Highland Gathering

The Highland Gathering was a highlight of the year for me. The first gathering was held at Twini Primary School on 15 June 1963 as part of the fund-raising for the junior school. I remember Mr Steyn or possibly Mr Raath practicising as the lone piper from Athlone Park before the main event. Dr and Mrs Dalziel and Mr and Mrs Leesam were also heavily involved with the event. The gathering turned out to be a huge success with tombolas, girls competing with traditional dancing over crossed swords and the bagpipe bands being judged throughout the day. The end of the gathering culminated with the mass band marching and playing ‘Scotland the Brave’ and other music that reverberated through the whole district. There were so many bands in the mass pipe event that they could barely do any marching across the sports field before having to turn back on themselves. The Queen’s Piper even came out from England to judge the bands in about 1968. The event was subsequently moved to Hutchinson Park in Toti, possibly for extra space. That venue however failed to capture the atmosphere of the Twini site. In recent years there apparently have been up to 1,000 bandsmen and women competing, so the success story rolls on.