Cowal Highland Gathering Highland dancing
23rd - 25th August 2018

Highland Dancing

© Photo by Ken Clark

Competitors  »  Highland Dancing

Highland dancing

Cowal Highland Gathering is host to the Scottish and World Highland Dancing Championships – the most important events in the highland dancing calendar. As a competitor you’ll be pitched against the finest dancers and perform in front of what’s possibly the most discerning dancing audience anywhere in the world. Are you aiming for the Cowal Gold Medal?

The dancing gets underway on Thursday with the Scottish National Highland Dancing Championship. Friday sees dancers from the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa join the Scots to compete in the Scottish Championship and the qualifiers for the World Highland Dancing Championship. And on Saturday it’s the finals of the World Championship.
We also hold competitions to encourage local, emerging highland dancing talent. If you’re a younger dancer at the start of your career, it’s a great opportunity to experience this great event and dance in front of the experts.

Highland Dancing Photos 2016

The dancing competitions at the Cowal Gathering kick off on the Thursday of the event with the Scottish National Highland Dancing Championships. This event is open to premier class dancers from throughout Scotland. As such it attracts the very best of our own home grown dancers to compete.

The Friday sees the international dancers arriving to compete in the Scottish (open) Highland Dancing Championships and the qualifiers for the World Championships.
Dancers from Canada, The United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa travel to Cowal to compete for the ultimate prize in the dancing calendar.

The finals of the World Highland Dancing Championships take place on the Saturday afternoon and see the 60 top dancers from across the world compete to be crowned World Champion.

The Saturday is also host to two local (confined) competitions including one which is specifically for the youngest dancers just setting out on their dancing career.

Scottish National Championships

Am Session
Event A (7/9 years) East Platforms
Event B (9 years) East Platforms
Event C (10 years) East Platforms
Event D (11 years) East Platforms
Event E (12 years) Main Platforms
Event F (13 years) Main Platforms

PM Session
Event G (14 years) East Platforms
Event H (15 years) East Platforms
Event I (16 years) Main Platforms
Event J (17 years) Main Platforms
Event K (18 years) Main Platforms


AM session

Event 12 (12 years) East Platforms
Event 13 (13 years) East Platforms
Event 14 (14 years) Main Platforms
Event 15 (15 years) Main Platforms

PM Session
Events 8, 9, 10, 11 East Platforms
(U9, 9, 10 & 11 years)

Events 55 & 56 Main Platforms


Events 51,52,53 Main Platforms
(Argyllshire Championships)

Pre-Premier Competitions East Platforms

Please note that this year the Pre-Premier competitions will take place on the East Platforms and not the West. This means it will be possible to purchase seats in the East stand to watch the Pre-Premier competition.
The East stand on the Saturday will be sold as an all day ticket.

World Highland Dancing Championships Finals Main Platforms

Pre-Premier & Argyllshire Trophy Presentations

World Championships Trophy Presentations

March Past led by World Champions

No Information is available at present.
We are very grateful to the various dancing organisations who have aided us greatly in the selection process, these are:

A.B.H.D I. - Australia

ScotDance Canada - Canada

F.U.S.T.A - U.S.A

B.A.T.D. - U.K.

S.D.T.A - U.K

U.K.A. - U.K.

The 2017 Highland Dancing Judging Panel is;

Victoria Anderson (Tori) - USA
Victoria Anderson (Tori) currently resides in Columbia, SC with her husband Neil (a piper), her son Jamie (13), and daughter Kylie (6).

Tori began her journey of dance at the age of 4 in classical ballet. By age 12 she was training with the New York City Ballet satellite in Saratoga Springs, NY. At age 9, a family friend and Canadian Champion introduced her to her first love – Highland Dancing.

Tori competed in Highland dancing for 20 years, winning over 40 championships throughout the United States, Canada and Scotland. For 10 years, she qualified for the U.S. National Championships, placing in the top three for 3 of those years.
A veteran performer and choreographer, Tori toured internationally with Schiehallion, one of Canada’s most acclaimed dance companies. She performed with them at the 1995 Festival Interceltique in Brittany, France. In 1998, she choreographed and performed on tour with Celtic rock band, Seven Nations. Her work was featured in a nationally televised PBS production.

Tori is a certified instructor and enjoys teaching out of her local studio as well as workshops throughout North America. She is honored to be participating as an adjudicator at the Cowal Highland Gathering.

Kathleen Drummond - USA
Kathleen was born in Philadelphia and began dancing at the age of six, under the tutelage of Marguerite Reid. Her dancing career included a number of prestigious titles including Two time U.S. National Champion, Atlantic International Champion, Great Lakes Champion, British Overseas Champion and 4th runner up in the Junior World CHampionship at the Cowal Highland Gathering.

