Cowal Highland Games organisers have hailed its three-day virtual event as a success.

A spokesman said: “In a year which no one could have predicted, this was an event like no other. It was a celebration of a Highland Gathering which is more than just a great day out. Cowal’s Virtual Gathering not only united viewers in the present, it also took them on a journey back in time.

“… Pipe band fans were treated to some of the world’s finest pipers and Stuart Liddell from Inveraray, Angus McColl from Benderloch, Daniel McDermott from Rothesay, Willie MacCallum from Campbeltown and Alistair Henderson from Dunoon came together to pay tribute to a piping legend, Pipe Major John MacLellan DCM in a feature called ‘The Lads Of Argyll’.

“Having all played for the Virtual Gathering separately, they came together – socially distanced of course – to sign off with a very special Salute to the Chieftain. The familiar massed band salute of Glendaruel Highlanders was replaced with The Cowal Gathering, a tune written by Pipe Major John McLellan DCM, and in this unprecedented year a poignant reminder of why we couldn’t gather together in Dunoon Stadium.

Cowal Chairman, Ronnie Cairns said: “We had no idea when we first talked about hosting a virtual event, just how much it would capture people’s imaginations. It has been a mammoth task bringing this event together, it would have been impossible if it hadn’t been for the people who gave their time so readily to be a part of Cowal’s Virtual Gathering. It is testament to the love this event has instilled across generations and geographical borders, thank you on behalf of all of us.

Stuart Liddell, Daniel MacDermott, Angus MacColl, Alasdair Henderson and Willie McCallum playing John MacLellan’s ‘The Cowal Gathering’ recorded recently at the National Piping Centre. The original Burgh Cup can be seen in the photograph. It is thought the trophy was introduced in 1901 for the local piping contests.

“Cowal Highland Gathering is a historic event for so many different reasons. It’s holds the world’s oldest pipe band trophies, it is the home of the World Highland Dancing Championships and it hosts Scotland’s only international heavy athletics championship. But Cowal’s Virtual Highland Gathering is now itself a historic event, it is the world’s first three-day virtual Highland Gathering, and we very much hope it becomes the one and only time we have to host it.

“To everyone who joined us online we thank you from the bottom of hearts, we hope we can meet you in person in August 2021 when we can once again gather in Dunoon Stadium.”

If you missed any of Cowal’s Virtual Gathering you can catch up on Cowal Highland Gathering’s Facebook page and YouTube channel. The 2021 Cowal Highland Gathering will be held in Dunoon Stadium from August 26-28.

Watch Cowal’s tribute to John MacLellan below:

Chris Earl, pictured, has resigned as President of Pipe Bands Australia, the governing body for all of Australia’s competing pipe bands.

He steps down from the post on September 7. Neither he nor the PBA has as yet given a reason for the sudden departure.

Earl was elected as President in 2015 and re-elected in 2017 and again last September for his third two-year term. He is credited with introducing various modernising initiatives to the PBA such as expanding its competition grades to include Grade 4B and Novice Juvenile A and B, and harmonising its music and contest requirements with the RSPBA’s.

In a statement, John Ralph, secretary of the PBA, said: “Chris’s energy and sense of commitment to the cause will be notably absent but he won’t be a stranger around the scenes. Thank you for your service and enjoy all that spare time, Chris!”