Cowal Highland Gathering
news photo gallery sponsorship patrons contact links
Home Timetable Live Feed Stalls / Shopping News

Latest news

Results of the Most Entertaining Band in the street competitionResults of the Most Entertaining Band in the street competition
Added: 31 Aug 2014
The results of the Most Entertaining Band competition in the street last night are:

1st prize - £500 sponsored by The 51st State & La Cantina - Oban High School Pipe Band

Runners Up prizes - £100 each sponsored by The Commercial Bar The Commercial Bar and MacClure’s Bar:

2nd - Lomond and Clyde Pipe Band
3rd - Dunoon Grammar School Pipe Band

Well done everyone!
 
Rousing finale to 2014 Cowal Highland GatheringRousing finale to 2014 Cowal Highland Gathering
Added: 30 Aug 2014
As family days out go, this one was surely hard to beat.

Thousands of people from across the world gathered in Dunoon today for the finale of the celebrated Cowal Highland Gathering.

Competitors and spectators alike joined forces to ensure the event’s spectacular Saturday was a day to remember for everyone involved.

From the hundreds of dancers and pipers to the heavy athletes, runners, ceilidh tent performers, stunt cyclists and many other entertainers on show, every participant contributed to what was a fantastic day’s entertainment.

The standard of competition was breathtaking, with many of the world’s top competitors giving their all in a bid go home with the silverware.

One of the highlights of the Gathering’s final day – and one of the most fiercely contested – was, as always, the Cowal Pipe Band Championship.

This year, Inveraray & District Pipe Band managed to hold off the challenge of Lomond & Clyde (2nd) and Oban Pipe Band (3rd) to be crowned winners of the Grade 1 Cowal Pipe Band Championships 2014.

In the other sections and grades, the Cowal Pipe Band champions were:

Novice juvenile – Oban High School
Juvenile – Oban HighSchool
Grade 4- Coalburn IOR Pipe Band
Grade 3 – Johnstone Pipe Band
Grade 2 – Lomond & Clyde

Inveraray & District also won the Best Band on Parade. The champion juvenile drum major was Emma Barr from the Police Service of Northern Ireland, and the champion adult drum major was Brian Wilson MBE of Lomond & Clyde, who also won the Mace over the Bar competition.

Today also saw the Argyllshire Highland Dancing competitions, with top honours going to Lisa McGillvray from Dunoon winning the under 13 years, Katie MacPherson from Oban won the under 16 years and Courtney Cowden from Dunoon in the 16 years and over.

Then came the biggest Highland Dancing competition in the world – the World Championship finals - with dancers from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA pitting their skills against the best the UK has to offer.

In the end, it was Erin Blair from the USA who triumphed in the World Juvenile finals, followed by Sophie Dunn from Canada (2nd) with Emma Schiffs from the USA in third. The trophy for the best Scottish Juvenile Dancer went to Ellie Dalrymple from Tranent.

By far the biggest cheer of the day came when the results of the World Junior championship were announced. Abbie MacNeil from Glasgow, who came second last year, went one better this year by being crowned World Champion, pushing the 2013 winner Maegan Sweeney from Canada into 2nd and Kaylee Finnegan from the USA into third.

The Adult World champion was Marielle Lesperance from Canada, followed by Aberdeen’s Rebecca Thow and Canada’s Chantal Watt.

At 2pm, back at the Burgh Hall, brave runners lined up for what must be one of the toughest 5K runs in the country – the Cowal Hill Race.

This year, it was won by Stanley Topalion from Westerlands Cross Country Club (Westies), with Paul Monaghan (Glenpark Harriers) second and Rod Fleming (Westies) third.

The first local home was Richard Reid. The winner of the women’s race was Ruth Joss of Shettleston Harriers, followed by Dunoon Hill Runners’ Lisa Marshall and Monica Thompson.

Throughout the afternoon, four of the world’s hottest traditional music bands entertained the crowds in the now-famous ceilidh tent.

Leading the pack once again was Oban-based Skipinnish, who brought the house down when they headlined the show last year and who also wowed the crowds at last night’s family ceilidh.

Today, they were joined by three of the hottest up and coming names on the traditional music scene – Hell for Leather, the Argyll Ceilidh Trail and the Reel Time Ceilidh Band.

While they were playing, the heavy athletes and wrestlers battled it out for top honours.

Jason Young triumphed in the men’s heavy athletics, with Heisi Geirmundsson from Iceland second and Bruce Robb third.

In the women’s competition, Lucy Marshall from England beat off the competition from Sylvana Bomholt (2nd) and Laura Gillespie (3rd).

Jason and Lucy were also crowned Cowal caber toss champions.

In the wrestling, the Female Open section was won by Eva Dogg Johandottir from Iceland, with Poline Sellin from Brittany second and Glasgow’s Erin McNeil third.

In the men’s Open competition, Iceland again triumphed with Olafur Siggnurson crowned champion, followed by Carnoustie’s Ryan Dolan (2nd) and Iceland’s Asmundur Asmundurson (3rd).

The weight category winners were Fredric Leyguydar from Brittany in the 9 and a half stone category, Gerald Brunou (Brittany) in 11 and a half stone, Scott Casrson (Aberdeen) in 13 and a half stone and Ryan Dolan (Carnoustie) in the 15 and a half category.

In total, there were 11 wrestlers from Brittany, 11 from Scotland and four from Iceland – a very impressive turnout which attracted enthusiastic support throughout the day.

This year, there was a bigger and better selection of entertainment for all ages than ever before.

One of the most popular draws proved to be the Clan mountain bike stunt team, which performed three gravity-defying shows to packed audiences.

Among the other new attractions were the Drakes of Hazard Duck and Dog display team and Glasgow Science Centre’s pop up 3D cinema.

A highlight for the younger visitors was once again ‘Artie’s Tartan Tales’. Veteran entertainer Artie Trezise – who spent 30 years as one half of The Singing Kettle - uses a tartan trunk full of souvenirs and trinkets as props for his traditional but interactive Scottish storytelling sessions.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said this weekend would go down as an exciting start to a new era for the famous event.

“The organising committee has worked very hard over the last year to ensure that the Gathering continues to evolve and improve, while at the same time retaining its core competitive and cultural elements,” he added.

“I hope the thousands of people who were here today were impressed by the quality and range of entertainment the event now offers.

“Of course the traditional elements of a highland gathering remain the foundation, but onto that solid base we are busy building a bright new future for this wonderful event.

“I am confident that having a broader range of attractions than we’ve had in the past not only improves the spectator experience for our regular supporters and spectators, but will also attract new visitors for the future.”

Ronnie made a point of thanking the Gathering’s sponsors – as well the people of Dunoon and the wider Cowal community – for their support for the 2014 event.

“On behalf of the Gathering’s organisers, I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the last few months to ensure that the event was a success,” Ronnie said.

“I’d also like to thank the thousands of people who have come out to support the Gathering over the last three days. We’ve welcomed spectators not just from Argyll and Bute and Scotland more generally but from right around the globe, and the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive.

“We’ll continue to look at ways to further improve the event in the future. We’re already looking towards the 2015 Gathering, and we’re looking forward to welcoming competitors and spectators back to Dunoon next August.”

Craig Anderson, Managing Director of The Scottish Salmon Company commented, ‘The Cowal Gathering is a wonderful celebration of Scottish culture and traditions. We are extremely proud to support our local communities as well as being involved in such a key date in the Argyll calendar, in the build up to the event and on the day itself.’

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Cowal Gathering has once again proven to be a hugely successful event, which showcases Scotland’s rich cultural heritage. Bringing together thousands of people from around the world, the World Highland Dancing Championship finals and the coveted Cowal Pipe Band Championship were certainly highlights from the weekend. Scotland is the perfect stage for events, and with spectators travelling to Argyll and Bute for the Gathering we will undoubtedly see economic and tourism impacts for the area this year.”


Residents and visitors are already starting to line the streets for the event’s finale this evening – the massing of the bands and their march down Argyll Street.

The final act of this year’s Gathering will be the Western Ferries firework display at Dunoon pier, starting at 9.00pm.

A full list of the results of all today’s action will be posted on the website as soon as possible.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering crowds enjoy spectacular dayCowal Highland Gathering crowds enjoy spectacular day
Added: 29 Aug 2014
Visitors to the Cowal Highland Gathering today discovered why the event is billed as the world’s most spectacular Highland Games.

The crowds who gathered in Dunoon were treated to a feast of top quality Highland Dancing, piping and heavy athletics as well as a variety of other entertainment.

Those who arrived early were spoiled for choice, with the Scottish Highland Dancing Championships and the senior A, B and C Grades solo piping competitions as well as the junior solo piping competitions all taking place before lunch.

In the Scottish dancing championships, the main results were:

Age 7 and under 9 won by Christy Graham from Dundee
9 years of age -Morven Johnston from Western Australia
10 years of age – Tashy Cormack, Thrumster
11 years of age – Lucja Grant, Ontario
12 years of age – Ellie Dalrymple, Tranent
13 years of age – Erin Blair, California
14 years of age – Morgan McDougall, Ontario
15 years of age – Emma Schiff, California

In the senior solo piping, top honours went to Gordon McCready from Renfrew, who walked off with the coveted Grade A title.

The Burgh Cup is on its way to Bute, having been won by Daniel McDermott from Rothesay.

The Best Dressed Adult Piper award went to Ben Duncan from Edinburgh while local lad Jamie Campbell from Strachur scooped the Best Dressed Juvenile Piper.

In the afternoon, the stage was set for the first of the spectacular heavy athletics competitions, with the world’s top athletes throwing their weight around in a bid to be crowned Cowal Highland Gathering champion.

Among the day’s other highlights was the classic car display, which left from opposite the Queen’s Hall at lunch time.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns is delighted with the way the event is progressing.

“It’s been a fantastic first two days. The atmosphere has been brilliant, and crowds of enthusiastic spectators have watched some top quality competition,” he said.

“We couldn’t really have wished for anything more for the first two days – despite a bit of rain on Friday! And one of the most popular Friday events - the family ceilidh featuring top band Skipinnish - is still to kick off in The Queen’s Hall at 7.30pm this evening.”

Tomorrow is traditionally the flagship Gathering day, with a feast of dancing, piping and athletics competitions as well as the Cowal Hill Race and the massing of the bands in the evening.

Ronnie said: “If you haven’t already got a ticket, I would urge you to come down to the stadium tomorrow and get a taste of one of Scotland’s best family days out.”

A full list of the results of all today’s action will be posted on the website as soon as possible.
 
Spectators flock to day one of Cowal Highland Gathering 2014Spectators flock to day one of Cowal Highland Gathering 2014
Added: 28 Aug 2014
The crowds came out in Dunoon today as the world’s most spectacular Highland Games finally kicked off.

Visitors have been pouring into the town over the last few days in the run-up to what is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the Scottish calendar.

Today they joined scores of local people in flocking to the Gathering for the start of the action.

At 10am sharp the first event got underway - the Scottish National Highland Dancing Championships.

The Scottish Championships are one of three dancing competitions being held during the Gathering. The others are the Argyllshire Championship and the World Championship, which both take place on Saturday.

Today’s action saw top class entertainment from 361 dancers in 11 categories. Among the winners were:

• Chloe McClean from Edinburgh (14 years)
• Finley Duncan, Banff (15 years)
• Stacey Webster, Wick (16 years)
• Claire McLaughlin, East Kilbride (17 years)
• Stephanie Webster, Wick (18 years and over)

The Cowal 5K run took place this evening which saw last year’s winner Craig Ruddy from Inverclyde AC defend his title. Andrew Harkness from Greenock Glenpark Harriers was second with Sean Gaffney from Inverclyde AC in third. First local was Nathan Robinson in sixth overall and Chloe Simpson from Inverclyde AC was the first female runner.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted by both the crowds and the entertainment they witnessed.

“It’s no exaggeration to say Dunoon is the centre of the Highland dancing world this weekend,” he added.

“People across the globe who are serious about Highland dancing will be waiting with bated breath to see who comes out on top in the various competitions.

“If today’s action is anything to go by, we’re in for a real feast of top class dancing over the next couple of days.”

Ronnie said that all the meticulous planning which has gone on over the last few months seems to have paid off.

