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Digital Subscriptions > The Oban Times & Lochaber Times > 31st August 2017 > Argyllshire gathering 2017

Argyllshire gathering 2017


CANADA, Crieff and Kent rose to the top of this year’s Argyllshire Gathering, write Sandy Neil and David McPhee.

On Wednesday electrical engineer Craig Sutherland from Crieff won the Gold Medal, which attracted 29 competitors, and the senior piobaireachd, which drew 19 entrants. A 20-year-old Glasgow University student, Cameron Macdougall, of Nigg, Ross-shire, beat 26 other pipers to win the Silver Medal. ‘It was a surprise because of the calibre,’ he said.

Then, on Thursday, financial adviser Alex Gandy from Nova Scotia won the A March and A Strathspey and Reel, filling the shoes of his father, top piper Bruce Gandy.Piping steward Torquil Telfer said playing the piobaireachd was ‘quite a feat’ to remember the tunes. ‘You are playing a tune without a manuscript. You are only told what you are going to play 30 minutes before, and you cannot refer to your notes.’

‘The quality of the piping is going up and up,’ said games steward Matthew Anderson. There was also a good entry of dancers, particularly from Canada. Dancing steward Sherryl Peter said entries from the US, New Zealand and Australia also joined those from Oban, Islay and Campbeltown, totalling 47 in all. The MacArthur School of Dance from Cape Breton alone furnished 19 dancers. ‘It is part of every Highland dancer’s dream to dance in Scotland,’ director Kelly MacArthur said.

The athletic competitions were hailed a success, especially in the junior events. Aidan MacPhee, 15, competed in the junior high jump event and cleared 170cm to win it. The Oban boy matched his earlier height in the open high jump, and came second overall - losing out only to Tony Daffrun from Coatbridge, who cleared a height of 175cm.

The overall winner of the heavyweight events went to Scott Ryder from Kent. Speaking about his victory in Oban, Scott said: ‘It was a tough field. I was never out of it and made no mistakes – that’s the key to winning the overall. It’s one of the best games of the year. I always look forward to coming here.’

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