As family days out go, this one was surely hard to beat.

Thousands of people from across the world gathered in Dunoon today for the spectacular climax of the Cowal Gathering.

Competitors and spectators alike joined forces to ensure the event’s finale was, as always, a day to remember for everyone involved.

From the hundreds of dancers and pipers to the heavy athletes, ceilidh bands, axe throwers, acrobats and many other entertainers on show, every participant contributed to what was a fantastic day’s entertainment.

The standard of competition was breathtaking, with many of the world’s top competitors giving their all in a bid go home with the silverware.

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:

Best Juvenile Band on Parade: Oban High School Development Band
Best Senior Band on Parade: 1st Lower Clyde Pipes and Drums
2nd Stockbridge Pipe Band
4B/Nov B
BCD – Kilbarchan
1st Oban High School
2nd Kilbarchan
3rd 1st Troon Boys Brigade
4th Dunoon Argyll
5th Fraserburgh RBL
6th Troon Blackrock
4A/Nov A
BCD – Uddingston Strathclyde
1st- Lower Clyde Pipes and Drums
2nd Kintyre Schools
3rd Uddingston Strathclyde
4th Kilbarchan
5th Troon Blackrock
Best School Band
Kintyre Schools
Best BB Drumming
1st Troon Boys Brigade
Best BB Band
1st Troon Boys Brigade
Grade 3 MSR
BCD Stockbridge
1st Coalburn
2nd Mid Argyll
3rd Kintyre schools
4th Stockbridge
Grade 3 Medley
BCD Stockbridge
1st EP – Stockbridge
2nd EP – Coalburn
3rd Mid Argyll
Grade 2 MSR
BCD Stockbridge
1st Stockbridge
2nd Mid Argyll
Grade 2 Medley
BCD Stockbridge
1st EP – Coalburn IOR
2nd Mid Argyll
3rd Stockbridge

The champion drum major was Becky Cox of Troon Blackrock.

Today also saw the Argyllshire Highland Dancing competitions (for dancers who live in Argyll and Bute), with top honours in the 7 and under 12 years Premier category going to Corrie McMillan from Campbeltown and the 12 and 13 years Premier category awarded to Grace McGrath from Helensburgh.

Top prize in the 14 and 15 years Premier category went to Solana McMurchy from Campbeltown. Catriona Gammons from Helensburgh triumphed in the 16 years and over class.

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 Lily Kelman from Inverness who emerged victorious in the World Juvenile finals, followed by Eilidh Gammons of Helensburgh and Morgan Terrace of Dumfries.

The trophy for best Scottish Juvenile Dancer went to Lily Kelman and the best Overseas Juvenile Dancer was Alice Gill from Victoria.

In the World Junior championship, Annalise Lam of British Colombia held off the challenge of Morven Johnston, West Australia and Olivia Burke of Nova Scotia.

The best Scottish Junior Dancer was Emma Smart of Aberdeen, and the trophy for the best Overseas Junior Dancer went to Annalise Lam.

The Adult World champion was Marielle Lesperance from Nova Scotia, followed by Michelle Gordon from Huntly, with Candice Walker from Leslie in third.

Marielle Lesperance is taking home the Mary McHarg Quaich for best Overseas Adult Dancer. The cup for best Scottish Adult Dancer went to Michelle Gordon.

Throughout the afternoon, some of the world’s hottest traditional music bands entertained the crowds in the now-famous live music tent.

Leading the pack was new to Cowal Gathering, Gnoss who were joined by two of the hottest names on the traditional music scene – up and coming bands Rhuvaal, fresh from playing at the Gig at the Gathering last night, and Eabhal, together with The American Rogues who also returned to the live music tent after making a legion of new fans at Friday night’s Gig at the Gathering.

While they were playing in their marquee behind the stadium, the heavy athletes and wrestlers battled it out for top honours in the stadium itself.

In the International Heavy Athletics Team competition, Team Scotland did it again – retaining the International Heavy Athletics Championship trophy they first won in 2019 with Team Germany coming runners up.

In the overall individual heavy athletics, Daniel Carlin from Scotland from triumphed in the men’s competition, with Craig Winslow from Scotland in second and Marius Linfoff from Germany third.

In the women’s event, Christina Scheffaur from Austria beat off the challenge of Lucy Marshall from Crick (2nd) and Sylvana Bomholt from Germany (3rd).

Daniel Carlin and Sylvanna Bomholt were crowned men’s and women’s caber toss champions respectively.

This year, there was a bigger and better selection of entertainment for all ages than ever before.

One of the most popular draws proved to be a new addition to the schedule – the exciting Vander Double Wheel of Death

Among the other biggest attractions were the Braveheart Axe Throwing Team, Mountain Biking track, Drakes of Hazard along with the perennial children’s favourite, Artie’s Singing Kettle featuring veteran entertainer Artie Trezise, who has entertained generations of children with his songs and stories.

Cowal Gathering chair Ronnie Cairns said the success of the weekend and the enthusiasm of everyone involved would ensure that this famous event will continue to go from strength to strength.

“Judging from the feedback we’ve been receiving over the last three days, the vast majority of people who have taken part this year – whether competing or spectating – are going home having had a brilliant time,” he said.

“We weren’t sure what to expect this year, for the first in-person Gathering since 2019, but I’m delighted to see how much people have missed the event and have welcomed it back. There are so many people working away behind the scenes to ensure that everything is as good as it can possibly be by the time the last weekend in August arrives, and I’d like to thank all our supporters, volunteers and sponsors for once again pulling it off.

“Our competitors have excelled themselves, as they do every year. Our spectators have marvelled at the skills on show, as they do every year. And the entertainments on offer in addition to the traditional Highland games elements have once again proved a major hit.

“I’d like to thank everyone for ensuring it’s been such a great event, and we
very much look forward to welcoming everyone back to Dunoon for the 2023 Gathering.”

Cowal Highland Gathering is supported through EventScotland’s International Events Programme.

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

Cowal Highland Gathering is supported through EventScotland’s International Events Programme.

For information on Cowal Gathering please visit the website or contact the event office by emailing or phoning 01369 703206.


Editor’s notes

EventScotland is working to make Scotland the perfect stage for events by securing and supporting an exciting portfolio of sporting and cultural events. It provides funding opportunities and access to resources and information to develop the industry.

EventScotland is a team within VisitScotland’s Events Directorate, the national tourism organisation, alongside Business Events and Development teams. For further information about EventScotland, its funding programmes and latest event news visit or follow Twitter @EventScotNews and follow us on LinkedIn.