“So far, I’m pleased to say that everything has gone without a hitch. Even the weather gods smiled on us today, with no rain to dampen the spirits of either competitors or spectators,” he said.

“We’ve got a packed schedule for tomorrow and Saturday with something for everyone to enjoy, whether it be Highland Dancing, pipe bands, solo piping, heavy athletics, ceilidh music, running, cycle stunt teams, animal display teams, interactive storytelling or any of the many other attractions around the town this weekend.

“I’m delighted with how the first day has gone, and we very much look forward to welcoming everyone back again tomorrow for another day of spectacular entertainment.”

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Scotland is the perfect stage for events and there is still much for spectators to enjoy at the Gathering over the next two days. Cowal Gathering is one of our most exciting cultural events, which celebrates and showcases our rich heritage and with everything from Highland dancing and piping to food and drink there is something for everyone in Dunoon this weekend.”

 
Hair salon brushes off competition to win window-dressing contestHair salon brushes off competition to win window-dressing contest
Added: 27 Aug 2014
The competition among Dunoon’s traders to create the most visually striking Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) window display has been won by a town centre hair salon.

The Beauty Box on Argyll Street picked up the £250 first prize as well as its very own silverware – the Cowal Gathering Trophy.

The two runners-up were Argyll Vintners/The Sewing Bee and Electricom.

The challenge set by CHG organisers had been for each participating trader to display one of the Gathering’s many trophies in as eye-catching a way as possible.

Some 30 shops around Dunoon took part in the competition, which was judged by a three-strong panel

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said: “The support which local traders have shown for the Gathering in general - and this window competition in particular – has been fantastic.

“Many of them put in a tremendous effort to ensure their displays promoted the Gathering as well as they possibly could. I’d like to thank all those who took part for really getting in the festival spirit and showing Dunoon off in its best light.

“I know the panel of judges found it extremely hard to pick a winner, but The Beauty Box is a very worthy champion and I congratulate it on its efforts. I’d also like to express the Gathering’s gratitude to the PA23 BIDS team which sponsored the competition.

“Now we can concentrate our focus on the Gathering itself. This is the biggest weekend by far in the Argyll and Bute calendar, and we’re all looking forward to getting the show on the road.”

Thanks to the Dunoon Observer for the photo of the winners, Sanda Kent and Laura Docherty of The Beauty Box.
 
Dunoon shops pull out the stops for the GatheringDunoon shops pull out the stops for the Gathering
Added: 20 Aug 2014
The piping, dancing and heavy athletics might be the most hotly contested events at Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG), but there’s an equally serious competition going on in the centre of Dunoon.

Some 30 shops around the town are currently displaying one of the trophies which will be presented at the event. The one which is judged to be the most strikingly displayed will win a £250 cash prize plus its own silverware – the Cowal Gathering Trophy.

There will also be two runners-up, who will receive recognition of their efforts in the shape of something else to show off in their window displays!

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said: “There’s a real buzz about the town already, and its fantastic to see the Gathering trophies so proudly displayed by so many shops.

“The Cowal Highland Gathering is not just concerned with those who pay to come on the day. It’s an historic event which belongs to everyone who lives in Dunoon and the surrounding area, and initiatives such as this help to get people involved who might otherwise not have the chance to show their support.

“I’d like to thank the PA23 BIDS team for sponsoring the window-dressing competition. It’s going to be a hard one for the judges to adjudicate on when they make their assessment on Monday, but I’m sure we’ll have a worthy winner.”

The competition will be judged by three independent local people who have no association with either the Gathering or the shops themselves.
 
International visitors flock to CowalInternational visitors flock to Cowal
Added: 20 Aug 2014
Visitors from across the world are preparing to travel to Scotland to witness the thrills and spills of the world’s most spectacular highland games.

Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) invariably welcomes spectators from the likes of the United States, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. This year, tickets have also been snapped up by visitors from Russia, Switzerland and France – and a 26-strong group from Germany has even hired its own bus to make sure they get to the party on time!

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted by the level of international interest shown in the Gathering.

“The fact that we have people from so many countries buying tickets in advance shows what a great reputation this wonderful event has around the world,” he added.

“All the enquiries we’ve had from countries which might not have been represented in the past have ended up as sales not just of general admission tickets but also stadium seating tickets, which is fantastic.

“It’s a vote of confidence in the Gathering and our ability to put on a true Highland spectacle, and we’re very much looking forward to meeting – hopefully even exceeding – people’s expectations in that regard.”
 
Cowal set to welcome pipe bandsCowal set to welcome pipe bands
Added: 13 Aug 2014
Preparations for the world’s most spectacular Highland Games are now reaching their climax.

Among the issues being finalised this week in the run up to the famous Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) is the draw for the pipe band competitions, which was published today.

Some 26 pipe bands have signed up for this year’s event.

The bands, which are coming from as close as Dunoon to as far afield as Wolverhampton, are guaranteed to get a fantastic reception from the thousands of people who will flock to Dunoon for one of Scotland’s best family days out.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said although the pipe band numbers are lower than they have been in previous years – partly due to there being another piping competition in Stranraer on the same weekend - he was expecting the overall event to be as successful as ever.

“We always knew that the loss of our ‘major’ status last year would have an impact on our band numbers, and we’ve taken on the challenge of tailoring the event to compensate for that change,” he added.

“Of course, the Gathering will still feature pipe band competitions as one of its core components. The Cowal Pipe Band Championships remain among the world’s oldest and most prestigious piping trophies, and there’ll be no shortage of world-class skills on show as the bands battle it out for top honours.

“What we have managed to do over the last 12 months is to enhance the Gathering with a range of new attractions which we have not had the capacity to host in the past.”

Among these are a host of new family entertainments such as the Clan stunt bike team, a temporary ‘come and try’ mountain bike track, the Drakes of Hazard dog and duck display team and Glasgow Science Centre’s pop-up 3D cinema.

“This is the start of a new era for our famous event – one which we believe will prove to be every bit as successful as the previous one,” Ronnie said.

“Cowal Highland Gathering now boasts a bigger and better range of attractions than ever before, all built on the various elements of a traditional highland gathering.

“Piping is one of those elements. We’re delighted to be welcoming back old friends in 2014, and will be making every effort to grow our band numbers over the next few years.

“The stadium competitions are of course only one part of the piping entertainment at Cowal,” he added.

“There will still be the famous march down Argyll Street on Saturday evening after the prizegiving, with the most entertaining bands receiving prizes.

“And for those who are out and about in the morning, some of the bands making their way from the Queen’s Hall to the stadium will be stopping to entertain the Argyll Street crowds.

“We’ve been working all year to ensure that Cowal Highland Gathering 2014 goes off with a bang, and we’re confident everything is now in place to ensure that our competitors and spectators alike have a fantastic day out.”
 
Fish farming company sponsors Cowal GatheringFish farming company sponsors Cowal Gathering
Added: 11 Aug 2014
THE Board of the Cowal Gathering has today revealed that the Scottish Salmon Company (SSC) is the brand new title sponsor for this year’s event.

Taking place on the last weekend in August, 23,000 people are expected to attend the annual event in Dunoon, Scotland, widely recognised as the world’s most spectacular highland games.

Steeped in tradition, the annual Cowal Gathering has taken place for over 100 years against the stunning backdrop of Dunoon and promises world class pipe bands, heavy athletics, traditional wrestling and an atmosphere that is second to none.

The Scottish Salmon Company employs 104 in Argyll and Bute and over 450 staff along the west coast of Scotland and the Hebrides.

It is an active member of the communities in which it operates and recognises the importance of the Cowal Gathering, not only as a key date in the local calendar, but also as an international spectacle attracting thousands of people to the three-day event in Dunoon.

Commenting on the new title sponsors, Ronnie Cairns, chair of the Cowal Gathering said: ‘We believe there is a strong synergy with The Scottish Salmon Company and our joint aim is to recognise and celebrate local talent and passion.

‘Although this is the first year the company will be involved in the event, I hope we can use it to build the foundations for a longer term partnership.’

Leading local producers of quality salmon, The Scottish Salmon Company is proud to support an event that is firmly rooted in the hearts and minds of the local community.

‘The scale at which the Cowal Gathering has grown over the years is extremely impressive’, said Craig Anderson, MD of the SSC, ‘and the commitment and drive behind the organisers to ensure it continues to be a success across the communities, as well as on an international stage, is nothing but admirable.

‘As a business we are proud and passionate about our first-class salmon produce and recognise the important role our employees play in delivering this, we therefore see our involvement in the Gathering as an opportunity to celebrate with our staff and the wider community this fantastic showcase of Scottish culture and traditions.’
 
Changes to Highland Dancing running order – Cowal Highland Gathering FridayChanges to Highland Dancing running order – Cowal Highland Gathering Friday
Added: 04 Aug 2014
Due to high entries in the 12 and 13 year old competitions we have had to move the 12 and 13 year olds from the afternoon on the east stand to the morning. We have also moved the 8,9,10 and 11 year old from the morning in the east stand to the afternoon.

Anyone who has ordered morning tickets for the east stand will have received afternoon tickets and vice versa.

We included a note of the change with everyone who had a morning or afternoon ticket – but we wanted to highlight the change to anyone who has an all day ticket.
 
Gathering offers free entry to Cowal primary pupilsGathering offers free entry to Cowal primary pupils
Added: 30 Jul 2014
Cowal Highland Gathering is providing local families with an extra incentive to join the thousands of people who will flock to Scotland’s premier highland games event.

Every primary school pupil in Cowal will receive a voucher when they return to school next month, which entitles them to free admission to the event with a paying adult.

The promotion, sponsored by Inveraray Jail, was announced at the same time as tickets for the event became available through its office in Dunoon’s HIllfoot Street as well as via its website.

CHG Chair Ronnie Cairns said the event organisers wanted to give local youngsters every possible encouragement to join in the fun.

“We have worked very hard over the last year or so to ensure that we cement our reputation as one of Scotland’s top family events, and we’ve managed to secure some fantastic entertainment for our younger spectators this year,” he added.

“I’m delighted that every primary pupil in Cowal will be able to enjoy what’s on offer for free provided they come with a paying adult, and I’d like to thank Inveraray Jail for its generous sponsorship.

“Of course, there is no extra charge for the entertainment once spectators are through the gates. So once the vouchers have been distributed to children after the start of term, I’d encourage their parents to buy their own tickets as soon as possible and guarantee themselves and their families a wonderful day out.”

This year, the Gathering will feature bigger and better family and children’s entertainment than ever before.

Among the new additions are the world famous Clan Mountain Bike Stunt Team, the Drakes of Hazard sheepdog and duck display team and a pop-up 3D cinema from the Glasgow Science Centre.

In addition Artie Trezise, who spent 30 years as one half of The Singing Kettle – Scotland’s biggest children’s act – is returning by popular demand after the success of his ‘Artie’s Tartan Tales’ act last year.

There will also be come and try sporting arenas , including a mountain bike track, as well as the ever-popular Cowal Kids Tent featuring the usual mix of puppet shows, clowns, magicians and balloon benders as well as other attractions.
All this, of course, is in addition to the usual mix of Highland dancing, pipe bands, traditional wrestling, heavy athletics and ceilidh music.

There will also be entertainment on Dunoon’s Argyll Street throughout the day and evening, starting at 10.30am with children’s games and entertainment in the Argyll Gardens led by Cheeko the Clown. This will be followed by Canned Haggis, who will perform from the bandstand.

During the late morning and early afternoon some of the pipe bands coming from the Queen’s Hall will be stopping to entertain the crowds on Argyll Street on their way to the stadium.

At about 1.45pm, a pipe band will lead the hill race runners from the Argyll gardens to the race start line by the Burgh Hall ready for the 2pm start.

Later in the evening, after the prize giving in the stadium, the bands will make their way back down Argyll Street displaying their silverware. During this march they will be judged for the most entertaining band, with the winners receiving £500 – courtesy of sponsorship from Dunoon restaurant 51st State/La Cantina - and the re-introduced Davie Towie Trophy.

Two runners up will each receive £100, thanks to sponsorship from The Commercial and MacClures Bar.

Clanadonia, a tribal drum and pipe group, will also be on hand to entertain the crowds around the Argyll Gardens prior to the Western Ferries fireworks display.

