118th Maclean Highland Gathering

Hundreds of pipers from across the country will gather for the 118th Maclean Highland Gathering while one of the strongest fields in many years will assemble for the Dancing Competition.

The two-day festival (Fri-Sat 07-08 April) celebrates Maclean's strong Scottish ties and features traditional athletic and cultural competitions, such as highland dancing, bagpiping and highland games.

Piping and band competitions

Friday is full of entertainment from one of Australia's foremost solo piping and drumming competitions at Maclean Showground, the McSwan Family Gold Medal for the Champion Piper at Civic Hall, to the Scottish Ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) at McLachlan Park. All events allow you to surround yourself in the enlivening sounds of the pipes and drums, performers, singing and traditional highland dancing.

Easter Saturday commences at 8.30am with the Pipe Bands on Parade through the streets of Maclean on their way to Maclean Showground, where they battle across the day to be crowned the Highland Champion.

The finale in the evening at Maclean Civic Hall is with one of Scotland's most accomplished pipers of this generation, Roddy MacLeod, MBE, who is a five-time Glenfiddich World Solo Piping champion.

Highland Dancing

The Highland Dancing Contest starts at 9am at Maclean Showground, with more than one 104 dancers entered in competition events. Dancers as young as four will come from as far north as Townsville, as far south as Melbourne suburb Oak Park to compete, and particularly strong support from dancing studios in Southeast Queensland. The local area is also well represented with dancers from the Maclean Scottish Town Dance Centre and the Jacaranda Highland Dancers. Local dancers compete for the prized Clarence Valley Council Local Scholarships, which provide $300 to further their experience in Highland Dancing.

Dances include the Highland Fling, Seann Truibheas, Gillie Callum, Scottish Lilt, Sailor's Hornpipe, Irish Jig and Flora McDonald's Fancy. Primary Dancers, who are the youngest or least experienced, also dance the Pas De Basques and High Cuts.

After assisting Norma Smith last year, Nicole Cowling is in her first year as the Lower Clarence Scottish Association's Dancing Contest Convenor. Nicole said she was "nervous but excited" about the prospect of presenting the competition with such a large, high quality, field assembled for the event. Norma's association with the gathering has not ended and she remains a key part of a very experienced organising team in her 65th year involved in the organisation of the event.

Highland Sports

Watch the thrills and spills of the Highland Sports, including traditional heavy athletics events caber tossing, log wrestling, shot put and farmer's walk.

The pinnacle event sees all pipe bands get together and salute the Chieftain and the crowds on the hill of Maclean Showground. The sight and sound of 400-plus pipers and drummers playing in unison in this unique setting is an unforgettable experience.

The Highland Dancing, Highland Sports and Pipe Band competitions all held in the main showground arena mirrors the practice of the traditional Highland Gatherings in Scotland with spectators in the main grandstand on the hill witnessing all the action from a central vantage point.

See https://www.macleanhighlandgathering.com.au/ for all event information.

Content courtesy of the Lower Clarence Scottish Association

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