MORE grade one pipe bands than ever will compete at tomorrow’s Gourock Highland Games in Battery Park.

Gourock marks the start of the Scottish pipe band and Highland Games season.

The six bands are Scottish Power, Inveraray and District, Shotts and Dykehead Caledonia, Johnstone, Glasgow Skye Association and Greater Glasgow Police Scotland.

Inverclyde Council’s event and communications officer, Susan Rose, said it is ‘a tremendous coup for the Games’.

She said: “It will be the first chance of the year to see some of the finest pipe bands in the country compete ahead of the majors.

“We are delighted to welcome them to the Games and to join us in starting the season at Gourock.”

Alongside the pipe band competitions, the 61st Games include traditional events, the West of Scotland Highland Dance Championships and mini Highland games involving local school children.

There will also be the first ‘come and try sports’, with a range of free sports activities.

Fairground rides, children’s activities, vintage fire engines and a wide range of food and community stalls will add to the entertainment for people of all ages. The Games open at noon, and culminate with the Chieftain’s March Past.

This year’s Chieftain is Morton chairman Douglas Rae, who is also boss of Golden Casket.

He said: “I am absolutely thrilled and extremely honoured to have been asked.

“I am really looking forward to the event, and to spending the day with everyone taking part.”

The event is organised by Inverclyde Council and supported by River Clyde Homes, Inverclyde Active Schools, Gourock Community Sports Hub and Gourock festival of sports.

And the piping competitions are run under the auspices of the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association.