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Written by on 26/08/2016

Spectators flock to day one of Cowal Highland Gathering 2016

The crowds came out in Dunoon today as Cowal’s world famous Gathering finally got underway.

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 Highland Games 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 major 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 384 dancers in 11 categories battle it out for the honours.

It wasn’t all about dancing today, because the entertainment is not quite finished. The ever-popular 5K Cowal Run is due to start from the Yachtsman Café at West Bay at 7.15pm this evening.

Athletes from Cowal and Inverclyde are expected to set off along the route, cheered on by hundreds of spectators.

Cowal Highland Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said he was delighted by how the event’s first day had gone.

“Dunoon is the centre of the Highland dancing world this weekend, and today we got a taste of what we can look forward to for the next couple of days,” he added.

“The competitors all did themselves proud and, as always, were cheered on by an enthusiastic crowd which made for a great atmosphere and really set the tone for the rest of the weekend.

“People across the globe who are serious about Highland dancing will now be holding their breath to see who comes out on top in the various competitions, as the Cowal Gathering crown is the most glittering of them all.

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

Ronnie said the efforts of everyone involved in organising and running the Gathering over the last few months have paid off.

“I’m delighted to say that everything has gone smoothly so far. Even the weather was kind to 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 more Highland Dancing, pipe bands, solo piping, heavy athletics, wrestling, ceilidh music, running, cycle stunt teams, Glasgow Science Centre workshops, animal display teams, food demonstrations, interactive storytelling or any of the many other attractions around the town this weekend.

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

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “Highland Games not only celebrate Scottish culture and history but are also a huge draw for visitors from far and wide, so we are delighted to support Cowal Highland Gathering once again in 2016 through EventScotland’s National Funding Programme.

“The event delivers a major boost to the local economy as thousands flock to the area and it is fantastic to see so many people enjoying what was a spectacular first day in Dunoon.”

A full list of the results of all today’s action will be posted on the Gathering website – – as soon as possible.

For information or to book tickets for the rest of the event, which takes place in association with headline sponsor Scottish Salmon Company, please visit the website or contact the event office by emailing or phoning 01369 703206.