Highland Gathering

Highland Gathering

The History of the Highland Gathering

The first South Coast Highland Gathering was held on June the 15th 1963, as part of a fund raising event for Umbogintwini Primary School. The organisers were Cliff and Betty Leesam, a Scottish family, and involved Dr Ian Dalziel and his wife Pat. Lion Pat Dalziel is still heavily involved in this annual event. The Highland Gathering continued to be held at this venue until 1969.

At this time the Amanzimtoti area was relatively undeveloped and much of it was farming units. In those days, for economic viability, the Highland Gathering was held as a joint event involving the Amanzimtoti Agricultural Show.

In 1970 the venue for the event was moved to Athlone Park Primary School and in 1972 to Kingsway High School. In 1973 a committee involving Pat Dalziel organised the event on wasteland by the river, then in 1974 and 1975 in front of the municipal buildings. In 1976 the Amanzimtoti Lions became involved and the event moved to its current venue at Hutchison Park. In 1990 the Lions took over full responsibility for the event.

The event is reputedly the largest of its specific type in the Southern Hemisphere and enjoys attendances exceeding 10,000 most years weather permitting.

The Event Today

The 2020 Planned Highland Gathering has Been Cancelled Due to COVID-19

About 24 pipe bands and approximately 100 dancers from around the Country participate. The average size of each band is about 15 members who amount to 360 competitors plus 100 dancers which totals 460 participants. These people are accompanied by family and supporters who require accommodation, petrol and food for four days and bring much needed revenue to the area.

There are about 160 flea-market stalls and car dealer stands which increase year on year. These stalls bring employment and revenue into the community. Dealers attract interest and not only sell on the day but have ongoing inquiries and sales after the event.

The event has expanded in recent years with the Lifestyle Expo. where car dealers, boat dealers, home and garden, health and leisure products are promoted.

The Venue is at Hutchison Park

Hutchison Park