Crowds flock to finale of 2023 Cowal Gathering

Billed as one of Scotland’s best days out the finale of the 2023 Cowal Gathering lived up to its reputation. Thousands of people from across the world gathered in Dunoon for one of the world’s most spectacular Highland Gathering with competitors, entertainers and spectators joining forces to make sure it was an event to remember. Crowds watched as over a thousand competitors fought to secure some Cowal silverware. Dancers, pipers, heavy athletes and wrestlers were joined by entertainers including cyclists, axe throwers and musicians to ensure the Gathering’s crowds were wowed from early morning until the end of the day. The standard of competition was world class, with every athlete and competitor giving their all to leave the Stadium as a Cowal Gathering winner.

One of the highlights of the Gathering’s final day was, as always, the Cowal Pipe Band Championship.  Section and grade winners in the Cowal Pipe Band champions were:

Novice Juvenile B – Renfrewshire Schools

Novice Juvenile A – Kilbarchan Pipe Band

Grade 3 – Coalburn IOR

Grade 3 MSR – Coalburn IOR

Grade 2 – Coalburn IOR

The champion Drum Major was Campbell Gillies of Rothesay and District Pipe Band.

World Highland Dancing Championships

Then came the biggest Highland Dancing competition in the world – the World Championship finals – with dancers from Australia, Canada and the USA pitting their skills against the best the UK has to offer. In the end, it was Eilidh Gammons from Helensburgh who emerged victorious in the World Juvenile finals, followed by Maria Monk of Bearsden and Alice Gill of Melbourne, Australia.   The trophy for best Scottish Juvenile Dancer went to Eilidh Gammons and the best Overseas Juvenile Dancer was Alice Gill from Melbourne, Australia.  In the World Junior championship, Olivia Burke of Nova Scotia held off the challenge of Lily Kelman from Inverness and Lauren Abrahart of Alberta.  The best Scottish Junior Dancer was Lily Kelman of Inverness, and the trophy for the best Overseas Junior Dancer went to Oliva Burke from Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The Adult World champion was Rebecca Thow from Belhelvie, followed by Michelle Gordon from Huntly, with Cameron Walker from Denny in third.  Fiona Tolley from Ontario took home the Mary McHarg Quaich for best Overseas Adult Dancer.  The cup for best Scottish Adult Dancer went to Rebecca Thow.

In the International Heavy Athletics Team competition, Team Scotland were victorious with Team Germany coming runners up. In the overall individual heavy athletics, Craig Winslow from Scotland triumphed in the men’s competition, with Daniel Carlin from Scotland in second and Martin Kuhne from Germany third. In the women’s event, Mhairi Porterfield from Scotland beat off the challenge of Christina Scheffaur from Austria (2nd) and Rachel Hunter from Scotland (3rd).

Speaking on behalf of the Cowal Gathering Board Fraser McCowan said this year’s event will go down as the best in recent times and thanked the people of Dunoon and Cowal for their continued support, as well as the Gathering’s sponsors, “On behalf of the Board of Cowal Gathering, I would like to thank everyone who has contributed to this year’s event. Your hard work over, not only the last months, but years has helped ensure Cowal Gathering continue to grow and develop to be an event fit for the 21st century.  We’ve welcomed spectators not just from Argyll and Scotland, but from all corners of the UK and, of course our international visitors who have travelled many thousands of miles, just to be with us.  As well as our visitors here in the Stadium I’d like to also thank the thousands of people who joined us online through our livestream. We hope you enjoyed the competitions from wherever part of the world you were watching from. To our wonderful competitors, Cowal Gathering could not be what it is without you. This year’s levels of performance have been simply breathtaking.  I look forward to welcoming you back to the 2024 Cowal Gathering.”

A full list of the results from the 2023 Cowal Gathering can be found at:

Main photo: World Juvenile Champion Eilidh Gammons from Helensburgh, World Junior Champion Olivia Burke from Nova Scotia and World Adult Champion Rebecca Thow from Belhelvie.

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