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 today for the final day of the world’s most spectacular Highland Gathering with competitors, entertainers and spectators joining forces to make sure super Saturday was a day 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.

Overseeing the action was the Gathering’s Chieftain, former Sky chairman and Cowal resident Nick Ferguson CBE.

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.

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 Naomi Sim from Helensburgh and the 12 and 13 years Intermediate category awarded to Taylor McMillan from Campbeltown.

Top prize in the 14 and 15 years Premier category went to Grace McGrath from Helensburgh. Linzi Cameron from Campbeltown 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 Eilidh Gammons from Helensburgh who emerged victorious in the World Juvenile finals, followed by Maria Monk of Bearsden and Alice Gill of Melbourne.

The trophy for best Scottish Juvenile Dancer went to Eilidh Gammons and the best Overseas Juvenile Dancer was Alice Gill from Melbourne.

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.

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 is taking home the Mary McHarg Quaich for best Overseas Adult Dancer. The cup for best Scottish Adult Dancer went to Rebecca Thow.

Throughout the afternoon, some of the world’s hottest traditional music bands entertained the crowds in the now-famous Cowal Live Music Tent sponsored this year by Cove UK.

Leading the pack was one of Cowal Gathering’s favourite bands, Trail West who were joined by two of the hottest names on the traditional music scene – Torridon and Cala. Also on the line-up were Travee, fresh from playing at the Gig at the Gathering last night, where they made a legion of new fans.

While the bands 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 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).

Martin Kuhne and Mhairi Porterfield were crowned men’s and women’s caber toss champions respectively.

Of course the Gathering’s reputation for being one of Scotland’s best family-friendly events was cemented with the selection of entertainment for all ages.

One of the most popular draws was the return of the Clan Stunt Team who wowed the crowds with their gravity defying two wheeled flips and jumps.

Among the other biggest attractions were the Braveheart Axe Throwing Team, Mountain Biking track, the Cowal Ceilidh Tent with the Inverhooley Ceilidh Band and legendary children’s favourite, Artie’s Singing Kettle featuring veteran entertainer Artie Trezise, who has entertained generations of children with his songs and stories.

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.

‘A huge thank you must also go to the thousands of people who have come out to support the Gathering over the last three days. 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.

While the events in the Stadium are over for another year, there is still the Western Ferries’ fireworks to look forward to. These mark the official end of this year’s event and will take place from the Coal Pier at 9.00pm this evening’

‘Thank you to everyone involved once again, I look forward to welcoming you back to the 2024 Cowal Gathering.”

Ian Laister, Managing Director at Bakkafrost Scotland, headline sponsor of the event said:

“True to form, this special community event has brought fun and a fair bit of competition to Argyll! It has been our pleasure to support the Cowal Gathering team and we would like to extend congratulations to all of this year’s entrants and of course winners.

“Thank you to the organisers who put so much effort into planning a successful event not only for the local community to enjoy, but for visitors to experience the best of what Scottish tradition has to offer.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland’s Director of Events, said: “I am delighted that EventScotland supported Cowal Highland Gathering through its National Funding Programme in 2023. It has been fantastic to see Dunoon offer such a warm welcome to visitors, providing the perfect stage for competitors, participants and audiences alike.”

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.