Now only nine days away, the world’s best pipe bands and highland dancers are preparing to head to Scotland’s biggest highland games, the Cowal Highland Gathering.
The event, which takes place 26th to 28th August in Dunoon, Argyll, is set to entertain up to 23,000 visitors across the three days with a large array championship events and other entertainment.
St Laurence O’Toole, the newly crowned 2010 World Pipe Band Champions, will make their way to Cowal Games on Saturday August 28th.
The Grade One band from Dublin will compete in the Cowal Pipe Band Championships, one of the five major pipe band competitions that take place each year. They will again be up against Northern Ireland’s Field Marshall Montgomery Pipe Band, this year’s runner up at the Worlds and last year’s Cowal Champions.
Both bands will also compete against the Toronto Police Pipe Band from Canada, one of the top pipe bands in the world. The band made the decision this year to compete at Cowal Games and not the Worlds in Glasgow. An interview with the band in this month’s Piping Today Magazine revealed that the band is “heading to Cowal to win” and that it is “something different, a new experience and the right place for them to go this year.”
Aaron Neighbour, the 2009 World Heavy Athletic Champion from Melbourne, Australia, is also making his first trip to Cowal Highland Gathering to compete in the Cowal Heavy Athletic Championships this year.
Neighbour, who is 6’6” and weighs 280lbs, was crowned World Champion at The Gathering event at Holyrood Park, Edinburgh last year.
The Adult World Highland Dancing Championships take place again at Cowal Highland Gathering. 2009 World Champion, David Wilton, has held his title for three years running and returns to Dunoon next week to compete and reclaim his title. Over 500 highland dancers will compete at Cowal Highland Gathering this year, with some as young as seven years old.
Saturday’s event finale celebrates with the very best of the region’s local food and drink, a ceilidh tent, children’s entertainment tent, fairground rides, market stalls, the March Past, a parade through the town and a fireworks display at night. This year the event welcomes former Dr Who star Sylvester McCoy as its honorary Chieftain.
- Cowal Highland Gathering takes place at Dunoon Stadium, Argyll from Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th August, 9am to 6pm each day. For tickets and more information visit www.cowalgathering.com or telephone 01369 703 206.