Heritage and Culture
The Cowal Highland Gathering
The Cowal Highland Gathering is one of the most impressive highland game tournaments in the world. Held in Dunoon, Argyll, it is the single, largest gathering in Scotland and boasts all sorts of events. With its mix of highland dancing, pipe bands, wrestling, heavy athletics, solo piping, drum majors, ceilidh, children's entertainment, fun run and local food, there's something for everyone. Over 23,000 visitors travel to the games every year to soak up the atmosphere and stunning highland location. As Scots, we don't do celebrations by halves and the Cowal highland gathering is no different.
Watch the top highland dancers in the world compete in the finals of the World Highland Dancing Championship, listen to the pipe bands battle it out in the Cowal Pipe Band Championship and cheer on the world's best heavy athletes as they toss the caber. You can also catch top live Scottish music in the Ceilidh Tent. To round it all off, witness the spine-tingling salute to the Chieftain. The sound of 100s of pipers and drummers playing in unison will stay with you forever.
History of the games
The gathering was initially held in 1894 and is steeped in history. Celebrating this rich tradition, the highland games touch on the historic, but add their own modern flavor too. Beginning as a small gathering of around 2,000 people, the games have grown and grown over the years. In 1906 the introduction of the pipe band competition added a new element. In 1929 the first approaches from Scottish societies overseas were received. They wanted advice on how to start their own gatherings and took tips on how to keep the tradition alive. This has ensured the growth and interest in highland games the world over.