First Games of the season cancelled

Gourock Highland Games - massed pipe bands
Gourock Highland Games

Gourock Highland Games has been called off for the second year in a row due to the coronavirus pandemic restrictions on outdoor events.

But, Inverclyde Council is examining options for a possible reschedule for later in the year, subject to covid restrictions being relaxed for outdoor events.

The Games, held at Battery Park on the banks of the Clyde, is hosted by Inverclyde Council and traditionally marks the start of the Scottish Highland Games, Piping and Highland Dance outdoor competition events in Scotland. It is held on the second Sunday in May each year.

The ongoing national Covid-19 safety restrictions means the event, which was scheduled to take place on Sunday 9 May 2021, cannot go ahead. The pandemic also put paid to the 2020 event.

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.

“Like many things, I’m very much looking forward to the return of the Gourock Highland Games and seeing people discover Inverclyde when it’s once again safe to do so.” 

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

Gourock Highland Games 2016
Gourock Highland Games

Ian Grieve, Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA) Secretary, said: “The Scottish Highland Games Association are saddened to hear that Gourock Highland Games have decided to cancel this year's event in May, but fully understand that in these difficult times it is probably the right decision in the current circumstances.

"As they were due to go ahead in May at the beginning of our season it was always looking likely that they might need to cancel for a second year, we wish them all the best and hope they can regroup and come back even stronger in at a rescheduled date or 2022.”

May Hughes, The Gourock Highland Games Dancing Organiser, said: “Although unfortunate - we totally agree with the decision to cancel this year’s Games as all aspects of health and safety must be a priority

“It is disappointing as the West of Scotland Championship held within the Gourock Highland Games is the first outdoor championship of the season and is always enjoyed by many competitors and spectators alike.

Gourock Highland Games 2017
West of Scotland Highland
Dance Championships

“We hope that by next year we will all be in a better position and that normality will have returned to allow the things we enjoy to recommence and look forward to welcoming everyone back.”

This year would have been the 65th anniversary games. The event cannot go ahead in light of the tier levels set out by the Scottish Government and continued restrictions on large gathering and outdoor events.

 To find out more about Gourock Highland Games follow @GourockHGames on Twitter and on Facebook.