Maclean ready to host annual gathering of the clans
IT TAKES a big event for Maclean Scottish Town Dance Centre's Janet Gray to miss a Maclean Highland Gathering, but the chance to judge at this year's Highland Dance Champion of Champions competition in Newcastle was too good to refuse.
While Ms Gray will miss her first gathering in 18 years, she says her dancers will be ready to give it their all when they perform and compete this weekend.
"We will have 12 dancers all up, which is pretty good," Ms Gray said.
"There's a few new dancers who have started recently and this will be their first Highland Gathering dancing so that's exciting for them to be involved.
"They're all dancing well and have been working really hard so hopefully they do their best and go well."
Despite the traditional home of the gathering, the Maclean Showground, suffering severe damage from a heavy thunderstorm earlier this year, Ms Gray said she expected this year's Highland Gathering to be as big as ever.
"The Scots are a resilient lot, they'd make something out of nothing anyway, so I think it'll be pretty good," she said.
"It's such a big thing, they have to push through regardless. There was one year about eight years ago when the Champion of Champions was on in Queensland over Easter, so the Highland Gathering was moved to the week before Easter to accommodate the competitors who wanted to do both, but visitors still came to Maclean on Easter to see the gathering - but they missed it.
"After that I think everyone agreed to never do that again and leave it at Easter, no matter what.
"I think people will turn up to support it and, because the venue has taken a beating, it's all the more reason to come out and support the event."