The Gathering


Crieff Highland Gathering Announces Cancellation of 2021 Games

It is with a heavy heart and huge sense of disappointment that the Board of Directors of Crieff Highland Gathering have taken the decision for a second year not to hold this year’s Music Fest or Highland Games due to take place on the 21st and 22nd of August. 

Following the recently published guidance from the Scottish Government, it has become clear that planning an event on the scale of the Crieff Games is impossible and we can’t with any confidence continue with planning for August 2021. 

We have held off our decision for as long as possible as we have watched many other Highland Games cancel in the hope that the success of the UK and Scotland’s vaccination programme and falling infection rates would allow us to hold some type of event that would provide a welcome boost to the local Crieff economy.  However, we have no clear date as to when the restrictions will be lifted, there is also very little guidance on what restrictions will be in place in August therefore we thought it was better to make the decision to cancel.  We did consider other potential options but they would incur significant costs that we felt would be better invested in coming back in 2022 even stronger.

Anna McLean, Chair of CHG, said, ‘We thought last year was the hardest decision we have ever had to make as a Board, we could never envisage cancelling the Games once yet alone a second time but given what other Games have done across Scotland, the cancellation of the World Pipe Band Championships and the restriction on overseas visitors mean that cancelling is the right thing to do. ‘

‘Words cannot express our disappointment and we also know those feelings will be shared by the town, our athletes, judges, pipe bands, Patrons, sponsors, trade stand holders along with our visitors, some of whom travel from all around the world to be with us.  We have delayed this final decision for as long as possible but even if we are in Level 0 it is unlikely we would be able to proceed with any certainty.’

‘We do feel for anyone who has been or has loved ones affected by this virus and we hope to honour them when we are reunited in 2022.’


The Gathering

Crieff Highland Gathering looks forward to welcoming you in 2022

The Gathering is held in the centre of Crieff at the iconic Market Park. We have a full programme of traditional Highland games competitions on offer including Running, Youth Running, Cycling, Highland Dancing, Heavyweights, Light Field, and Tug o War. We will also showcase several Piping Performances throughout the day as well as the spine-tingling salute to the Chieftain and the customary Massed Pipe Bands finale.  We also have a full afternoon of top class traditional music in the Glenturret Tent area of the Park.  

The History of the Gathering

There can be little doubt that traditional Games of agility and strength have been practised in the Highlands from very early times. Formalisation and annual gatherings began around 1820 as part of the revival of Tartan and Highland Culture encouraged by Sir Walter Scott. In 1848 the Braemar Highland Games was attended by Queen Victoria. By this time the competitions were much as they are today with traditional stone and hammer throwing, tossing the caber, piping and dancing along with running and jumping events.

The first Crieff Highland Gathering was in 1870 and has occurred every year since with the two exceptions of 1914-18 and 1939-49 when no gatherings took place.  The Games continue to be the major annual local and tourist attraction in the area attracting circa 6000 people.  With continued investment the games will grow each year and continue as an annual event for the benefit of the people of Crieff and Strathearn. The Games are run extremely efficiently with high regard for all Health and Safety aspects.

Over the years Crieff Highland Games has been privileged to not only attract very high quality sponsors including RBS, O2, Famous Grouse,  Next Homes, Simon Howie, Foods Ltd & Kilmac Energy but  local businesses  from all sectors.  Our Chieftains  since 1950 have included Ewan McGregor OBE, Kenny Logan,  Elaine C  Smith,  John Beattie, Allan Wells MBE, Brigadier Melville Stewart  Jameson CBE as well as many local and prominent businessmen.

PPA_Ewan-McGregor1.jpg“Crieff Highland Gathering has played a significant part in my families lives over the years. My dad was a director for thirty years and my brother Colin is presently on the Board. I have very happy memories, while growing up in Crieff, of helping the directors set up the Market Park the week before the Games. I met some great characters like the legendary Parks Convener Derek Halley who sadly passed away earlier this year. Never in my wildest dreams at that time did I think, that in 2001, I would be invited to be Chieftain of the Games. It was an honor and a privilege to have been the Guest of Honor at one of the most prestigious Highland Games in the world. The occasion ranks amongst one of the most memorable days of my life and one that I will never forget”

Ewan McGregor