“There really will be something for everyone, with entertainment for all ages throughout the day,” Ronnie Cairns said.

“The town is already starting to buzz with the event now only weeks away, and we’re counting down to what we believe will be a Gathering to remember.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering announces its 2014 ChieftainCowal Highland Gathering announces its 2014 Chieftain
Added: 23 Jul 2014
The ceremonial head of Argyll and Bute Council has been unveiled as the Honorary Chieftain of this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG).

Councillor Len Scoullar, Provost of Argyll and Bute, will accept the salute from the massed bands as well as present the trophies in the prestigious Highland Dancing and Pipe Band competitions.

Despite serving on the Council for 15 years – and holding many senior positions in the authority before becoming Provost last year - Councillor Scoullar, who represents the Isle of Bute, said he considers his nomination as CHG chieftain to be one of the highest points of his political career.

“The Gathering is a wonderful event, and one which means so much not just to Dunoon and the surrounding area but to Argyll and Bute as a whole,” he said.

“This area is very fortunate to host the world’s most spectacular highland games event, and I’m extremely honoured to be asked to be Chieftain this year.

“The sight and sound of the massed bands during the Gathering’s finale sends shivers up the spine of everyone who witnesses it, and I imagine that will be multiplied several times over when it’s me who they’re marching past!

“A glance at the list of previous Chieftains shows what illustrious company I’ll be joining, and the Gathering weekend will certainly be one of the most exciting and enjoyable roles I’ve had in the 15 years I’ve been a councillor.

“Having lived on the Isle of Bute for many years, Cowal is an area close to my heart. The Gathering is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what it has to offer to visitors not just from the rest of Argyll and Bute and Scotland more widely, but from all corners of the world.

“I fully expect them to be spellbound by the entertainment it provides. I know I will be.”
CHG Chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted to have Councillor Scoullar as this year’s Chieftain.

“The role of Provost in any Scottish local authority is invariably held by one of its most universally respected politicians, and Argyll and Bute is no exception,” he added.

“A retired businessman, Councillor Scoullar has spent the last 15 years working tirelessly to raise the profile of this area both nationally and internationally and has acted throughout his political career with honesty and integrity.

“He’s a worthy Chieftain, and we very much look forward to welcoming him to Dunoon for what is shaping up to be a fantastic event.”
 
Cowal Hill Race opens to entrantsCowal Hill Race opens to entrants
Added: 15 Jul 2014
Runners across Scotland are being urged to sign up for one of the most challenging 5km races in the country.

The Cowal Hill Race may only be in its second year, but it’s already an integral and very popular part of the Cowal Highland Gathering.

The race, which is sponsored by Argyll Financial Services, takes place on Saturday, August 30. Runners will set off from Dunoon town centre before scaling the 616ft ‘Camel’s Hump’ (Tom Odhar) and then finishing in the stadium.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted with the way the race enhanced the event’s programme last year.

“It proved a real hit both with competitors and spectators,” he said. “I don’t think you have to know much about running to realise that racing up the Camel’s Hump is quite some challenge, and the spectators gave the entrants a fantastic reception when they got to the stadium.

“Last year the list of competitors was a real mix of visitors and locals, and we’re hoping to see a large contingent of locals on the starting line again this year ready to give the visitors a run for their money.

“Every runner who takes part will receive a medal, and there are trophies for the first male, first female and first local runner which will be presented at 2.30pm in the stadium.

“I know there are lots of keen runners out there, so this is your chance to become a headline act in what promises to be a fantastic Gathering weekend. I’ll look forward to seeing you all on the starting line on August 30.”

Scottish Athletics guidelines means that only runners over the age of 16 are able to compete in the hill race.

However, younger runners are able to sign up for the ever-popular Cowal 5K Run which is held on the Thursday evening. Again there are trophies to be won, and all runners who finish the race will receive a unique Cowal Run medal.

The 5K race starts at 7.15pm on Thursday, August 28 at the Yachtsman’s Café on Victoria Parade, Dunoon. Runners can enter either online through the Gathering’s website, at the event office on HIllfoot Street or on the evening itself.

Cowal Hill Race entrants can register at http://www.cowalgathering.com/whats-on-hill-race.php, and those who wish to sign up for the Cowal 5K Run can do so at http://www.cowalgathering.com/whats-on-5k-run.php.

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Cowells plan transatlantic trip to CowalCowells plan transatlantic trip to Cowal
Added: 04 Jul 2014
If your surname happens to be Cowell, where better to host a family reunion than the famous Cowal Highland Gathering?

Living several thousand miles away hasn’t put the Cowell family from America off one bit. In fact, nearly 20 of them are gearing up to make the trip to Dunoon at the end of August.

Various branches of the family are making their way from Texas, Georgia, Arizona and California to gather at the world’s greatest Highland Gathering.

The plan was hatched after Dale Cowell, who lives in Comfort, Texas, began researching his family background.

What he discovered made him want to come to Scotland and find out more. So now, accompanied by three of his five sons and various other family members and friends, he’s preparing for the trip of a lifetime.

At least two of the party don’t plan to simply sit back and soak up Cowal’s famous atmosphere. Dale’s son Walter and grandson Jac – who live in California - have already signed up to run the 5K.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns was delighted to learn of the family trip.

“It’s pretty special to think that this family has chosen our event to base its reunion around,” he said. “We’ll obviously do our best to put on a real spectacle for the Cowells and all the thousands of other people who are counting down the days until the Gathering kicks off.”

“We’re delighted with how the preparations are going, and look forward to another fantastic Gathering. I’d urge anyone who hasn’t bought their ticket yet to ensure they’re a part of the action by securing their spot in advance, whether in person from the Dunoon office or on the website.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

 
Gathering boosts wrestling competitionsGathering boosts wrestling competitions
Added: 20 Jun 2014
Some of the world’s top exponents of traditional backhold wrestling are expected at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering following news of two new competitions.

In the past, the Gathering has hosted the Scottish ’Open’ Championship at 15st 7lb and the female Scottish Open Weight (heavyweight) Championship.

Now – in consultation with the International Federation of Celtic Wrestling and the Scottish Wrestling Bond – Cowal has agreed to host two new competitions: the 13st 7lb Scottish ’Open’ Championship and the British ’Open’ 9st 7lb Championship.

Cowal Highland Gathering Chair Ronnie Cairns said: “Backhold wrestling is one of the major Celtic wrestling styles, and is hugely entertaining to watch.

“The wrestling is always a very popular part of our schedule, so we’re delighted to double the number of competitions we’re hosting. By extending the opportunities to athletes of differing weights, we’re opening up the championships to fantastic wrestlers who up until now have not been able to compete at Cowal and this year, once again, we look forward to welcoming the Breton and Icelandic teams to our world famous Gathering.

“I’d like to thank our wrestling convener Wullie Baxter, a former Commonwealth and Olympic Wrestling coach and currently head of the Scottish Wrestling Bond, for his invaluable help and advice in re-organising our competitions.

“Spectators at this year’s Gathering are not now simply in for a feast of piping and Highland Dancing, but also wrestling and traditional Scottish heavy athletics. They’ll witness the sort of strength and athleticism which most of us can only marvel at and I, for one, can’t wait for it all to get started.”

Backhold wrestling involves the two wrestlers ‘taking hold’ of each other by putting the left arm over the opponent’s right (and the right under the left), and clasping their own hands behind the opponent’s back. When the referee is certain that a fair hold has been taken he shouts ’hold’ and the bout commences. The wrestlers then attempt to trip or throw each other while maintaining the hold. The first to touch the floor with any part of the body except the feet - or to break their hold - loses.

Wullie Baxter said he was delighted to see the Cowal wrestling championship expanded.

“Traditional wrestling is a sport full of genuine skill, strength and excitement," he added. "Some people’s only experience of watching ’wrestling’ is what they see on TV, which is often only a small part wrestling and quite a large part acting. I can assure everyone there’s no acting in our sport.

"There’s also always the possibility of a genuine upset. Two years ago, to the great amusement of our spectators, a female Breton wrestling champion beat the then Scottish champion by three falls to one in the preliminary rounds. Humiliated, he retreated to the crowd and pondered his defeat before - thanks to the ’pool’ system’ - meeting her again in the finals.

"This time he won. I think he vowed never again to drink whisky before wrestling at a Highland Games. It was a hard lesson for him to learn, but it ensured the sport had hundreds of new fans. The crowd loved it, and we look forward to putting on some equally great entertainment this year.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Top dancing judges line up for Cowal Top dancing judges line up for Cowal
Added: 16 Jun 2014
The world’s best Highland Dancers are preparing to wow the audience at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – and watching their every move will be some of the world’s most respected judges.

The judging team for this year has just been announced, and once again it has an international feel with top adjudicators heading to Dunoon from Scotland, Canada, the USA and Australia.

The 12-strong team will oversee the most important events in the global Highland Dancing calendar – the Scottish National Highland Dancing Championships (on the Thursday), the Scottish Championship (Friday) and the final of the World Highland Dancing Championship (Saturday).

The judges for this year are:


• Doreen Bowie (Scotland)


• Jean Swanston (Scotland)


• Rachel McLagan (Scotland)


• Jennifer Wilson (Canada)


• Gillian MacDonald (Canada)


• Andrea Tronnes (USA)


• Christie Freestone (USA)


• Jacqueline Wilson (Australia)


• Victor W Wesley (Scotland)


• Susan Robertson (Scotland)


• Lena Anne MacDonald (Scotland)


• Theresa Kelly (Scotland)



Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said: “We are delighted to announce this prestigious adjudication panel, and have no doubt that the individuals on it have the necessary expertise and experience to judge the world’s greatest Highland Dancing festival.

“The dancers currently practising for Cowal Highland Gathering have a huge challenge ahead. Not only are they competing against the finest in the world, but they’re also dancing in front of some of the best judges in the world and, of course, the most discerning audience in the world as well!

“We’re very grateful to the various dancing organisations who have helped us in the adjudication panel selection process, and we look forward to another Highland Dancing extravaganza when the 2014 Gathering kicks off on August 28.”

The organisations which have provided judges are the British Association of Teachers of Dancing (BATD), ScotDance Canada, the Federation of United States Teachers and Adjudicators (FUSTA), the Australian Board of Highland Dancing Inc (ABHDI), UKA Dance and the Scottish Dance Teachers Alliance (SDTA).

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.
 
Beat the rush for Family Ceilidh tickets Beat the rush for Family Ceilidh tickets
Added: 11 Jun 2014
Tickets have just gone on sale for one of the most popular events of the Cowal Highland Gathering extravaganza.

People hoping to start their weekend with a bang at the celebrated Family Ceilidh on Friday, August 29 are being urged to buy their tickets now.

The event – held in Dunoon’s Queen’s Hall - has been a sell-out for the last two years.

Following last year’s success, the ceilidh will again feature top band Skipinnish, who are also headlining the ceilidh tent entertainment the following day.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said: “We’re delighted that fans of traditional Scottish music again have the chance to see a band of Skipinnish’s calibre twice in two days.

“I’ve no doubt the Family Ceilidh tickets will be snapped up, as the event is always one of the highlights of the weekend. It’s a fantastic way to get the whole family into the swing of Cowal Gathering.

“It’s been a sell out for the last couple of years, so I would advise people not to wait until the last minute to get their tickets as the chances are there won’t be any left!

“Buying tickets only takes a few minutes, whether it be through our booking line or our website.

“It promises to be a great night out for all the family, so guarantee your tickets now and prepare to have a ball.”

Tickets for the Family Ceilidh cost £10 for adults and £4 for children. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.


This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Top storyteller returns to weave his magicTop storyteller returns to weave his magic
Added: 10 Jun 2014
One of Scotland’s most celebrated children’s entertainers has confirmed he will be returning to Cowal Highland Gathering this year.

Artie Trezise – who spent 30 years as one half of the famous Singing Kettle, Scotland’s biggest children’s act – will be back with his unique brand of interactive storytelling.

Last year, his ‘Artie’s Tartan Tales’ shows proved a huge hit with hundreds of children.

Instead of a kettle, Artie’s only prop is a tartan trunk filled with souvenirs and trinkets to weave into his traditional but interactive Scottish stories.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said the feedback on Artie’s shows last year, from both children and their parents, had been fantastic.

