Record num­ber of dancers sign up for Cowal

The Oban Times - - Leisure -

COWAL High­land Gath­er­ing (CHG) which starts to­day, Thurs­day, is pre­par­ing to welcome a record num­ber of the world’s best High­land Dancers.

Nearly 650 dancers from across the globe are gear­ing up to chal­lenge for the world’s most cov­eted tro­phies at the fa­mous event.

Many will have trav­elled thou­sands of miles to take part, with com­peti­tors flock­ing to Dunoon from as far afield as the USA, Canada, South Africa, Aus­tralia and New Zealand.

CHG chair, Ron­nie Cairns, said the fact that more dancers than ever be­fore will make the jour­ney to Cowal – many of them from over­seas - is a re­flec­tion of the event’s stel­lar rep­u­ta­tion both at home and abroad.

‘Once again, we look for­ward to wel­com­ing the world’s very best High­land Dancers and mar­vel­ling at their skill and ded­i­ca­tion,’ he added.

‘Cowal is proud to host the most im­por­tant events in the global High­land Danc­ing cal­en­dar cul­mi­nat­ing, of course, in the fi­nal of the World High­land Danc­ing Cham­pi­onship. The fact that more dancers than ever are mak­ing the trip – many of them at great per­sonal ex­pense – proves that our rep­u­ta­tion con­tin­ues to go from strength to strength.

‘Spec­ta­tors at this year’s event will wit­ness the very best dancers from ev­ery cor­ner of the globe bat­tling it out for our fa­mous tro­phies.

‘It’s al­ways an un­for­get­table spec­ta­cle – both in terms of the sheer num­ber of dancers on show and the stan­dard of their danc­ing - and this year will be no dif­fer­ent. We can’t wait for the ac­tion to kick off.’

It won’t just be more dancers on show this year than last. There will be more pipers too, with 36 bands mak­ing the trip to Dunoon.

Many of the bands, which to­gether boast hun­dreds of in­di­vid­ual pipers and drum­mers, are sea­soned per­form­ers at Cowal. One, how­ever – school band Sgoil Liona­cleit from the tiny He­bridean is­land of Ben­bec­ula - is mak­ing its de­but at the event.

The spec­ta­tors are sure to give Sgoil Liona­cleit, along with all oth­ers tak­ing part, their usual rous­ing re­cep­tion - not just dur­ing com­pe­ti­tions, but also at the spine-tin­gling Salute to the Chief­tain at the end of the day.

Ron­nie said: ‘Pipe band com­pe­ti­tions have al­ways been one of the Gath­er­ing’s core com­po­nents, and Cowal Pipe Band Cham­pi­onships re­main among the world’s old­est and most pres­ti­gious tro­phies. There’ll be no short­age of world­class skills on show as the bands bat­tle it out for top hon­ours.

‘The sta­dium com­pe­ti­tions are, of course, only one part of the pip­ing en­ter­tain­ment.

‘ We’re rar­ing to get the show on the road. We’re con­fi­dent ev­ery­thing is in place to en­sure that our com­peti­tors and spec­ta­tors alike have a fan­tas­tic day out.’

This year’s Cowal High­land Gath­er­ing – part of Even­tS­cot­land’s Na­tional Events pro­gramme - runs from Thurs­day 27 to Satur­day 29 Au­gust.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the event or to buy tick­ets, please visit the Gath­er­ing’s web­site at www.cow­al­gath­er­ing.com or con­tact the event of­fice by email­ing info@cow­al­gath­er­ing.com or phon­ing 01369 703206.

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