Record number of dancers for Cowal Highland Gathering

A record number of the world’s best Highland Dancers have registered to compete at next month’s Cowal Highland Gathering [CHG] in Dunoon.

The event – which hosts both the Scottish and World Highland Dancing Championships – is the biggest and most popular highland dancing competition anywhere.

This year organisers are preparing to welcome 684 dancers – an increase of nearly 40 on the 2015 figure, which at the time was the highest number of entrants ever recorded.

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

The majority of them will be accompanied by supporters, meaning the Gathering is looking forward to a bumper year in terms of spectator as well as contestant numbers.

CHG chair, Ronnie Cairns, says the fact that more dancers than ever before will make the journey to Cowal is a reflection of the event’s reputation at home and abroad: ‘Our competitions represent the ultimate prizes in the global dancing calendar, and every year we marvel at the skill and dedication of all those taking part.

‘This year we look forward to welcoming more dancers than ever, all battling it out to go home with some Cowal silverware.  Yet another record number of entrants is a fantastic vote of confidence in our event and an indication that the Gathering’s status as the pinnacle of every Highland dancer’s career continues to go from strength to strength.

‘As always, our spectators are in for a treat.  Every year our star-studded dancing competitions provide 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 start.’

Craig Anderson, Managing Director of sponsor, The Scottish Salmon Company, says: ‘Our passion and enthusiasm for the Gathering grows each year and we’re delighted to be supporting what is widely regarded as the world’s most spectacular Highland Games, for a third year.

‘We are committed to playing an active role in the communities that we work in and we’re thrilled to see Cowal Highland Gathering continue to attract such a high calibre of world-class competitors.’

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events for VisitScotland, says: ‘We are delighted to support the Cowal Highland Gathering again this year, through our Beacon Programme.

‘Cowal Highland Gathering plays a vital role in promoting Scotland’s culture and heritage and, of course, in attracting thousands of visitors to Dunoon to enjoy the highly entertaining event programme, including the highland dancing competitions, where spectators can witness the finest dancers perform at their very best.’

The dancing competitions start on Thursday 25th August, with the Scottish National Highland Dancing Championships – which attracts the very best of Scotland’s home grown dancers.

The following day sees the international dancers arriving to compete in the Scottish (open) Highland Dancing Championships and the qualifiers for the World Championships.

On the Saturday, the finals of the World Highland Dancing Championships takes place, with the top 60 dancers from across the world competing to be crowned World Champion.

The Saturday also hosts two local [confined] competitions including one which is specifically for the youngest dancers just setting out on their dancing career.

This year’s Cowal Highland Gathering runs from Thursday 25th – Saturday 27th August.

Information and ticket booking are available online here at the Gathering’s website –  or by contacting the event office by email:; or phoning 01369 703206.

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