“We pride ourselves on being one of Scotland’s foremost family events, so we naturally want to ensure that we’ve got top entertainment for spectators of all ages,” he added.

“Artie is obviously a huge draw for our younger spectators, who really loved his shows last year. We’re delighted he’s coming back to weave his magic again.”

Entry to Artie’s shows will be free, provided the children have entry tickets to the stadium.

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Cowal Pipe Band Championship prize pot among the biggestCowal Pipe Band Championship prize pot among the biggest
Added: 14 May 2014
Some of the world’s top pipe bands will battle it out for one of the biggest prize pots available when the Cowal Pipe Band Championship kick off at the end of August.

The prizes on offer for bands placed at Cowal Highland Gathering’s (CHG) piping festival are more generous than they would receive at most of the major championships.

In addition, the competition entry fees are lower for Cowal than for other events – meaning that winning bands will be going home flush(ed) with more than just their success!

The prize money on offer for first placed bands at the Cowal Championships ranges from £1,000 for Grade 1 entrants to £500 for the novice category. Those placed sixth can win from £250 (Grade 1) to £100 (Novice).

The total prize money available to bands – not including the drum major competitions – is a massive £19,750. And with each band able to compete twice, there is double the opportunity to take a share of that sum home.

The entry fees for the Cowal Championships range from £14 for a Grade 1 band to £8 for Novice and Juvenile entrants.

The only major championship to offer more prize money to the winning Grade 1 band is the World Championships in Glasgow in the middle of August.

All other majors give £750 to their winning Grade 1 band. And all charge a £20 competition entry fee.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said the bands were already signing up in numbers to battle it out for top spot.

“We’ve already got 25 bands committed to coming to Cowal this year, which means that our spectators are once again in for a real feast of top class piping,” he added.

“Of course, most don’t come for the money on offer. What they’re after is the prestige of being able to call themselves ‘Cowal Champions’.

“However, the prize money on offer here is significantly higher than at other championships and this, coupled with the lower entry fees, certainly plays a part in the popularity of our event.

“We’re very excited by the quantity and calibre of the bands showing interest in competing this year, and I’m sure there are many who have not yet submitted their forms but who are planning to enter between now and the closing date of August 9.

“Anyone who has been to the Cowal Championships in previous years will no doubt remember the tension, excitement and fantastic skills on show as some of the best bands in the world battle it out for the coveted first place.

“I’m delighted to say that this year is shaping up to be every bit as entertaining as in previous years. We look forward to what we’re confident will be another spectacular piping extravaganza at this year’s event.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

Entry forms for the pipe band and drum major competition are available at http://www.rspba.org/documents/Entry_Cowal.pdf

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering attracts top ceilidh actsCowal Highland Gathering attracts top ceilidh acts
Added: 12 May 2014
The Cowal Highland Gathering has once again ensured that its famous Ceilidh Tent will feature some of Scotland’s most exciting and dynamic traditional music acts.

The line-up of bands for the 2014 event, announced today, promises not only to excite existing ceilidh music fans but also generate scores of new followers.

Leading from the front again will be Oban-based Skipinnish, who brought the house down when they headlined the show last year.

They will be joined by three of the hottest up and coming names on the traditional music scene – Hell for Leather, the Argyll Ceilidh Trail and the Reel Time Ceilidh Band.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted to have secured such a high quality line-up.

“We received fantastic feedback on the Ceilidh Tent entertainment last year, and we’re determined to at least match that at this year’s event,” he added.

“I’ve no doubt that this year’s bands will be equally popular, as all four of them are dynamic trailblazers for contemporary Highland ceilidh music. It’s a unique opportunity to enjoy their incredible talents in one place, on one day.

“Skipinnish will also be playing at our Family Ceilidh the night before, for which the tickets will shortly go on sale, so there’s the chance to see them twice in 24 hours!

“This is just the latest in a string of exciting announcements about the entertainment on offer this year. We’re very excited about how the 2014 Gathering is shaping up, and we’re continuing to explore all avenues in order to ensure we put on the best show we possibly can.”

Skipinnish needs little introduction to traditional Scottish and gaelic music fans, being one of the country’s most popular established ceilidh bands.

The band was formed in 1999 by piper Andrew Stevenson from Achnacarry near Fort William and Angus MacPhail from Tiree, when both were students at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

Since then their infectious brand of Highland music – featuring the combined power of accordion, bagpipes, bass, vocals, guitar, drums, and whistles - has been heard in locations across the world from the Marine Hotel in Mallaig to the Hyundi Hotel in South Korea.

Skipinnish was relaunched in 2013 with a new lineup and new CD and was in big demand for festivals, concerts, dances, weddings, radio broadcasts and television appearances. Their stunning new singer, Robert Robertson, was a 2013 Mod Gold medal winner.

Andrew and Angus are partners in the Skipinnish brand that also operates the popular ceilidh house in Oban and Fort William, which offers visitors to Scotland a taste of Scottish traditional music and dance. They also have their own recording company, which includes the popular Skerryvore band, previous performers at Cowal.

Supporting Skipinnish will be three acts with very different – but equally exciting – approaches to Highland music.

Hell for Leather, which has played together for 14 years, has strong family connections throughout Argyll and the Western Isles, and one of its band members was born in Dunoon.

The band performs on highland bagpipes, mandolin, electric and acoustic guitar, accordian, bodhran and vocals. Hell for Leather is also accompanied by highland dancer and tenor drummer Chloe Campbell Bowman.

The band has played at festivals and functions throughout Scotland and some members have also performed abroad, including at New York’s Tartan Day Parade in 2013.

The Argyll Ceilidh Trail comprises eight talented young traditional musicians who will perform throughout the area during August.

The first Ceilidh Trail was established in 1999 in the Highlands to help young musicians develop their performance skills and create a vibrant traditional music entertainment programme. Since then annual Ceilidh Trails have been established in different parts of Scotland, and 2014 is the fifth year in Argyll.

Participants are selected by interview before having an intensive week training at the Centre For Excellence In Traditional Music in Plockton, Wester Ross.

This year’s musicians will perform on accordion, fiddle, pipes, keyboards, flute, whistle, guitar and vocals. This is the group’s first visit to Cowal.

The fourth band to fire up the Ceilidh Tent will be the Edinburgh-based Reel Time Ceilidh Band, which offers traditional music with a contemporary twist.
The band usually performs as a three or four piece with bagpipes, guitar, keyboard and drums.
This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.


 
Solo Piping Competition Entry FormsSolo Piping Competition Entry Forms
Added: 29 Apr 2014
Entry forms for the solo piping competitions on the Friday of the Cowal Gathering will go live on our website (www.cowalgathering.com) at 12 noon on Wednesday 30th April 2014.

Links to the entry forms will be available from that ime on the competitor side of the website.

Closing date for entries is the 1st July 2014 and no late entries can be accepted after that date.
 
Australian dancer prepares for trip of a lifetimeAustralian dancer prepares for trip of a lifetime
Added: 24 Apr 2014
An Australian teenager is preparing to travel nearly 11,000 miles to fulfil her dream to dance in Scotland.

Champion Highland dancer Ashley Draper, from the Australian state of Tasmania, has won a scholarship to come and pit her skills against the best in the world at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG).

Ashley has been dancing since the age of four, and has won several national titles back home in Australia.

Her dream has always been to come to the home of Highland Dancing and compete in the major Scottish dancing championships. Now that dream has become a reality.

Ashley has been named the recipient of the Gordy Wilson Memorial Highland Dancing Scholarship, which will pay for part of her airfare along with her entry fees to the competitions in which she takes part.

One of those – which may well prove the highlight of her trip – is CHG.

Ashley said she had always felt an affinity with Scotland because of her love for Highland Dancing.

“I’ve always wanted to come and experience Scotland and dance in the Scottish competitions, but it was always just a dream. I never expected it to actually happen,” she added.

“I’m so excited. It really is going to be the trip of a lifetime, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of it regardless of my competition results – although I’m training hard to ensure that I do my own country proud.

“I’m very grateful to all the people who’ve helped me get to this stage, and I just can’t wait to get on the plane.”

Ashley will be accompanied on her trip by her mum Karen, dad Dean and 13 year old brother Nicolas, who is learning the bagpipes.

Peter Gordon “Gordy” Wilson, in whose memory the scholarship was set up, was born in Scotland. He migrated to Australia in 1995, but never lost his love for his Scottish heritage.

His mother was a Highland dancer, so Gordy was extremely proud when his daughters followed in her footsteps.

He was due to watch them dance in Scotland in 2007. However Gordy – who was a policeman – was tragically killed in the line of duty in November 2006.

A scholarship was later set up in his name to preserve his dream of promoting Highland Dancing and the Scottish culture in Australia by supporting Australian Highland Dancers in their dream of representing their country at the World Highland Dancing Championships.

Coincidentally, Ashley’s own grandfather was a policeman in Tasmania for 40 years.

“There are several reasons why I feel a bond with Gordy and his family, and I’m very humbled to win the scholarship,” she said. “It gives me the chance to dance not just for myself and my own family, but also for his family and in honour of his memory.

“It will be wonderful to think Gordy’s friends and family will be cheering me on from somewhere. In fact, his parents and sister who live in Scotland are coming to watch me dance while I am there. I really look forward to meeting them, and hopefully will build a life-long relationship with them.


“I’m really looking forward to experiencing Highland Dancing in its home country and immersing myself in its history and culture, and the added bonus is that the trip is bound to have a big impact on my future dancing career.”

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said Ashley will be a guest of honour at this year’s event.

“There are many thousands of Highland Dancers all round the world, but not many of them manage to get themselves to Cowal,” he added.

“Yet here’s a teenager from about as far away as it’s possible to get who – through her own talent, hard work and dedication – has turned her dream into a reality. I think it’s wonderful.

“I hope Ashley has a fantastic time at Cowal and during the rest of her trip to the UK, and that she takes home many happy memories of Scotland and the Scottish people.

“We’re gearing up to put on what promises to be a spectacular show, and will be putting the finishing touches to the schedule over the next couple of months. I look forward to welcoming Ashley and all the other thousands of competitors and spectators at the end of August.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.

For more information or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Cowal Pipe Band Entry Forms AvailableCowal Pipe Band Entry Forms Available
Added: 09 Apr 2014
Entry forms for this year’s Cowal Pipe Band Championship are now available via the RSPBA website.http://www.rspba.org/documents/Entry_Cowal.pdf

We are pleased to have been able to keep the prize money on offer for the Cowal Championships at the same level as it was as a "major" as well as still offering some of the most historic and prestigous trophies available to pipe bands.

We are working to re-introduce some of the fun elements for pipe bands as well including, the march up the street and the prize for the most entertaining band. More information these will be available in due course.



Website: http://www.rspba.org/documents/Entry_Cowal.pdf
 
Western Ferries ramps up its support for Cowal Highland GatheringWestern Ferries ramps up its support for Cowal Highland Gathering
Added: 28 Mar 2014
Scotland’s most spectacular Highland Games is celebrating after learning of a major sponsorship boost.

Dunoon-based ferry company Western Ferries (Clyde) Limited, which has in the past sponsored Cowal Highland Gathering’s (CHG) closing Fireworks display, has committed to increase its sponsorship of the event to £8,000 per year over the next three years.

The news was welcomed by CHG chair Ronnie Cairns, who said such a visible vote of confidence from such a high profile local company was bound to have positive knock-on effects for the event.

“This is great news, and we are very grateful to Western Ferries for their ongoing support of our event,” he added.

“Western Ferries’ support of the Games also goes beyond this direct financial support. Every year they provide additional sailings, thereby enabling the competitors, visitors and exhibitors to commute with minimal delay.

“Having the backing of major companies such as Western Ferries shows that the local business community not only sees our event going from strength to strength but actually wants to be a part of its continued development.”

In the past, Western Ferries sponsorship has covered the cost of the iconic fireworks display which traditionally brings the Gathering to a close on the Saturday night.

“A proportion of this sponsorship will still be spent on the fireworks, which will continue to be branded as the ‘Western Ferries’ Fireworks Display”, Ronnie said.

“We are delighted to secure the funding of the display for the foreseeable future.

“The remainder of the £8,000 will go towards ensuring that we attract the maximum possible number of spectators and put on the best possible show for those lucky enough to have tickets.

