Highland gathering and games – what a great day

Zurich Pipe Band

Tossing the caber, throwing weights and hammers … track running, piping and the popular tug o’ war … what a day was had at the Glenurquhart Highland Games.

And the sun was splitting the skies just to add to the enjoyment of the thousands who attended at Blairbeg Park, in the village of Drumnadrochit.

The locals and visitors from all over the world were treated to an international flavour from the outset when the Zurich Caledonian Pipe Band, from Switzerland, joined the British Legion Pipe Band, from inverness, to lead the parade.

The honorary position of Games Chieftain was given to local lad Willie Owen, who has been a games stalwart since he was a young boy in the village. It was a fitting tribute to him and his family.

He oversaw an outstanding day of fun and games, which included 19-year-old George Evans creating a world record in the youth events by throwing the 28lb (12.7kg) weight all of 74 feet 10.5 inches (22.8 metres).

On behalf of everyone involved in our Highland Games, may I extend a huge THANK YOU to everyone who supported our event yesterday. 2 x pipe bands, world records broken, incredibly generous sponsors, record entries, record number of stalls, beautiful weather and all round great day. I wish to pay special tribute to all our amazing volunteers, who work tirelessly to "make it happen" – above and beyond! THANK YOU! Your games now needs you!! We have volunteer requirements for Tea Tent convenors, car park attendants, event marshals, event convenors, set up/close down and many more – PLEASE volunteer so the games can continue. Russell – Chairman

Posted by Glenurquhart Highland Games Loch Ness on Sunday, August 27, 2017

Many of the visitors took part in the open events in the afternoon, such as the hill race and the mile.

And preparations for the “Auld Scots Kilt Race” began with the Games Secretary running around trying to source a kilt for a young Australian who wanted to participate.

Eventually, one of the heavyweight competitors very kindly whipped his off after the heavy events had finished and gave it to the young Aussie, who had more difficulty keeping the kilt on than running the race!

The Achmony Hill Race – which is very fast and tough – had a record 52 competitors, including members of the Royal Signals football team who used the event as part of their training regime.

Local participants had to swallow their pride as the winner was Ali Burns, from the Wharfedale Harriers, in Yorkshire, England.

Glenurquhart lies to the west of Drumnadrochit. It runs from Loch Ness, at Urquhart Bay in the east, to Corrimony and beyond in the west.

The Glenurquhart Highland Gathering and Games was established in 1945, just before the end of the Second World War, and the first event attracted more than 1700 people according to records.

For more than 70 years, the people of Glenurquhart have striven to create Highland sporting and cultural magic for the competitors and spectators.

Date for your diary

Why not put a date in your diary to experience it for yourself next year? It will take place on the fourth Saturday of August. In fact, that coincides with a Bank Holiday weekend here in the Highlands so you can also stay a little longer to enjoy a boat trip on Loch Ness.

But don’t forget to pack your running shoes just in case you fancy a wee hill run!

Other attractions at the Games include piping competitions, highland dancing, stalls with crafts and tweed, and pop-up food stalls.

Then, when the event finishes, many people make their way to the village hall where there is a bar to wet the whistle while the pipe bands complete a finale of classic Scottish tunes like “The Dark Island” and “Scotland the Brave”.

The atmosphere is amazing, you can feel the hairs standing on the back of your neck and your feet can’t keep still.

The Glenurquhart Highland Games. What a fantastic day. See you next year!