Harpenden Highland Gathering brings sunshine to Scotland

PERHAPS rolling mist and driving rain would have been more apposite for Scotland, but the organisers of this year’s Harpenden Highland Gathering weren’t too concerned about accuracy as they basked in glorious sunshine last weekend.

The annual event, which is supported by the Herts Advertiser and organised by Harpenden Lions, took place in its usual location of Rothamsted Park, and lived up to previous years by offering a diverse programme of all things Scottish, from stone putting and caber tossing to piping and falconry displays.

Highlights included the opening ceremony which featured marching pipe bands from Bedford, Bedfordshire University, British Airways, Harpenden and Milton Keynes, the one-mile children’s fun run and the ever-popular traditional dancing. Members of a re-enactment group dedicated to preserving the traditions of the 1st Battalion 42nd Highland Regiment of Foot 1815, better known as the Black Watch, treated the crowds to a demonstration of loading and shooting their authentic period muskets, with the sounds of gunfire echoing across the park in their wake.

Away from the main arena visitors enjoyed an extensive display of classic cars, performances from St Albans City Band, and a wide variety of stalls offering Scottish food, clothing and crafts, various fun competitions in aid of charitable organisations, and various other local produce for sale.

The year’s gathering was raising money for Harpenden Riding for the Disabled and Keech Hospice Care. Run entirely on donations, the Riding for the Disabled group runs riding sessions catering for a wide range of disabilities and ages, helping youngsters to fulfil their potential on horseback. Keech Hospice Care provides vital support for children with life-limiting conditions across Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Milton Keynes, focusing on helping them and their families to enjoy the best quality of life in whatever time they have together.