“This is a time of transition for Cowal Highland Gathering, as we seek to broaden its appeal while at the same time retaining and enhancing its core competitive and cultural elements.

“We’ve taken some very positive steps over the last few months, and we’re excited about how our plans for this year’s event are coming together.

“With the support of companies such as Western Ferries, we’re confident that Cowal Highland Gathering will cement its position as one of Scotland’s premier family events.”

Western Ferries’ Managing Director Gordon Ross said the firm was delighted to increase its sponsorship for such an historic local event.

“We have recently celebrated our 40th year of operation, and during that time have enjoyed tremendous support from the Cowal community,” he added.

“Hence Western Ferries were very keen to boost our support of that community, and what better way to do that than to make a meaningful long-term commitment to perhaps its most famous export. Western Ferries’ wider sponsorship programme supports many local events, groups, charities and individuals with the total investment running to tens of thousands of pounds every year.

“Cowal Highland Gathering has been wowing spectators for 120 years and I am confident it will still be doing so for another 120 years.

“It is a fantastic event of which Cowal as a whole should be extremely proud, and I have no doubt that this year’s Gathering will be the most enjoyable yet.

“Western Ferries is proud to be associated with one of the highlights of the Scottish calendar, and we very much look forward to being there when the action kicks off at the end of August.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 – Saturday 30 August.

For information or to book tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailinginfo@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.
 
Top cycling stunt team heading for Cowal 2014Top cycling stunt team heading for Cowal 2014
Added: 19 Mar 2014
The organisers of Cowal Highland Gathering 2014 have announced a spectacular addition to this year’s schedule of attractions.

The UK’s most exciting and dynamic cycling stunt team – The Clan – will be performing at the event for the first time.

The Clan has wowed audiences across the world with its gravity-defying shows, including when it performed both before and after the London 2012 cycling time trial - won by Bradley Wiggins - at Hampton Court Palace.

More than 10 million people have witnessed the team’s skills on TV. Now spectators at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) have the chance to join the 300,000 people who have been lucky enough to see the fearless riders in action live.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said securing attractions such as The Clan was part of the ongoing effort to ensure that the event continues to evolve and improve, while at the same time retaining its core competitive and cultural elements.

“We pride ourselves on being one of Scotland’s top annual family events, and as such we need to continue to look for the very best entertainment for all ages,” he added.

“We hope that having a world-class attraction such as The Clan will not only improve the spectator experience for the thousands of people who have been coming to the Gathering for years, but will also broaden the event’s appeal and attract new visitors for the future.

“I don’t think anyone who has seen The Clan in action will disagree with me when I say their performances are literally breathtaking, and they will make a fantastic addition to our event.

“The Gathering has always boasted the ‘wow’ factor in terms of its piping and dancing competitions, and it now boasts it in its entertainment line-up as well.

“We’re very excited about how this year’s event is shaping up, and it’s now all systems go to ensure we make the most of the opportunities we’re creating.”

The Clan’s manager Iain Withers said the team is excited to be adding CHG to its list of 2014 engagements.

“Although we’ve got 1,000 shows under our belt – some of them in front of global audiences – community events remain the cornerstone of our business,” he added.

“Our aim is to show cycling in a new, exciting guise and enthuse people to take up the sport themselves. Events such as Cowal Highland Gathering give us the perfect platform on which to do that.

“Some of the spectators will no doubt have seen The Clan in action before, either on TV or live, so will be aware of the incredible skills of our riders.

“If you haven’t had the chance to see our show before, we look forward to raising your heart rate. I don’t want to give too much away, so let’s just say our team can do some genuinely amazing things on bicycles.

“We’re delighted to be coming to Cowal. We’ve heard great things about the Gathering, and we’re excited to be adding some additional adrenaline to the proceedings!”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering – which takes place in association with charity partner Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) – runs from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August. The Clan will be performing on the Saturday only.

For more information about the event or to buy tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.

For more information on The Clan, please go to the team’s website at www.mb7.com/theclan

ENDS
 
Cowal Highland Gathering announces new charity partnerCowal Highland Gathering announces new charity partner
Added: 10 Mar 2014
Scotland’s premier Highland Games event today announced it has joined forces with one of the countries’ best-loved charities.

Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) is teaming up with Children’s Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS) as its first ever charity partner.

CHAS provides the only hospice services in Scotland for children and young people who have life-shortening conditions for which there is no known cure.

The charity runs two children’s hospices – Rachel House in Kinross and Robin House in Balloch – and a home care service called CHAS at Home.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said he was ‘extremely excited’ by the development.

“CHAS is one of the best-known and best-loved charities in Scotland, providing vital services for children and young people with life-shortening conditions and much-needed support for their families,” he said.

“Cowal Highland Gathering is delighted to welcome the charity on board as an official partner – not least because we believe the agreement will help CHAS raise a significant amount of money towards the millions it needs every year to continue the wonderful work it does.”

The partnership will enable CHAS to raise its profile through exposure on CHG’s website as well as its Facebook page and Twitter account. The charity will also feature in the event’s promotional leaflets and its official programme.

CHAS will also have a stand at the Gathering in order to raise awareness of the work it does and allow people to make donations on the day.

In addition, anyone buying a ticket on CHG’s website, will find the online booking form will gives them the option to make a donation to CHAS at the same time as booking their tickets.

“We are asking everyone who buys a ticket to consider making a donation to CHAS, although of course it won’t be compulsory,” Ronnie said.

“Last year more than 17,000 people attended the Gathering, so even a small amount from each of those people would have raised a great deal of money for what is a fantastic charity.

“We’re very hopeful that the vast majority of our competitors and spectators will show their appreciation of the work CHAS does by making a wee donation at some stage between when the tickets go on sale and the event itself.”

CHAS Fundraiser Samantha Reilly said: “Not only will the Cowal Highland Games raise money for CHAS, it will raise valuable awareness. Every day it costs £25,000 to run CHAS care services. We couldn’t support children and young people across Scotland without your help.

“We are proud to be the charity partner for the Cowal Highland Games 2014 and hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Please give what you can, it means the world to our families!

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering takes place from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com or contact the event office by emailing info@cowalgathering.com or phoning 01369 703206.

For more information on CHAS, please visit www.chas.org.uk
 
Cowal Highland Gathering 2014 – Ticket Sales Cowal Highland Gathering 2014 – Ticket Sales
Added: 14 Feb 2014
Tickets for the 2014 Cowal Gathering will go on sale online at www.cowalgathering.com at 12 noon (UK time) on Monday 17 February.

To buy your admission and seating tickets, click the link on the website which will take you to the order pages. Once your order is complete you will receive an email confirming its success. As you will appreciate, this is a very busy time so please do not call the office to check on the progress of your order.

On the order page you will see that we have added a section that offers you the opportunity to make a donation to Childrens Hospice Association Scotland (CHAS). CHAS is our charity partner and we hope to raise awareness of this worthy charity as well as hopefully assisting them by raising funds for the incredible work that they do. CHAS Fundraiser, Samantha Reilly, said “Every day it costs £25,000 to run CHAS care services.

We couldn’t support children and young people across Scotland without your help”. “We are proud to be the charity partner of Cowal Highland Gathering and hope everyone has a fantastic weekend. Please give what you can, it means the world to our families.”

More details of our partnership with CHAS will follow, in the meantime please visit their website at http://www.chas.org.uk/ for more details of the wonderful work that they do.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering competition winners announcedCowal Highland Gathering competition winners announced
Added: 03 Feb 2014
The four lucky winners of this year’s free ticket competition have just been announced.

The quartet includes a Cowal Highland Games fan all the way from Canada as well as a 10 year old local girl from Sandbank.

All four spotted the trophy hidden in the smoothie bar in the competition artwork.

CHG Chair Ronnie Cairns thanked all those who entered, and said he was looking forward to seeing the winners at this year’s event.

“Congratulations to all four, and I very much hope they can all make use of their prize and come and enjoy what promises to be a spectacular event,” he said.

“We haven’t managed to get hold of a couple of them yet to tell them the good news, so if they’re reading this then I’d encourage them to get in touch with us by Friday, February 28 to claim their prize by emailing info@cowalgathering.com .”

The competition winners are Lorrie Donig from Canada, Amaidh Stoddart, Conner Mcmurchy and Iona Scott.

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering takes place from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering secures council fundingCowal Highland Gathering secures council funding
Added: 29 Jan 2014
Organisers of the world’s oldest pipe band competition have welcomed Argyll and Bute Council’s decision to maintain its existing level of financial support.

The council agreed to allocate the Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) £68,205 in 2014/15 – the sum set out in its ongoing Service Level Agreement(SLA) - despite the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association’s decision to remove the event’s ‘major’ status.

The wording of the SLA has now been amended to remove any reference to the fee for a ‘major’ championship.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said the decision was a welcome vote of confidence in the organisers’ ability to further develop the event and continue to broaden its appeal in the future.

“This consolidates the partnership we have with Argyll and Bute Council, and reinforces our joint ambition to ensure that this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering once again proves to be one of Scotland’s premier family events,” he added.

“The Gathering is Argyll and Bute’s largest annual event, and as such has a major economic impact not just on Cowal but on the wider area as well.

“The Council’s decision to maintain funding levels means that we now have a fantastic opportunity to further enhance the Games for the benefit of competitors and spectators alike.”

Plans are being drawn up for new attractions and entertainment such as demonstrations by the Clan Mountain Bike Stunt Team, a temporary mountain bike track in the stadium, a digital hub, family sport opportunities, arts workshops and a ‘Best of Argyll’ area with high quality local producers promoting and selling local food and drink.

“We’d like to create a more festival-type feel to the event, while of course retaining its core competitive and cultural elements,” Ronnie said.

“We believe this will broaden its appeal and so help attract new visitors, while at the same time catering for the many thousands of people who have had the Cowal Highland Gathering inked into their diary for many years.

“This vote of confidence from the council enables us to press on with our development plans, and we very much look forward to putting on a spectacular event come the end of August.”

According to an equation used by Event Scotland, the 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering generated £1.9million for the Scottish economy – with just over £1million of that directly benefitting Argyll and Bute.

In addition, the economic impact review of last year’s event shows the return on investment to Argyll and Bute is £16 for every £1 of Council support.

Councillor Vivien Dance, Argyll and Bute’s policy lead for Sustainable Environment, Renewables and Strategic Tourism, said: “This historic event attracts participants and spectators from around the world, and is a fantastic opportunity to show people some of the best of what Argyll and Bute has to offer.

“We wish to support the Gathering’s organisers as they meet the challenges posed by the loss of ‘major’ status and try new ideas for this year as they aim to ensure that it continues to be a very significant contributor to the local economy.

“We are pleased to be able to continue to work in partnership with the CHG and present no impediment to the Gathering going ahead this year. As the figures from last year show, our investment potentially has a huge return – not just financially but also in terms of raising the area’s profile both nationally and internationally – and we look forward to engaging with the organisers to review the event early in the autumn and wish them every success in 2014.”

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering takes place from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.


 
Cowal Highland Gathering 2014 taking shapeCowal Highland Gathering 2014 taking shape
Added: 17 Jan 2014
The organisers of the world’s most spectacular Highland games are confident the 2014 event will be one to remember.

Plans for this year’s 2014 Cowal Highland Gathering are already at an advanced stage, and chair Ronnie Cairns said this year’s event is shaping up to be a big hit with contestants and spectators alike.

“We have had some very positive meetings with our partner organisations, and I’m delighted with the progress we’re making towards finalising the details of the 2014 Gathering,” he added.

“In particular, we are working closely with the Glasgow and West of Scotland Pipe Band Association in a bid to enhance the pipe band competition and bring the fun back for the many hundreds of pipe bandsmen and women from all over the world who come to compete here.

“We’ve taken on board suggestions made by both competitors and spectators, and we also have a few other ideas up our sleeve to ensure that the 2014 Cowal Highland Gathering will once again prove to be one of Scotland’s top family events.

“We look forward to announcing the details of this year’s games over the next few months, but it will of course include the usual mix of Highland dancing, pipe bands, traditional wrestling, heavy athletics, ceilidh music and children’s entertainment.

“I’d encourage everyone to keep the last weekend in August free so they can come and join us for what promises to be a spectacular occasion.”

