Sunshine and showers at Argyllshire Gathering and Oban Games

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It is well known for being one of the biggest events in the Highland Games calendar – and yesterday the Argyllshire Gathering did not disappoint.

The Gathering at Mossfield Stadium in Oban is held alongside the Oban Games.

The event attracts some of the finest pipers from all over the world and as tradition dictates, the winner of the coveted Highland Society of London’s Gold Medal had the honour of leading the march from the town centre to the games field.

This year the medal was won by a New Zealander, Stuart Easton. Piping steward Torquil Telfer said that this was the seventh time that someone from New Zealand has won the medal, and the emotional champion had telephoned home with the news, in tears.

© Kevin McGlynn
Silver medal winner Darach Urquhart and gold medal winner Stuart Easton.

Also playing a major part in the day were competitions in Highland Dancing, Athletics and the Heavies, along with the Tug O’War.

There was a good showing in the heavies. Lukasz Wenta from Poland, who lives in East Kilbride, won the shot putt.

Mr Wenta said: “It’s a good games. I won the light stone, I came second in the light hammer and third in the heavy shot putt. I feel OK about it, OK but not great.”

After a heavy downpour first thing in the morning, the clouds parted to make way for beautiful sunshine – until lunchtime at least, when the crowds were subjected to another burst.

His Grace the Duke of Argyll, President of the Argyllshire Gathering, said: “This annual event was originally set up as an opportunity for the families of Argyll to get together. Argyll is a big county, rivalries existed and a gathering with traditional sports and activities managed to keep a sense of unity and peace.

© Kevin McGlynn
World Caber champion Scott Ryder.

“Since the 19th Century, it has continued to serve as a social occasion both for those who live here and for those whose roots lie in the area, many of whom make a point of returning every year. We welcome visitors from all around the world, who have come to compete, to watch, to listen and to meet each other.”

The Gathering committee had a special visit to the games this year by members of the Clan McEwan.

Senior steward Robin Nicholson thanked Love Oban, Argyll and Bute Council and MacQueen Bros Oban for the funding and paid special tribute to Mossfield groundsman Iain Hay for keeping the field in such good condition.

He also thanked the prize-winning Oban High School Pipe Band, who performed throughout the day. The school had its own Traditional Music Tent as well as a stand in the Heritage Tent.

All of the tents were being left in place for the local high school to enjoy its own games at Mossfield today.

Head teacher Peter Bain said: “The whole school will take part. There will be traditional musicians, dancing and competitions in art and baking to name a few. We are very grateful to the committee.”