The Highland Gathering 2020 will be held in Rothamsted Park on Sunday 12 July 2020


Harpenden Lions Club regret to announce that their 2020 Highland Gathering, due to take place in Rothamsted Park Harpenden on Sunday 12 July, has been cancelled. The Chair of the Highland Gathering Committee, Mohan Cashyap, said “This decision was not reached lightly, but in view of the current Coronavirus Pandemic status and Government advice, we cannot continue to plan the event with any confidence that it will be allowed to take place. To delay any longer would have exposed Harpenden Lions Club to costs that we might not be able to recover.”
The first Highland Gathering organised by Harpenden Lions Club took place on 22 June 1996 and the 2020 event would have been their 25th. The Highland Gathering is a hugely popular annual family fun day, which includes all the traditional Scottish Highland Games events, marching pipe bands, dancing, stage performances, arena displays and children’s events. Harpenden Lions Club intend that the Highland Gathering will return in July 2021, bigger and better than ever and hope that the public will demonstrate their support by attending in large numbers.
The Club have agreed that the 2020 charities (The Alzheimer’s Society and Harpenden Lions Club Charities – including their Life Skills Programme for local schools) will now be the beneficiaries of the 2021 Highland Gathering. Members of the public who would like to support these charities in the meantime can do so through the Harpenden Lions Club Charitable Trust, by visiting or the JustGiving page at Email address:

Charities Supported by the Highland Gathering 2020

  • Harpenden Lions Club charities, including the Life Skills Programme in local schools.  See Life Skills
  • Alzheimer’s Society is the only UK charity that campaigns for change, funds research to find a cure and supports people living with dementia today. (

In 2019 the Highland Gathering  distributed nearly £16,000 to various local charities including £6,500 to Keech Hospice Care (

Harpenden Lions Highland Gathering is a great day out with a ‘Scottish flavour’ offering five pipe and drum bands, highland dancing competitions and displays as well as solo piping. Plus traditional highland games heavy events including ‘weight over the bar’, ‘tossing the caber’ and ‘putting the stone’.

 The Children’s Events

 The Highland Gathering will provide an opportunity for younger visitors to participate in a One Mile ‘Fun Run’ and a number of sporting activities based on the running track adjacent to the Main Arena. The Fun Run starts at 13:00 hrs and takes the runners out from the arena and along bridle paths to Rothamsted Manor and back to Rothamsted Park. The run is fully marshalled (we have not managed to lose any competitors in previous runs!) and a full safety assessment is conducted beforehand. Whilst the age range is between five and fifteen we are happy to allow younger runners (if accompanied by a parent or guardian) and older runners (for whom the run often turns into a walk). All competitors receive a medal on completion of the event. Following the return to Rothamsted Park of all the Fun Run competitors the Children’s sports events will start. The Cockernhoe School PTA has run these races at the Highland Gathering for many years and ensures that all children compete against others of a similar age. Events include Running, Three-Legged, and Egg & Spoon races and have in the past included Welly Throwing. All children have the opportunity to win stickers and sweets.

Competitors must register their names and pay £1 each at the Sports Gazebo at the end of the Race Track (from 1100 onwards) for entry into both the Fun Run and Sports competition.

The Dog and Duck Show
The team use trained and untrained sheep dogs to herd ducks, amusing and educating the audience about common dog behaviour issues and about how these can be resolved. The show demonstrates how untrained and poorly behaved dogs still have a programmed natural instinct, giving the audience a new understanding of the Way of the Dog.

Since his childhood on the veldt in South Africa Presenter Warren has only ever wanted to work outdoors with animals. Inspired by joining his Grandfather’s bi-annual migrations to the national parks, he has nurtured an enduring respect for all things wild. He is surprised to find himself finally settled in Norfolk, where the big skies remind him of his other home in Africa. For four years Warren has been helping his friends at the Sheep Show during the summers and has finally reached the dizzy heights of Demonstrator and Presenter for the Sheep Show and Dog and Duck Show!

Wild in the Country Ferret Racing
Wild in the Country is a family run company successfully delivering spectacular ferret racing events to shows and festivals across the whole of the UK. For over 10 years they have been travelling around the country racing ferrets at. Ferret racing provides quirky and lively entertainment, and is led by Malachy de Lacy, an experienced ferret handler. With Malachy’s years of experience to hand, audiences find our show not only greatly entertaining, but educational too. The chatter and quick wit of genial compere, Malachy de Lacy, quickly gathers and holds an audience.  His interactive banter both informs and engages the budding throng.  Look for the feller in the Trilby hat… … chatting!

Pepperstock Archers – Have a Go

 Pepperstock Archers will offer Highland Gathering visitors an opportunity to ‘Have a Go’ at archery. They will offer some basic tuition to help those who have not tried archery before to learn the basics and get the most out of their turn. Visit their Facebook page at

To get a feel for the day click here for video highlights from 2014 showing the piper bands entering the arena and entertaining the large crowds.

For any questions call the special helpline on 0845 833 7426 or e-mail or follow us on facebook