This year’s event takes place from Thursday 28 to Saturday 30 August.
 
 Cowal Highland Gathering proves a worldwide hit
Added: 12 Sep 2013
Figures released today show that this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering was a global success.

Thousands of people from across the world flocked to Dunoon for the three day extravaganza, both as competitors and spectators.

Those competing included 599 highland dancers, 132 pipe bands, 97 solo pipers, 88 5K runners, 54 hill race runners, 26 wrestlers and 13 heavy athletes.

The total attendance figure over the three days was some 17,500 people.

However, it wasn’t just those with tickets who were enthralled by the Gathering action. Technology enabled tens of thousands of others to keep abreast of the live action, wherever they were.

The Cowal Highland Gathering website scored an incredible 38,833 hits during the games from 18,307 unique visitors – a leap of 1,990% and 1,240% respectively on last year’s figures.

The website interest came from a total of 72 countries, the top ones being the UK (23,353), Canada (7,909), USA (4,011), Australia (2,300), New Zealand (697), South Africa (218), Netherlands (87), Germany (80) and Belgium (74).

One of the highlights for many of the internet visitors was the live stream from the main highland dancing stage, which had 23,626 views over the three days.

The Gathering’s Facebook page was even busier, with 118,283 people interacting with it in some way during the event whether that be seeing it, liking it, commenting on it or sharing posts.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said the figures surpassed even the organisers’ most optimistic predictions.

“These statistics are very exciting for us on two levels,” he said.

“Not only did we have many thousands of spectators here in Dunoon, but we also saw an explosion in the interest people are taking in our event through our website, Facebook page and so on.

“This interest came from every corner of the globe. Cowal Highland Gathering is proud to be able to call itself a genuine world-wide brand, and we are determined to build on this huge support base in future years.

“What we witnessed this year - both in terms of the level of competition and the enthusiasm of those watching it, wherever they were – was sensational.

“The feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive, which is very rewarding for the countless people who worked so hard over many months to ensure the event was a success.

“We’re focused on keeping up the momentum and riding the enormous wave of support we’ve experienced. We are now moving forward with real confidence, and look forward to welcoming everyone back to an equally fantastic games in 2014.”

Over the course of the last year, nearly 60,000 individuals accessed the Gathering’s website, together amounting to over 390,000 page views.

The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering was part of EventScotland’s National Events programme.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “2013 has been a great success for Cowal Gathering, both at the event and across its online channels.

“Scotland is the perfect stage for events and by looking at the event website and live streaming statistics, you can see that there is good interest from overseas markets.”
 
 Rousing finale to 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering
Added: 01 Sep 2013
Thousands of people from across the world gathered in Dunoon today for the finale of the celebrated Cowal Highland Gathering.

Competitors and spectators alike joined forces to ensure the event’s spectacular Saturday was a day to remember for everyone involved.

From the hundreds of dancers and pipers on show to the heavy athletes, runners and ceilidh tent performers, every participant contributed to what is being billed as one of the most successful days the Gathering has ever seen.

The standard of competition was breathtaking, with the world’s top competitors giving their all in a bid go home with the silverware.

One of the highlights of the Gathering’s final day – and one of the most fiercely contested – was, as always, the pipe band competition.

This year, Field Marshal Montgomery managed to hold off the challenge of Boghall and Bathgate Caledonia (2nd) and Scottish Power (3rd) to be crowned winners of the 2013 Grade 1 Cowal Pipe Band Championships.

Today also saw the Highland Dancing World Championship finals, with dancers from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA pitting their skills against the best the UK has to offer.

In the end, the three world championship winners were Morgan Bamford from New Zealand (adult), Megan Sweeney from Toronto, Canada (junior) and Kaylee Finnegan from California, USA (juvenile).

The highest placed Scottish dancers were Rebecca Thow from Aberdeen (fourth in the world adult class), Abbie MacNeil from Crookston (runner up in the world junior class, and Ellis Hayes from Newton Stewart (fourth in the world juvenile class).

Throughout the afternoon, four of the world’s hottest traditional music bands entertained the crowds in the now-famous ceilidh tent.

Leading the pack was Oban-based Skipinnish, who also brought the house down at last night’s family ceilidh. Today, they were ably supported by The Outside Track, Reely Jiggered and Heron Valley Ceilidh Band.

While they were playing, the heavy athletes and wrestlers battled it out in the main arena. Among the winners were Lucy Marshall from Crick, who smashed the previous 14ft Cowal record in the 28lb weight for height event by a massive 18 inches.

One of the highlights for the younger visitors this year was ‘Artie’s Tartan Tales’. Veteran entertainer Artie Trezise – who spent 30 years as one half of The Singing Kettle - used a tartan trunk full of souvenirs and trinkets as props for his traditional but interactive Scottish storytelling sessions.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said the event would go down as one of the most memorable in recent times.

He stressed that its success was in no small part due to the efforts and support of the people of Dunoon and the wider Cowal community.

“On behalf of the Gathering’s organisers, I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard over the last few months to ensure that the event was a success. I hope they are as pleased as we are with the results,” Ronnie said.

“I’d also like to thank the thousands of people who have come out to support the Gathering over the last three days. We’ve welcomed spectators not just from Argyll and Bute and Scotland more generally but from right around the globe, and the feedback we’ve received has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Of course we wouldn’t have a Gathering at all without the wonderful competitors, who excelled themselves this year. Those of us lucky enough to have been here witnessed levels of performance never seen before.

“We all know how popular the traditional Highland Games events such as the piping, dancing and heavy athletics are, and of course they remain the main draw. However, we’re delighted with the feedback we’ve had on some of the new attractions - such as the interactive storytelling and drumming workshops for youngsters – and we’ll continue to look at ways to further improve the event in the future.

“A big thank you again to everyone involved, and I hope we’ll see you back again next year”.

Dunoon residents and visitors are already starting to line the streets for the event’s show-stopping finale this evening – the massing of the bands and their march down Argyll Street at 7.20pm.

The final act of this year’s Gathering will be the firework display at Dunoon pier, which starts at 9.30pm.
The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering is part of EventScotland’s National Events programme.

A full list of today’s results will be put on the website at www.cowalgathering.com as soon as possible.
 
 Cowal Highland Gathering crowds enjoy spectacular day
Added: 30 Aug 2013
Visitors to the Cowal Highland Gathering today discovered why the event is billed as the world’s most spectacular Highland Games.The thousands who gathered in Dunoon were treated to a feast of top quality Highland Dancing, piping and heavy athletics as well as a variety of other entertainment.Those who arrived early were spoiled for choice, with the Scottish Highland Dancing Championships and the senior and junior solo piping competitions all taking place before lunch.In the dancing, the main results from across the eight events saw winners including: Cameron Walker from Denny who was awarded the Best Male Dancer in any of the Scottish Championships and Jessica Baillie from Letham who was crowned the Best Scottish Dancer (resident).In the senior solo piping, top honours went to Alex Gandy from Nova Scotia, who walked off with the Brymay Trophy which is awarded to the piper with most points in the top level.In the juvenille section, 11 year old Jamie Campbell from Strachur won the local march and the local Strathspey and reel. Jamie who is 12 on Sunday is thrilled with the achievement.The primary schools athletics competition also took place in the morning, with the crowd in fine voice as they roared the youngsters on.In the afternoon, the stage was set for the first of the spectacular heavy athletics competitions, with the world’s top athletes throwing their weight around in a bid to be crowned Cowal Highland Gathering champion.Among those who made their mark today were Kyle Randalls from Grangemouth who set a new Cowal record in the 16lb Scots Hammer. His throw of 41 metres 55cm is one of the furthest throws in Scotland this year and beat the previous Cowal record held by Jason Young of 39 metres 70cm.Another highlight of the day for a few lucky youngsters was a drumming masterclass with Stephen Creighton, lead drummer with the award-winning St. Laurence O’Toole Grade 1 pipe band.The afternoon also saw the Burgh Cup competition for solo piping, in which the placings were Craig Martin from Edinburgh, Daniel MacDermott from Rothesay and David Rischmiller from Dunoon.Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns is delighted with the way the event is progressing.“We couldn’t really have wished for anything more for the first two days – a fantastic atmosphere with great crowds and top quality competitions, with even the weather doing its bit!” he said.“The fun’s by no means over for the day, as we’ve still got one of the most popular attractions to come with the family ceilidh - featuring top band Skipinnish - kicking off in The Queen’s Hall at 7.30pm this evening.“Of course tomorrow is traditionally the flagship day for this wonderful event, with an incredible array of dancing, piping and athletics competitions as well as the new Cowal Hill Race and the famous massing of the bands in the evening.“If you haven’t already got a ticket, I would urge you to come down to the stadium tomorrow and get a taste of what promises to be one of the most exciting days the Gathering has ever seen.”The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering is part of EventScotland’s National Events programme. For more information, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com <http://www.cowalgathering.com> , drop in to its HIllfoot Street office or call 01369 703206.
 
 Crowds flock to day one of Cowal Highland Gathering
Added: 29 Aug 2013
Dunoon welcomed thousands of people today as the world’s most spectacular Highland Games finally kicked off.

Visitors have been pouring into the town over the last few days in the run-up to what is one of the most eagerly awaited events in the Scottish calendar.

Today they joined crowds of local people in flocking to the Gathering for the start of the action.

At 10am sharp the first event got underway - the Highland Dancing Scottish National Championships – this year sponsored by United Kingdom Alliance and British Association of Teachers of Dance.

The Nationals is one of four dancing competitions being held during the Gathering. The others are the Scottish Championship which takes place on Friday and the Argyllshire Championship and the World Championship, which both take place on Saturday.

Today’s action saw top class entertainment from 338 dancers in 11 categories.

Among the day’s other highlights was the classic car display, which left from Dunoon pier at lunch time and snaked through the town before arriving at the stadium.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted by both the crowds and the entertainment they witnessed.

“If today’s action is anything to go by, we’re in for a real treat over the next couple of days,” he added.

“All our preparations seem to have paid off. Even a bit of wet weather failed to dampen the spirits of competitors and spectators, most of whom come prepared for rain at some stage of the proceedings!

“We’ve got a packed schedule for tomorrow and Saturday with something for everyone to enjoy, whether it be Highland Dancing, pipe bands, solo piping, heavy athletics, ceilidh music, running, interactive storytelling or any of the other attractions around the town this weekend.

“I’m delighted with how the first day has gone, and we very much look forward to welcoming everyone back again tomorrow for another day of spectacular entertainment.”

The day’s events are not yet over, with the 5K Cowal Run due to start from the Yachtsman Café, West Bay at 7.15pm this evening.

The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering is part of EventScotland’s National Events programme. For more information, please visit the Gathering’s website at www.cowalgathering.com, or call 01369 703206.

A full list of today’s results will be posted on the Cowal Gathering website as soon as possible.
 
Change to Timings of the Scottish ChampionshipsChange to Timings of the Scottish Championships
Added: 06 Aug 2013
Please note that we have just received the running order for the Scottish Championships on the Friday.

Unfortunately due to the number of dancers in the 12yr and 13yr age groups it has been necesarry to change the timings of these competitions.

The 8yr, 9yr, 10yr and 11yr competitions will still take place on the East Platforms but will move from the morning to the afternoon, starting at 1.15pm.

The 12yr and 13yr competitions will move from the afternoon to the morning and will start at 9.00am, still on the East platforms.

We have tried to contact everyone who has either morning only or afternoon only tickets for the East Stand in order to arrange to swap your tickets over so you have seats for the correct times. However if you have not heard from us and wish to swap your tickets please contact the Gathering Office by e-mail info@cowalgathering.com or by calling 01369 703206.

If you have seats for the whole day there is no requirement to swap your tickets but please do note the change in time of the competitions.

We apologise for the late change to these events but it was necesarry to ensure the competitions run to time.

Please note there is no change to the competition times for the events on the main platforms.
 
2013 Drumming Masterclass 2013 Drumming Masterclass
Added: 05 Aug 2013
Cowal Highland Gathering is delighted to announce that it is to hold two masterclasses with Stephen Creighton, the lead drummer with the award winning St. Laurence O’Toole Grade 1 Pipe Band.