Kathleen later received a B.A. in Dance from Temple University and a Masters degree in Movement Therapy from Goucher College. She is currently a dedicated judge, workshop intructor and teacher. her students have been representatives for the Eastern Region in the U.S. National Championship and have won numerous championships and choreography competitions over the years. In addition, several of her students have been selected to perform in the prestigious Edinburgh Military Tattoo. As one of the founders of the school, Kathleen has enjoyed teaching at the Campbell School for over twenty five years, now alongside her sisters and two daughters.

Eileen Graham - Scotland
I have been involved in highland dancing since the age of 11 when I was a competitive and championship dancer until the age of 17. I have continued to be involved in highland dancing since then now for 47 years despite my competitive career coming to an end due to injury.

I am a Life Member of the BATD having been a member of the British Association of Teachers of Dance (BATD) for 40 years passing my Associate exam in 1977 and becoming a Member in 1979. I have been a member of the World Wide adjudicator panel for 37 years and I have also been teaching highland dancing in the Scottish Borders for over 39 years.

I have lived in the Scottish Borders all my life and I was taught and mentored under the Lynella School of Highland Dancing within the Scottish Borders.

During my competitive dancing career, I travelled all over the country winning many competitions and championships. The highlights from my dancing career included dancing at the Cowal Highland Gathering and winning 3rd in the World Juvenile Championship when I was 14 years old; 4th in the World Junior Championships at the age of 16; and 4th again at the age of 17.

As well as teaching and judging, I also promote highland dancing in the Scottish Borders by running five successful local competitions every year. I regularly attend Association, Judges and Organisers meetings, as well as Lectures, Conferences and Workshops.

Marlyn Halliday - England
I was born and spent my childhood years living on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I was inspired to take up Highland Dancing at the age of 8 having listened to many stories from my mother who danced with the much acclaimed Lynella school based in the Borders of Scotland. I initially danced with a local dance school until in 1980 I joined the Frances Paterson School of Dancing where I was very fortunate to be included in competition work, attending competitions and championships all over the UK with many successes. With the help and encouragement of Frances I was able to successfully take SDTA Associate and Member teaching exams and finally the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing Adjudicator exam.

I have maintained my interest and enthusiasm for Highland Dancing and have run a successful dance school in North Lincolnshire, England since 1992, where I have trained dancers from all over the world; South Africa, Canada, USA, England, and Scotland.
I have attended Cowal Highland Gathering every year since 1978; firstly, as a dancer and laterally as a parent, teacher, and spectator. It is an event second to none and one I am very honoured to have been invited to judge this year. I am looking forward to a fantastic 3 days!

Lynne Lawrence - Scotland
Lynne started dancing at the age of three under the tuition of Rhona and Gillian Lawrence who instilled a love and passion for dance. She had a competitive career which spanned more than twenty years. Highlights included dancing in the world finals,being placed in the top six in the Scottish national championship, winning the area finals in Oban with North Aberdeenshire, and dancing in Canada in the Scotdance Interprov series.

She gained her SOBHD judges qualification in 2009 and is a fellow of the UKA. Lynne has adjudicated in Scotland, Ireland, France, South Africa and Canada.

The same year she qualified as a judge, Lynne graduated with a Master of Pharmacy degree. She currently works as a pharmacist for a large multinational company and has held several managerial positions. Lynne lives with her husband Ross and son Jack who was born earlier this year.

Lynne would like to wish everyone an enjoyable Cowal experience.

Beverley Leahy (Drennan) - South Africa
Beverley began highland dancing in South Africa at the age of 5 years and has been involved ever since.
She holds a Member qualification with the SDTA, is an Honorary Member of the BATD and is a member of the SOBHD worldwide panel of Adjudicators.

Previously serving as Chairperson of the OBHD(SA) for 11 years, Beverley is proud to be the first independent member of the OBHD(SA). She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Gauteng Highland Dancing Association.

Beverley convenes three competitions in Johannesburg, is a member of the South African Championship organising committee and convenes the annual Highland Dancing Choreography Festival.

As much as Beverley admires the strength, technique and dedication required to perfect the traditional highland dances, she also has a passion for choreography. She is the choreographer for the South African Tattoo and the Johannesburg Military Tattoos.

Beverley is a Clinical Technologist specialising in Cardiology and is the proud Mom of two daughters, Shendl and Shannon, who are both past South African Championships.

Beverley is delighted to be part of the judging team at the 2017 Cowal Highland Gathering.

Lena Anne MacDonald - Scotland
Lena Anne began her dancing career at the age of 6 and under the expert tuition of Irene McKechnie, enjoyed a successful competitive career for 20 years. During that time she regularly competed in all major competitions, Highland Games and championships on the dancing calendar, winning the East of Scotland Championship three times. However, her proudest moment was at Cowal when she achieved fourth place in the World Junior Championship.

