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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.
 
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