The clans gather
EXPECTATIONS for the 107th Highland Gathering were running high yesterday, when the first day of the event began in perfect autumn conditions.
The Maclean Showground was flooded in sunlight and the sounds of bagpipers warming up, ahead of events from 1pm yesterday.
The sounds included the solo drumming and piping competition, according to Peter Smith, chief of the Lower Clarence Scottish Society.
The Story Keepers Aboriginal Art Exhibition also started at the CWA in River St, Maclean. The event was official opened at 6pm following a display of traditional dance in the afternoon.
Today offers a full day of Highland Gathering events, including the main march down River St from 8.30am, where more than 20 bands will be judged on presentation. From 7.15am the bands and dancers will be performing in McLachlan
Park as a preview to the Civic Welcome.
The action will then resume at the showground, according to Mr Smith.
Events on the agenda include highland dancing and piping from 9am.
Highland Sport commences at 10.30am, with free-registration from 10am, and will include caber tossing, the farmer’s walk, hammer throwing and haggis throwing for women. A highlight, according to Ross McPherson, sports event coordinator, will be the kilted dash, a 100-metre sprint were competitors wear kilts.
“We like all competitors to wear kilts for all events, and we can provide them for people who want to compete but don’t have their own,” he said. All the sports events are open to anyone who registers he said.
Mr Smith was happy to see yesterday’s sunshine after recent gatherings had been rain-affected.
Roweena Ennis has come from Brisbane for the Gathering as her family has done since 1954. Her father was a champion through the 1950s and ’60s and her husband, Buz, competes as a drummer with the Queensland Irish, she said.
The event hadn’t really changed over the years.
“I remember coming here when I was little. Everyone loves Maclean, there is a great atmosphere,” Mrs Ennis said.
Kevin McCloud will be given the honorary status as a “legend” of the gathering, Mr Smith said.