Cowal Highland Gathering: All of Scotland in one Weekend

Every year around 23,000 people flock to Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon, Argyll to soak up the unique atmosphere and enjoy the spectacle. Amid the emotive sound of the pipes and the flash of clan colours on kilts, athletes and dancers compete for coveted trophies at this world-famous event. Cowal Highland Gathering is known as the most spectacular Highland games in the world. Experience these five things and you’ll see why!

1. Witness the stars of Highland Dancing

See the global stars of the Highland dancing world battle it out in the World Highland Dancing Championship. Be prepared to be blown away by the grace, skill and stamina on display. The sheer number of participants adds to the unforgettable spectacle. Last year over 600 dancers from as far afield as the USA, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand headed to Dunoon to take part.

2.Watch the heavy athletes

Cowal Highland Gathering attracts the world’s top heavy athletes so prepare to witness some incredible feats! From tossing the caber to shot-putting the 34lbs-Cowal Stone (twice the size of a normal shot putt), the ‘heavies’ will thrill you with their skills and strength. The caber toss is always a nail-biter. If there’s time, some athletes may try their luck with the giant ‘Tilhill’ caber – one of the biggest cabers on the Highland games circuit as they strive to achieve the coveted ’12 o’clock’.

3. The Gig at the Gathering

Friday night is party night at Cowal Highland Gathering! The Gig at the Gathering, held in the Stadium’s Ceilidh Tent, is a four-hour musical extravaganza with some of Scotland’s top ceilidh bands. Expect a friendly crowd, bags of atmosphere and plenty of west coast bonhomie. Oh, and some very fine local ales and single malt whiskies to sample. This year Skipinnish is headlining, supported by local band Heron Valley and Trail West from Tiree.

4. Fantastic Family Entertainment

One of the things that makes the Cowal Highland Gathering stand out is the huge range of family entertainment on offer. We’re not just talking face-painting here. We’re talking spectacular fun-filled shows that the kids will be talking about for months! Last year the Clan – Scotland’s cycle stunt team - wowed the audience with its gravity-defying show and fearless riding. The Cowal Kids Tent is a riot of entertainment with puppeteers, clowns, magicians and more.

5. Traditional Scottish Pipe bands

On Saturday afternoon all of the pipe bands gather in the centre of the Stadium for the Salute to the Chieftain. The sight and sound of massed pipes and drums playing ‘Highland Laddie’ in unison is a spine-tingling experience and one that will stay with you forever. But the piping entertainment doesn’t finish there. Many of the bands then gather, most in fancy dress, to march through Dunoon town centre, keen to bag the prize for the ‘Most Entertaining Band’. Now that’s spectacular!

The 2023 Cowal Highland Gathering will take place on the the 24th, 25th and 26th August. Come and be part of one of the biggest, most spectacular Highland games in the world! Find out more and buy your tickets online.