The Gathering is hailed big success after 50,000 flock to Holyrood Park

ORGANISERS today hailed the weekend's huge clan gathering a success, after almost 50,000 people flocked to Holyrood Park from all corners of the world.

Clan chiefs, ex-pat Scots and curious locals were among those soaking up the atmosphere – and occasional sun – yesterday on the second day of Homecoming centrepiece The Gathering.

They enjoyed traditional Highland Games, dancing displays and live music performances.

And organisers hope the event will become a regular fixture as the economic benefits have surpassed expectations.

One couple who will have a special reason to remember the event are Dick Boyd and Sherry Thompson, from New Hampshire. They tied the knot in a traditional wedding ceremony with other members of the McTavish clan yesterday afternoon.

A total of 47,000 people attended over the two days. Most came on Saturday, when 30,000 enjoyed the sunshine, while the rain put off some visitors yesterday.

Around 20,000 people lined the Royal Mile on Saturday night to watch thousands of people and pipe bands march up to Edinburgh Castle, before a performance celebrating Scotland's history.

Lord Sempill, the co-director of the Gathering, said: "This tremendous event has not only been everything I dreamed but has exceeded my expectations. It has been wonderful to see so many local people."

Highlights of yesterday's events included a tossing the caber competition, a race around Arthur's Seat, dancing demonstrations and the Pipe Idol competition,including the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, the Battlefield Band and the Lothian Gaelic Choir. Many visitors dressed in traditional costumes, with kilts and tartan skirts and dresses on display. Dozens of clan chiefs welcomed relatives at the "clan village" in the park.

Nathalie Coriton, 38, a teacher from France who now lives in Prestonpans: "I've been here for ten years and I really love Scotland. We've really enjoyed looking round the clan village."

Deva Gallagher, 30, a full-time mum from Gorgie, said: "We loved the music, especially Capercaillie, and the Highland Games. It's a shame there's been a bit of rain, but the weather was actually better than we expected."

John MacArthur, the chief of the MacArthur Clan, said it had been a unique opportunity to bring the clan together. The 58-year-old works as head gardener at Castle Kennedy in south-west Scotland.

He said: "Being part of a clan gives you a sense of belonging, and pride in being Scottish. We've had a great response from MacArthurs all over the world.

"The parade was absolutely stunning, and the atmosphere at the castle was amazing."