Stephen has offered to host two masterclass workshops at this year’s event on Friday 30th August. Stephen, from Dublin, has won many solo drumming awards over the years and the St. Laurence O’Toole Pipe Band features regularly in the Grade One top six prize list at the major pipe band championships.
The morning workshop (1100hrs - 1230hrs) will be open to any young person (of school age) who would like to come and try side (snare) drumming and who have no previous experience. All equipment will be supplied by Stephen and there will be no costs associated with attending the class.

The afternoon session (1400hrs - 1530hrs) is open to young drummers who have had some experience and wish to enhance their current skills and learn new skills from one of the world’s top drummers.

Sessions are limited to 20 attendees and places will be allocated on a strictly first come first served basis.

Application forms are available from the Cowal Highland Gathering Office in Hillfoot Street, Dunoon, by e-mail from info@cowalgathering.com or by calling 01369 703206.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering Introduce Hill RaceCowal Highland Gathering Introduce Hill Race
Added: 02 Aug 2013
Entry to the first Cowal Highland Gathering Hill Run opened yesterday (Thursday 1st August) with an online form available on this website.

The race which is sponsored by Argyll Financial Services of Ferry Brae, Dunoon, will take place on Saturday 31st August at 1.40pm and will certainly be challenging. With a strict one hour time limit for completing the course, the race will begin in Argyll Street. The athletes will run up John Street before climbing the Camel’s Hump, and will then return along the main road before finishing in the stadium. Prizes will be presented to the winning athletes and everyone taking part will recieve a medal.

And to get the party started early, local ceilidh band Canned Haggis will be performing in the Argyll Gardens bandstand from around 11.30am. They will be joined by Scottish country dancers before a perfromance by a pipe band (details to be confirmed) who will then pipe the runners to the start line at around 1.30pm.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said: ’We expect this to be a very popular event so would encourage people to get their entry forms completed as soon as possible.’

’We are delighted that Argyll Financial Services are sponsoring the event and believe the hill run is another way we can involve the whole of Dunoon in the Cowal Highland Gathering.’

’it promises to be a very competitive race and we are looking forward to this event becoming an annual fixture in the Cowal Highland gathering weekend.’

Entry costs £5.00 for members of Scottishathletics and £7.00 for non members. Follow the link below to the entry form...... and happy running.
Website: http://www.cowalgathering.com/whats-on-hill-race.php
 
 Cowal Highland Gathering Statement Regarding RSPBA Decision
Added: 26 Jul 2013
The Board of Cowal Highland Gathering has expressed it’s disappointment at the news that it has failed to retain its ’major’ status.

The announcement was made earlier today by the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA).

Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) Chair Ronnie Cairns said that everyone associated with the event was saddened by the decision.

’Naturally, we are extremely disappointed,’ he said. ’We believe our bid was as strong as it could be, and was significantly enhanced by the improvements to the venue made by Argyll and Bute Council’.

’The event will of course still feature a large pipe band competition, and we now have an excellent opportunity to enhance the Gathering with new attractions which we have not had room for in the past’.

’We will now be able, for instance, to bring in new family attractions for the first time such as a heritage tent, children’s entertainment, kitchen piping events, stunt bike shows and so on.’

The Gathering will still host the Cowal Pipe Band Championships, with bands competing for the world’s oldest and most prestigious pipe band trophies. it will also continue to host the World Highland Dancing Championships, international heavy athletics and traditional wrestling, as well as retaining it’s famous ceilidh tent.

’Far from being the end of the Gathering, this is simply the start of a new era - one which we believe will be every bit as successful as the one which is now coming to an end,’ Ronnie Cairns said.

’We would like to thank all those who have worked with us in supporting our ’major’ bid, in particular Argyll and Bute Council. We will of course continue to work with all our partners to ensure a bright future for the world’s most spectacular Highland Games.’

 
Top kids entertainment for Cowal Highland GatheringTop kids entertainment for Cowal Highland Gathering
Added: 17 Jul 2013
Children attending this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering will be spoilt for choice when it comes to extra entertainment.

Among the highlights of the kids entertainment will be Artie Trezise, who spent 30 years as one half of The Singing Kettle - Scotland’s biggest children’s act.

The veteran entertainer will be performing ’Artie’s Tartan Tales’. Instead of a kettle, his only prop will be a tartan trunk filled with souvenirs and trinkets to weave into his traditional but interactive Scottish stories.

Artie will be doing four sessions on Saturday 31st August at 11am, 12.30pm, 2pm and 3.30pm. The sessions are free to any child with a stadium ticket.

(Artie’s Tartan Tales are in association with the Daily Record and Specsavers)

For those who are more science minded, Glasgow Science Centre (GSC) will be on hand with its Bodyworks Tour. This ’science on the move’ will feature GSC representatives performing various experiments and shows for kids throughout the Saturday as they move around the event.

Still on a science theme, Edinburgh University will be hosting a stand full of fun free interactive activities for families, including games.

As always the Cowal kids tent will be present again this year with its usual range of kids entertainment featuring puppet shows, magicians, clowns and balloon benders. There is also no charge for admission to this tent once you are in the stadium.

Last , but certainly not least, we are pleased to have Cricket Scotland attending this year offering kids and adults the chance to try the sport.

We are confident there is something for kids of all ages and it will be a special day out for the whole family.......... So book your tickets now.
 
 Competitor Entries Now Closed
Added: 02 Jul 2013
Please note entries for competing in the highland dancing and solo piping competitions at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering have now closed and it is not possible to accept any late entries.

We wish all our registered competitors the best of luck at this year’s event.

 
 Competitor Entries Close 1st July
Added: 28 Jun 2013
Cowal Highland Gathering wish to remind competitors that the closing date for entering the Highland Dancing and Solo Piping competitions is the 1st July.

No late entries can be accepted under any circumstances so please ensure your entry is submitted now.
 
Top Acts announced for Cowal Gathering Ceilidh TentTop Acts announced for Cowal Gathering Ceilidh Tent
Added: 25 Jun 2013
The line up for the famous Ceilidh Tent at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering was revealed yesterday.

The quartet of acts includes some of the hottest up and coming names on the traditional music scene.

Leading the pack is one of Scotland’s most popular established ceilidh bands, Oban based Skipinnish.

Partners Andrew Stevenston and Angus McPhail have delighted audiences around the world since forming the band in 1999 whilst students at the prestigious Royal Scottish Academy of Drama and Music. The Skipinnish brand has since expanded to include not just the band but also ceilidh houses in Oban and Fort William, a record company and even its own whisky.

The band’s Cowal line up will be five strong, featuring accordion (Angus McPhail), bagpipes (Andrew Stevenston), bass, vocals, guitar, drums and whistles.

Supporting Skipinnish will be three acts with very different - but equally exciting -approaches to Highland music.

Multi-award winning band Outside Track brings an international flavour to this year’s event, with its members hailing from Canada, Scotland and Ireland.

Formed five years ago, the five strong band has already amassed an enviable haul of awards and has toured extensively in the UK, Europe, Canada and the USA.

The most recent award was Group of the Year at Live Ireland 2012 and at the TIR Irish Music Awards. The bands Scottish accordionist Fiona Black is a BBC Fame Academy Winner and Scottish harpist Allie Robertson is a five times Mod gold medallist and BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year finalist.

The Outside Track combines flute, harp, fiddle, guitar, accordian and vocals in energetic arrangements delivering traditional music with a modern twist. It also incorporates Irish and Canadian Cape Breton Step Dancing.

Also playing in the ceilidh tent will be Reely Jiggered, comprising sisters Alison and Fiona McNeill from Gourock and their cousin Scott Mclean from Glasgow.

Their contemporary take on Highland music features Alison (a BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year semi finalst) on fiddle and vocals, Fiona on guitar and vocals and Scott on drums.

For the Cowal Highland Gathering, the trio - who formed their band in 2008- will be augmented by Emma Murray on pipes and whistle and Hugh Cox on bass.

The fourth band to fire up the ceilidh tent will be Strachur based Heron Valley Ceilidh Band - no strangers to the Cowal Gathering having wowed the crowd with their debut performance last year.

The multi-talented teenagers -siblings Alex and Arlene McKechnie, Iain Wilson and Euan McNab- are now firmly established on the region’s ceilidh circuit.

Between them they perform on piano, accordion, fiddle, pipes (both Scottish small and Highland Bagpipes), box drum, guitar and banjo. Both Iain and Euan are accomplished solo pipers, as well as playing in Grade 1 Inveraray pipe band.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said: ’We are delighted to have secured such a fantastic line up of entertainment for this year’s ceilidh tent.’

’All four of these bands are dynamic trailblazers for contemporary Highland ceilidh music, and we’re thrilled that gathering spectators will have the chance to enjoy them all in one place, on one day.’

’Skipinnish will also be playing at our family ceilidh the night before, so there’s the chance to see them twice in 24 hours.’

’The announcement of the ceilidh tent acts is just the latest step in the build up to what is promising to be a great event’
 
Cowal Highland Gathering Announces 2013 ChieftainCowal Highland Gathering Announces 2013 Chieftain
Added: 18 Jun 2013
One of Scotland’s most respected politicians has been unveiled as the Honorary Chieftain of this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering.

Rt Hon Lord Robertson of Port Ellen, who was born on the Isle of Islay but spent most of his childhood in Dunoon, will accept the salute from the spectacular massed bands as well as present the trophies in the prestigous Highland Dancing and Pipe Band competitions.

The role of Chieftain is a far cry from selling souvenir programmes for the event, which is what Lord Robertson - a former pupil of Kirn Primary and Dunoon Grammar Schools - did in his younger days.

’It is a huge pleasure and honour for me to be Chieftain of the 2013 Cowal Gathering,’ he said.

’Having lived most of my youth a stones throw away from the stadium and been a games programme seller in the streets in all weathers, it is a true career high point for me.’

’The Cowal Highland Gathering is one of Scotland’s premier events and known throughout the world for its stunning spectacles. To be at it is thrill enough - to be the Chieftain is to achieve a personal pinnacle.’

CHG Chair Ronnie Cairns said: ’we are obviously thrilled to have someone of Lord Robertson’s stature as this year’s Chieftain.’

’He has always been a great supporter of Dunoon and the surrounding area and is proud of his many connections to the town.’

’He remains one of its most high profile sons, and we all very much look forward to welcoming him back to Dunoon for what is shaping up to be a fantastic event.’
 
Cowal Highland Gathering Spreads the WordCowal Highland Gathering Spreads the Word
Added: 14 Jun 2013
The world’s most spectacular Highland Games is hoping for the best ever turnout after completing a huge leaflet campaign.

Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) has just distributed 80,000 leaflets across Scotland’s central belt. They will appear in all major visitor attractions as well as superstores, hotels, service stations, shopping centres, train and bus stations and tourist information centres.

This year’s event, which takes place over the last weekend in August, will feature a classic car show, family ceilidh and fireworks display as well as the full range of highland dancing, piping and heavy athletics competitions.
The leaflets were delivered by Midlothian-based leaflet and poster distribution specialist EAE as in kind sponsorship.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said: ’Obviously we are extremely grateful to EAE for their support, which has given our event exposure on a scale which we otherwise could not have afforded to achieve.

’Thanks to EAE up to 80,000 individuals, families, groups or organisations will now have the chance to find out more about what Cowal Highland Gathering is all about, and how easy it is to come to Dunoon and get involved. ’That kind of exposure could have a significant impact on our visitor numbers. All the signs so far are that this is going to be an exciting year, and we’ll obviously continue to look for new innovative ways to promote our event between now and the end of August’.

EAE’s managing director Glen Bennet said his company was delighted to sponsor Cowal Highland Gathering for the third year running.

’We are committed to supporting community events such as this, and we look forward to providing more support in the coming years and extending the profile of the Gathering across the country.’ He added ’Scotland’s community events are many and varied, they are an invaluable addition to our unique cultural landscape and EAE wants to be involved to help ensure they thrive’

The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering runs from Thursday 29th to Saturday 31st August in Dunoon.
Website: http://www.eae.co.uk/
 
Friday Night Family Ceilidh Tickets On Sale Friday Night Family Ceilidh Tickets On Sale
Added: 06 Jun 2013
Tickets for the family ceilidh on the friday night (30th) of the Cowal Gathering are now on sale.

