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covers a large area stretching from Loch Lomond and Loch
in the South to to Ballachulish and Loch Leven in the north.
It also includes the islands of Mull, Coll, Tiree, Colonsay
and Islay as well as the fertile lands of Kintyre. These
are areas with strong clan ties and loyalties and indeed
is home to several clans with the chiefs of the Campbells,
the MacDougalls, the Malcolms, the MacLeas (the Highland
Livingstones) the MacLeans and the MacLachlans
all having their seats in Argyll.
Living in such a huge county with many miles separating various
clans and families and their kinsmen, the Gathering was born
in 1871 to foster kindred spirits. The late 19th Century was
also the period when highlanders became more confident in
expressing their culture and when political intrigue between
clans was much diminished. It was a period of British and
Scottish confidence at home and abroad.
Oban is central within Argyll and, importantly, accessible
from the islands, which is why it was chosen as the venue.
The origin of Highland Games such as those held in Oban lies
further in the past, in the era when neighbouring families
would socialise through partying and competition – competitions
of speed, dexterity, strength, music and dance. The rivalry
was friendly but intense, with individual, district or clan
honour at stake.
Argyllshire Gathering has changed little over the years. You
will see several events and competitions which are unique
to this type of occasion – caber tossing, hammer throwing,
a hill race, piping, high-land dancing and much more. Many
of the competitions are for Locals from Argyll, many more
attract the very finest competitors from all over the World.
It is this International dimension that differentiates the
Games from yesteryear and is a welcome development. The members
of the Argyllshire Gathering remain committed to keeping our
heritage alive and hope that all will visit and participate
in this wonderful event.