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We're celebrating the 40th Carrick Lowland Gathering

The Carrick Lowland Gathering has been a popular annual fixture in the Girvan calendar since 1982!

2023 is a special year for The Carrick Lowland Gathering as it returns to Girvan for the 40th time on Sunday 4th June. Organised by Girvan & District Attractions, we spoke with their Chair Person, Jane Willis, and Minutes Secretary, Sconaid Clark, to find out more about the history of the event, the other local events they organise, and recommendations for things to do in Girvan.

Hi Jane, you are the Chairperson of Girvan Attractions, the organisation that runs the Carrick Lowland Gathering, can you tell us how you got involved with Girvan Attractions?

I moved to Girvan in 2001, as a family we ran a Hotel and Garden Centre, towards the end of 2002 I read about Girvan Attractions AGM and decided to attend hoping to find out about events in Girvan. And the rest is History!

What highlights should visitors not miss, and what are you most looking forward to seeing or doing at this year’s Gathering?

For me the highlights are the Traditional Events like the Pipe Bands, Highland Dancing and Heavyweight competitions. I recommend visitors try to see some of these events but there is so much more to see around the park.
As Chair person I will be involved in the opening ceremony welcoming the Chieftain and Civic Dignitaries, escorting them around the event and acting as a host to guests.
Girvan & District Attractions also run other events in the town, can you tell us a bit about them
Girvan and District Attractions are currently refurbishing Stumpy Jail with a grand reopening on Sunday 18th June
We organise –
Civic Week – a week full of activities from Monday 19th June. Events include a Pet Show, Bingo, Car Treasure Hunt and more. Look out for the posters.
Fireworks Display – weather permitting on Saturday 4th November at the shore.
We are also actively involved in events organised by other groups e.g. the Harbour Gala
and Christmas Street Party.
Finally, what else do you recommend visitors do during their time in Girvan?
Take a relaxing walk along the promenade or beach or be more energetic and visit Biosphere Bikes and choose to hire one of the various vehicles.
There is a children’s play park also on the Prom.
Hi Sconaid, can you tell us about your involvement with Girvan & District Attractions?
I’ve been part of Girvan Attractions for about 20 years.   I was impressed with the committee that ran all the events, especially the ladies who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. I wanted to help out with these events.   The committee has changed over the years and I’ve taken on responsibility for various posts and am presently minute secretary.  I try and take part in as many activities as circumstances allow and I’m happy to be part of the present hard working committee.
This year is the 40th Lowland Gathering, can you tell us a bit about the history of the event
The Lowland Gathering was started by 3 enterprising gents in the town more than 40 years ago ! ( This is only the 40th Gathering as Covid caused it to be cancelled).
John Davidson, an ex policeman, Denis Reid , a South Ayrshire official and historian, and Robert Jardine, a local businessman decided to start Girvan’s answer to Highland Games!
Highland dancing competitions, local groups and individuals took stalls and Girvan’s pipe major (yes, we had a pipe band!) Jimmy Wilson and his wife ran the piping competition.   There has always been a chieftain  (quite often from show business or the world of politics as well as locals who have contributed to the fabric of the town ).
It was a brilliant day and became a yearly fixture in Girvan’s calendar. It has always been held on the first Sunday in June. There were so many more pipe bands in those days and the park rang out to the sound of the pipes and drums. At the end of the day all the pipe bands marched through the town and met their buses at the harbour.
Times change and evolve but it is still a well loved and very busy event in the town with many visitors attending every year from all parts of the world.
The 4oth Carrick Lowland Gathering will take place on Sunday 4th June 2023 in Victory Park, Girvan – entry is free.
Visit the Girvan Attractions website for more details of The Gathering and the other events they put on in the town.
To discover other events taking place in Girvan, head to our events calendar