We are delighted to announce that Skipinnish will be the main act and are guaranteed to have you whirling and wheeling the night away.

Although the ceilidh is a new addition to the Cowal programme it has sold out in each of its first two years so don’t leave it too late to order your tickets.

Remember no babysitter required! its a family ceilidh so bring the kids too, they will enjoy it as much as you.

tickets can be booked at the link below.
Website: http://www.cowalgathering.com/book-online-ceilidh.php
 
 2013 Highland Dancing Judging Panel Announced
Added: 29 May 2013
Cowal Highland Gathering are delighted to announce the judging panel for the highland dancing championships at this year’s Cowal Gathering.

We are extremely grateful to the various national and international dancing organisations for their assistance with the nomination procedure these include the UKA, BATD, SDTA, ScotDance Canada, FUSTA and the ABHDI.

Details of the juding panel and short biographies are available here.
Website: http://www.cowalgathering.com/highland-dancing-judges.php
 
Solo Piping Entry Forms Online Solo Piping Entry Forms Online
Added: 01 May 2013
Solo Piping entry forms are now available via this website. The link can be found on the right hand side of any page on the competitors side of the website.

Please be aware that the closing date for entries is the 1st July 2013 and no late entries will beaccepted under any circumstances.

Don’t miss out get your entry submitted today.
 
Dancing Entry Forms to go Live Dancing Entry Forms to go Live
Added: 21 Mar 2013
Entry forms for the dancing competitions at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering will go live on Monday 25th March at 12 noon (UK time).

At this time a link will appear on the website which will direct you to the entry forms.

Please note that the dancing order will once again be decided by a random draw performed under the scrutiny of the SOBHD after entries close and NOT by the 1st to enter last to dance principle.

Competitor numbers and admission passes will be sent out in July.
 
2013 Admission and Seating Tickets to go on sale2013 Admission and Seating Tickets to go on sale
Added: 15 Feb 2013
Tickets for the 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering will go on sale on Tuesday 26th February at 12 noon (UK time).

At this time a link will appear on the website enabling the purchase of admission and seating tickets.

Once an order is placed you should recieve two automatic confirmations. The first confirming the order, the second confirming the payment. If you recieve both of these your order has been successful.

Tickets will then be issued in July 2013.
 
2012 DVD 2012 DVD
Added: 16 Nov 2012
Our partners at Cowal Media are delighted to confirm that the DVD of the 2012 Cowal Highland Gathering is now available.

As in previous years the DVD features footage of the World Highland Dancing Championships, the Grade 1 Pipe band Championships and the Burgh Cup solo piping competition.

Follow this link to the Cowal Media website to order your copy of the 2012 DVD http://www.cowal-media.co.uk/7.html
 
Cowal Gathering 2013 DatesCowal Gathering 2013 Dates
Added: 05 Sep 2012
The 2013 Cowal Highland Gathering will take place between:

Thursday 29th August to Saturday 31st August
 
Weather  looking upWeather looking up
Added: 23 Aug 2012
Weather is always an interesting factor in Argyll but it looks like the weather is going to be better than expected earlier in the week. There certainly isn’t any chance of it spoiling the event and the slight breeze will keep any midges at bay.

You may see a shower or two but plenty of dry too.

Follow the link to XC Weather for an update.
Website: http://www.xcweather.co.uk/forecast/dunoon
 
Reminder of Change of Dancing Order on FridayReminder of Change of Dancing Order on Friday
Added: 10 Aug 2012
We would like to remind competitors in the Scottish Championships on the Friday That there has had to be a change to the running order.

Competitors in events 8,9,10 and 11 will now compete in the afternoon and those in 12 and 13 will compete in the morning.

As mentioned in the previous notification we have contacted everyone with either am or pm tickets in the East Stand in order to facilitate swapping tickets.

Once again we apologise for this change but the number of competitors in the older age groups meant it was unavoidable.
 
Cowal Ceilidh Dance - The Bill Grows Cowal Ceilidh Dance - The Bill Grows
Added: 30 Jul 2012
This year the Family Ceilidh Dance, which takes place in the Queens Hall on Friday 24th August, will have even more entertainment for you all to enjoy.

As well as the excellent Ballochmyle Ceilidh Band, who were a huge success at last year’s sell out dance, the Cowal Pipe Band have also agreed to come back and play a set on the eve of the big competition. On top of this the Cowal Junior Fiddlers have also agreed to play a set on the night.

All of this and the tickets are cheaper than they were last year. £10 for an adult ticket and £4 for a child ticket, under fives are free.

Tickets are on sale now via this website. The ceilidh dance is sure to sell out again this year so don’t miss out - book today.
 
BBC Programme on Highland Games BBC Programme on Highland Games
Added: 06 Jul 2012
BBC Scotland were at last year’s Cowal Gathering and did a lot of filming and interviews whilst there for a programme on Highland Games and competitors.

The programme is to be shown on BBC1 on Sunday 8th July at 8pm. We hope that there will be plenty of footage from Cowal in the programme but we haven’t seen it yet and will be watching it on Sunday too.

You never know you may see yourself in the background!!
 
 Entries Close tonight (1st July)
Added: 01 Jul 2012
Today is the last day that you can enter the highland dancing and solo piping competitions for this year’s gathering.

The entry forms will be removed from the site at 22.00hrs tonight (1st July) and no further entries can be accepted.

Dont miss out, enter now.
 
Cowal Gathering introduces second facebook pageCowal Gathering introduces second facebook page
Added: 20 Jun 2012
The 1st Cowal Gathering facebook page now has over 5000 friends and unfortunately we are unable to add new friends. To ensure that people can still still sign up and follow the gathering we have set up a second page.

Any information posted on the new site will also be posted on the original page and vice versa so no one should miss anything.

Thanks to everyone who has signed up already and to those of you who will.
Website: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cowal-Highland-Gathering/173685399247?ref=tn_tnmn
 
Time Running Out to Enter CompetitionsTime Running Out to Enter Competitions
Added: 14 Jun 2012
We are now half way through June and the 1st July deadline for entering the highland dancing and solo piping competitions is getting closer.

Remember we cannot accept any late entries for either competitions under any circumstances. So please do not leave it to the last minute and risk missing out. Get your entry in now and be sure of your place.
Entry forms are on the competitor side of this website.
 
Reminder of Key DatesReminder of Key Dates
Added: 01 Jun 2012
Please remember that the closing date for entering the highland dancing and solo piping competitions is the 1st July. so you have only 4 weeks left to enter.
Late entries cannot be accepted so please do not leave it to the last minute and risk missing out. Get your entry in now for peace of mind.

Trophy Returns
The 1st of June was the final day for the return of any trophies won at last year’s gathering.

If you have not already returned your trophy please arrange to do so now and contact the office to let them know it’s on its way.
Thank you
 
 Family Ceilidh Dance Tickets Now on Sale
Added: 26 Apr 2012
Last year’s family ceilidh dance was hugely popular and we are delighted to be hosting another one this year.

The Queen’s Hall on Friday the 24th August at 7.30pm is the place to be.

By popular demand the Ballochmyle Ceilidh Band will once again be providing the music to dance the night away to.

Tickets are now on sale on the website so click the link and order them now....... don’t leave it too late, last year’s dance sold out.
 
Solo Piping Entry Forms to go LiveSolo Piping Entry Forms to go Live
Added: 19 Apr 2012
The entry forms for this year’s solo piping competitions will go live on the website on Monday 23rd April at 12 noon (UK time). At this time a link will appear on the competitor pages to take you to the entry forms.

Closing date for entries is the 1st July 2012 and no late entries can be accepted for any reason.

Please remember to submit your tune selections on your entry form if you are competing in Grade A,B or C.
Grade A need to submit 5 tunes for each event you are entering, Grade B 4 tunes for each event and Grade C 3 tunes for each event.

If you are entering the juvenile events you are not required to submit tunes.
 
Cowal Highland Gathering recognised in National AwardCowal Highland Gathering recognised in National Award
Added: 17 Apr 2012
At the recent National Outdoor Events Association (NOEA) annual awards dinner Cowal Highland Gathering was announced as the runner up in the NOEA Scotland Award. The NOEA say ’this award aims to give recognition to those events which have achieved the highest levels of excellence or have made a major contribution to the professionalism of the event industry in Scotland’

Cowal Gathering Event Manager, Malcolm Barclay, said ’we are absolutely delighted to have been recognised in such a prestigous award. Although we would have loved to have won, there is no shame in being runner up to an event of the calibre of the Royal Highland Show and to be runner up is still a major achievement, particularly when you consider some of the other huge events held in Scotland in the last 12 months. This announcement is a huge boost to our small team of staff and volunteers that bring the event together each year. I want to thank all of our volunteers, event partners, Argyll and Bute Council, our sponsors, competitors and visitors for their continued support.

Tom Clements, Chairman of NOEA Scotland, commented ’this year’s standard was tremendous and it is a great shame that we couldn’t have two winners, but Cowal Highland Gathering must be congratulated in being the runners up and indeed for producing a wonderful event, enjoyed by many as well as having a profound impact on the local Dunoon economy.

The Cowal Highland Gathering takes place annually in August in Dunoon, Argyll and Bute and is supported by Argyll and Bute Council.

Donald MacVicar, Argyll and Bute Council’s head of community and culture said ’this is great news, and a huge achievement for what is by some distance the biggest event in Argyll and Bute’s calendar.’
’The Cowal Highland Gathering is almost 120 years old, and is now in the diaries of many of the world’s top highland games competitors. Over each of the last few years the event has boasted some 3,500 competitors from as far afield as Canada, Australia and South Africa, and Dunoon and the surrounding area regularly welcomes 15,000 - 20,000 visitors for the three day show.’

’it is a vital contributor to the Cowal economy, as well as one of the country’s best loved and most spectacular highland gatherings. We are delighted that it challenged an event of the calibre of the Royal Highland Show for this coveted award, and we look forward to the Cowal Highland Gathering continuing to go from strength to strength in the future.’
 
Dancing Entries Going LiveDancing Entries Going Live
Added: 15 Mar 2012
Entry forms for all dancing events at this year’s Cowal Highland Gathering will be available on this website from Tuesday 20th March at 12 noon (uk time).
At this time a link will appear on the competitors pages of the site taking you to the entry forms.

Please read the information on these pages carefully because some of the event numbers have changed.

Competitor numbers will be allocated by a random, automated draw done after the closing date and not using the "first to enter last to dance" principle.

Entries will close on the 1st July 2012 and no late entries will be accepted for any reason.
 
Dancing Competition EntriesDancing Competition Entries
Added: 06 Mar 2012
The Entry forms for the dancing competitions at this year’s Cowal Gathering will be available on the website around the middle of March.

The exact date will be confirmed on the site very shortly.
Watch here for more information very soon.
 
Tickets soon to be releasedTickets soon to be released
Added: 10 Feb 2012
I am pleased to confirm that seating and admission tickets for this year’s Cowal Gathering will go on sale on Thursday 16th February at 12 noon (uk time).

As in previous years payments will be processed via Paypal for the security of your payment details, however, you do not need to have a Paypal account to pay in this way. Just have your debit/credit card to hand and follow the instructions.
 
New website launchedNew website launched
Added: 05 Feb 2012
New look website launches for the 2012 season
 
Cowal Gathering Shortlist AwardCowal Gathering Shortlist Award
Added: 07 Nov 2011
Cowal Gathering has made the last 2 in the prestigious NOEA Scotland Award. Winner to be announced in March at the NOEA awards ceremony.
 
Results
View Competition Results
Get the Free Cowal Gathering Travel App
View the Cowal Gathering
Online Shop
Latest News
31 Aug Results of the Most Entertaining Band in the street competition
30 Aug Rousing finale to 2014 Cowal Highland Gathering
29 Aug Cowal Highland Gathering crowds enjoy spectacular day
view all the latest news
View Cowal Games on Facebook Follow Cowal Games on Twitter View Cowal Games on YouTube View Cowal Games on Flixr
Supported by:
Cowal Building and Plumbing Services Event Scotland Stewart McNee (Dunoon) Ltd Stewart Shaw (Dunoon) Ltd B.A.T.D Western Ferries
 
Copyright 2014 Cowal Highland Gathering | login Website Design by SAMTEQ