will welcome record numbers of Highland dancers as 768 competitors from as far afield as Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand flock to Dunoon Stadium to take part in the biggest event of the Highland dancing circuit, the World Highland Dancing Championships.
Pipe band fans will be delighted to hear this year more than 40 bands have signed up to take part in this year’s competitions to win some coveted Cowal silverware with three Grade 1 pipe bands battling it out to win the Argyll Shield, the world’s oldest pipe band trophy, first awarded in 1906. Current holders Inveraray and District Pipe Band are returning to defend their title against Johnstone Pipe Band and Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band.
Local supporters will be keen to cheer on local talent as Dunoon Argyll Pipe band and Dunoon Grammar School Pipe Band both take on the Grade 4B competition.
As in recent years CHG visitors of all ages have something to look forward to. The Drakes of Hazard are back promising to give everyone a ‘quacking’ day out and new for 2018 the CHG welcomes Pedal Power vs Parkour. This thrilling event pitches the skills of both a trials rider and a BMX rider against a parkour athlete with all three will be doing what they can to become the crowd favourite.
And while CHG’s legendary Ceilidh Tent welcomes Beinn Lee, Heron Valley, The American Rogues and headliners Tide Lines to the stage why not pop into the Silent Ceilidh where you’ll find people dancing to their own tune – literally! Put on some headphones and away you go, of course not everyone is listening to the same tune, but you will come together every half hour for a ceilidh dance including Strip the Willow or the Dashing White Sergeant.
Add in the kid’s entertainment tent, craft tent where you can make your own CHG medal with Sea Drift Pottery, giant games, Artie’s Tartan Tales, mountain biking and crazy golf and it’s clear to see why Cowal Highland Gathering is one of Scotland’s best days out.
CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said he was looking forward to this year’s event saying: ‘We are currently putting the final touches together ready to welcome visitors from the four corners of the globe to an event which is already shaping up to be a classic.
‘Over the last few year’s Cowal has grown to be much more than a Highland Gathering, it really has got something for everybody.
‘While we may have fierce competition on the Stadium with our heavy athletes, Highland dancers, wrestlers and pipe bands, Cowal is a place to meet friends and make new ones.
‘We’re confident that this year’s Gathering will be another unforgettable weekend and we’re looking forward to showcasing the very best of what Scotland has to offer.’
Craig Anderson, Chief Executive of The Scottish Salmon Company, headline sponsor of the Gathering, said: “We are proud to support the Cowal Highland Gathering. This is the fifth year that we have sponsored the Gathering, and our passion and enthusiasm for the event grows each year. The Gathering is a fine celebration of Scottish tradition, and an event we thoroughly look forward to.
“We are particularly excited to welcome visitors and spectators to our Family Food Kitchen on Saturday, and to watch the crowd-favourite Heavies events.”
Tickets are available online or from Dunoon Stadium during the Gathering. Buy your Saturday tickets on Thursday or Friday and get them at the discounted rate of £15, which is the same as 2017. In addition pupils in Cowal primary schools will also receive a voucher which give them free entry into Saturday’s Gathering.
This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering runs from Thursday 23 – Saturday 25 August. Cowal Highland Gathering is supported through EventScotland’s International Funding Programme.
Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events, said: “The Cowal Highland Gathering is a key cultural event for Argyll and Bute, helping drive Scotland and the regions visitor economy by welcoming competitors and spectators from all over the world to Dunoon each August. From its heavy athletes, piping and prestigious highland dancing competitions, to Ceilidh and kids entertainment tents, it is a great weekend for the whole family.
“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and EventScotland is delighted to be continuing its support of the Cowal Highland Gathering in 2018 to maintain its position as Europe’s largest Highland Gathering.”
For information or to book tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or phoning 01369 703206.