First Highland Games of the season cancelled

Oban High School competing at Gourock Highland Games in 2017.

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Gourock Highland Games, traditionally the first pipe band and Highland dance competition of the season, has been called off for the second successive year due to the pandemic.

The organisers at Inverclyde Council are, however, examining options for a possible reschedule for later in the year, subject to Covid restrictions.

The 65th Gourock Highland Games were scheduled to take place at Battery Park on the banks of the Clyde on Sunday May 9.

Provost Martin Brennan, a former games chieftain, said: ‘The event is of great local and national importance with it being the traditional start of the Scottish season. There’s always an international interest too, especially with the overseas competitors who travel to Inverclyde to take part and many visitors making the games a part of their holiday to Scotland.

‘It’s deeply disappointing that the games have been cancelled but staying healthy and saving lives remains the priority as we navigate our way out of the pandemic.’

Sharon Smith, contents secretary for the Glasgow and West of Scotland branch of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association (RSPBA) said: ‘The branch is equally disappointed with the cancellation but will be working with Inverclyde Council to hopefully reschedule later in the year, subject to guidance from the Scottish Government.’

Gourock has been well attended in the past by pipe bands in preparation for the British Pipe Band Championships in Paisley later in May – but this event, along with the UK championships in Northern Ireland, have also fallen victim to Covid restrictions for the second year running.