Head-balancing strongman is new Harpenden Highland Gathering highlight

Marching Band

Marching Band - Credit: Archant

A 67-year-old record-breaking strongman renowned for balancing a Mini Cooper and 235 full pints of beer on his head is one of the highlights of this year’s Harpenden Lions Highland Gathering.

The world’s number one head-balancer, John Evans, has 33 Guinness World Records and 44 Record Holders Republic World Records, and is just one of the new attractions for 2014’s event, which takes place in Rothamsted Park on July 13.

Five pipe bands will be participating on the day and there will also be solo piping and Highland dancing competitions as well as Highland Games heavy events and arena entertainment.

Arena attractions include the Dog and Duck Show where lifelong shepherd Stuart Barnes and his working collie dog show off the intricate work of herding with ducks, and the Hawksdrift Falconry display team, who work to promote falconry as a traditional country sport.

The event is once again being supported by the Herts Advertiser as official media sponsor, and we will be offering our usual extensive coverage of the event in the newspaper and online.


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Since the Harpenden Gathering started in 1980, the Lions have raised more than £600,000 for good causes, and this year the organisation hopes to raise £15,000 to be split between Arthritis Care, Carers in Hertfordshire as well as the group’s own Life Skills Programme it runs in local schools.

Steve Gledhill, a member of the Lions for over 30 years, said the event is a real draw: “People come from all over the country and it is a place for many Scottish reunions. It is a firm favourite for the community and one of the biggest events in the Harpenden calendar.”

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The Harpenden Highland Gathering can be traced back to 1946 when the first event of its kind took place at Beech Hyde Farm in Wheathampstead. The event was put on for the many Scottish engineers who worked at the De Havilland aircraft factory.

Entrance for adults is by purchasing a half price programme for £3 in advance or £6 on the gate. Programmes will be on sale from early June at several local retail outlets including WH Smith in Harpenden. Children under 16, accompanied by an adult, enter free of charge.

For galleries of images from previous events, visit the Herts Ad’s dedicated Gathering website at www.harpendenhighlandgathering.co.uk/home

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