A fellow and life member of the BATD and fellow of the SDTA, Lena Anne qualified as a member of the SOBHD Worldwide Judges Panel in 1986 and is a former chairperson of the Judges Panel Committee. She has adjudicated at many competitions and championships at home and overseas, including the Canadian Inter-Provincial and USIR Championships, as well as the World Championships, on several occasions.

As a professionally qualified Careers Adviser in a university working with students at all levels, Lena Anne enjoys the combination of teaching and working one on one, helping students with their personal and professional development.

Lena Anne is delighted to be a member of the 2017 Cowal Highland Gathering Judges Panel and is looking forward to some excellent dancing, in this the inaugural year of the introduction of old steps, and hopefully some fine weather!

Ann Milne - Canada
Ann Milne’s passion for dance has lead her around the entire world. This love started at the very young age of 3, with a 20 year competitive career yielding: 13 Ontario, 12 Canadian and 4 World Championship titles in Highland Dance. Ann also has extensive training in the dance disciplines of Classical Ballet, Jazz, Modern, Tap and Ballroom.

Professionally, Ann has her Fellowship with the Scottish Dance Teachers’ Alliance (SDTA). She has the distinct honour of being appointed an Examiner for this prestigious organization. She is also an active member of the Judges panel for the world governing body of highland dance, the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing (SOBHD). Ann continues to travel across North & South America, Scotland, Australia, and Japan teaching and adjudicating.

For over 25 years, Ann has owned and operated her own dance schools in PEI, Toronto and then relocated back to Owen Sound in 2006. Her students have gone on to attend dance at the National Ballet School of Canada, Quinte Ballet School of Canada, the Randolph Academy of Performing Arts (Toronto), York University, and Markham Performing Arts Secondary School. Many of her Highland students have followed in her footsteps, winning the Ontario’s, Canadian and Scottish Championships.

Mary Munro - Canada
Mary resides in Burnaby, British Columbia. She is a Fellow and Examiner of the B.A.T.D. and she is also on the SOBHD Adjudicators Panel. As a dancer, highlights of her competitive career included winning the Adult Canadian Championship, and finishing First Runner-up in the Adult World Championship.
As a judge and teacher, she has had the opportunity to travel to Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, and also extensively throughout North America.Her former students have won many open and closed championships.

Besides teaching full day kindergarten in North Vancouver, she also volunteers her time to teach dancing at school. She finds this very rewarding as it is an opportunity to give back to the school community. Mary is the current Treasurer of ScotDance Canada and she also held the same position with ScotDance BC for 11 years.

Mary is honoured to judge Cowal once again and would like to wish all participants a very memorable weekend.

Mary Neill - Scotland
I entered the world of Highland Dancing at the age of 5 and won my first Cowal title at the age of 6. I won many Championships over the years but the highlight of my dancing career was winning the Oscars and the World Junior Title at the age of 17.

I taught Highland Dancing for many years but now enjoy my time judging. I am a Member of the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance and I am also a delegate on the Scottish Official Board for the Australian Board of Highland Dancing.

Christine Shield - Australia
I began Highland dancing with The Margaret Harvison School of highland Dancing at the age of six years in 1969 in Mackay, Queensland.

Highland dancing has always been my passion but Margaret encouraged me to develop my dance skills and I added Irish dancing, Classical Ballet, Tap and Jazz dancing to my repertoire. I feel this range of dance forms gave me the best understanding of technique and enhanced my experience of staging and performance.

During my university degree in Pharmacy I became a Highland dance teacher studying with Carolyn Davidson. I was founder and principal of International Dance Affair, a dance studio catering for Highland, Irish, Ballet, Tap and Jazz dancing in Mackay from 1989 until 2005.

As a Highland dance teacher, I have successfully entered many dancers in local competitions, State and National Championships as well as NDAA examinations. Throughout those years, I have been rewarded with the success of a number of students who have gone on to perform and teach in their own right. The Studio continues today under the direction of one of my former dance teachers.

I became an Adjudicator with ABHDI in 1987 and later joined the world-wide panel of SOBHDI adjudicators.

My other passion is choreography and I have worked for many musical comedy productions in Mackay and Brisbane as well as local School productions. I still enjoy teaching and have conducted Highland workshops in my region.

I now concentrate on my Adjudication and have enjoyed Judging around Australia in a variety of competitions, Eisteddfods, State Championships, including The Queensland Highland Dancing Championship and the Victorian Championship in Daylesford, The Grand Australasian Championship in Sydney NSW, The International Championship of Australia and Champion of Champions in Brisbane.

It is my absolute honour to be on the judging panel for the Cowal World Highland Dancing Championship.

Anne Stirton - Scotland
Awaiting biography