Record number of dancers sign up for Cowal - Cowal Highland Gathering
29th - 31st August 2019

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News  »  Record number of dancers sign up for Cowal

Record number of dancers sign up for Cowal

Cowal Highland Gathering (CHG) is preparing to welcome a record number of the world’s best Highland Dancers later this month.

Nearly 650 dancers from across the globe are gearing up to challenge for the world’s most coveted trophies at the famous event.

Many will have travelled thousands of miles to take part, with competitors flocking to Dunoon from as far afield as the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.

CHG chair Ronnie Cairns said the fact that more dancers than ever before will make the journey to Cowal – many of then from overseas - is a reflection of the event’s stellar reputation both at home and abroad.

“Once again, we look forward to welcoming the world’s very best Highland Dancers and marvelling at their skill and dedication,” he added.

“Cowal is proud to host the most important events in the global Highland Dancing calendar culminating, of course, in the final of the World Highland Dancing Championship. The fact that more dancers than ever are making the trip – many of them at great personal expense – proves that our reputation continues to go from strength to strength.

“Spectators at this year’s event will witness the very best dancers from every corner of the globe battling it out for our famous trophies. It’s always an unforgettable spectacle – both in terms of the sheer number of dancers on show and the standard of their dancing - and this year will be no different. We can’t wait for the action to kick off.”

It won’t just be more dancers on show this year than last. There will be more pipers too, with 36 bands making the trip to Dunoon.

Many of the bands, which together boast hundreds of individual pipers and drummers, are seasoned performers at Cowal. One, however – school band Sgoil Lionacleit from the tiny Hebridean island of Benbecula - is making its debut at the event.

The spectators are sure to give Sgoil Lionacleit, along with all others taking part, their usual rousing reception - not just during competitions but also the spine-tingling Salute to the Chieftain at the end of the day.

However, the finale of the stadium schedule on the Saturday afternoon is not the end of the piping entertainment.

Once again, when the formal piping competitions are over the bands will be invited to march down Dunoon’s Argyll Street. Last year’s very successful Most Entertaining Band competition will again be judged, with prizes sponsored by La Cantina 51st State (1st), Commercial Bar (2nd) and MacClure’s Bar (3rd).

Ronnie Cairns said: “Pipe Band competitions have always been one of the Gathering’s core components, and Cowal Pipe Band Championships remain among the world’s oldest and most prestigious trophies. There’ll be no shortage of world-class skills on show as the bands battle it out for top honours.

“The stadium competitions are of course only one part of the piping entertainment. There will still be the famous march down Argyll Street on Saturday evening after the prizegiving, with the most entertaining bands being singled out for honours. It’s always a brilliant way to close out the event, and I’m sure this year will be no different.

“Every year our star-studded dancing and piping line-ups - supported, of course, by all the other wonderful attractions the Gathering boasts - provide fantastic entertainment for the thousands of people who make the trip to Cowal.

“We’re raring to get the show on the road. We’re confident everything is in place to ensure that our competitors and spectators alike have a fantastic day out.”

Craig Anderson, Managing Director at The Scottish Salmon Company, said, “We’re proud to be associated with Cowal Highland Gathering and through our continuing sponsorship we aim to put something back into the community.

“2015 is the Year of Food and Drink and as title sponsors we’re in a great position to bring something different to this years’ event.

“Our ambassador Catriona Frankitti will be holding cookery demonstrations on the Saturday afternoon, sharing top-tips and easy salmon recipes for all the family to enjoy.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “We are delighted to be supporting the Cowal Highland Gathering, one of the year’s most important events in its promotion of Scottish culture and heritage. With a wider programme of activities taking place than ever before, it is a unique opportunity to enjoy traditional Scottish music and dance and promises to be an occasion to remember.”