The first Highland games on Scottish soil for almost two years took place today. The Grampian Highland Gathering was staged in the Princes Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar, Aberdeenshire.
The last full Highland Games were staged at Braemar in September 2019. Today’s games were a reduced event but were organised to keep interest in piping, dancing and sports alive.
HRH The Prince of Wales, currently resident at Balmoral, visited and spent a lot of time personally welcoming everyone including pipers and judges.
The piping events drew a good entry from around the country. They were restricted to light music with competitions for March and Strathspey & Reel only.
March (three tunes asked for, chosen tune played twice)
1 Allan Russell £50, Kantara to El Arish
2 Calum Brown £40, John MacFadyen of Melfort
3 Ben Duncan £30, Bonnie Anne
4 Gordon McCready £20, Stornoway Highland Gathering
5 John MacDonald £10, Donald MacLean’s Farewell to Oban
Strathspey & Reel (three strathspeys asked for, chosen tune and own reel played twice)
1 Ben Duncan £50, Thoughts o’ Burns/ Miss Proud
2 Allan Russell £40, Tulloch Castle/ Major Manson
3 Calum Brown £30, Shepherd’s Crook/ Stornoway Castle
4 Gordon McCready £20, Piper’s Bonnet/ John Garroway
5 Greig Canning £10, Maggie Cameron/ Broadford Bay
Overall: 1 Allan Russell £50 2 Ben Duncan £25
Judges: R Wallace, D Watson; piping sponsored by John Milne Fine Arts, Aberdeen.
Robert Wallace writes: ‘A dry, mild, and very enjoyable day at Braemar. Although there was no Piobaireachd, just being able to hear professional piping in the open air was a real pleasure.
‘As expected there was a lot of ring rustiness in the performances though the first prizewinners were very polished.
‘Some of the tunes submitted did not show the players in the best light either.’
The only other Games on the calendar this year is at Oban on August 26th when the Argyllshire Gathering will host their 150th Anniversary Games.
There will be contests for most grades of piping for March and Strathspey and Reel and Jig.
Jim Brown, chairman of the Grampian Games Association, said: ‘We were delighted to be able to stage the Grampian Highland Games today.
‘After two years of total cancellations we were keen to encourage our loyal athletes, dancers and pipers, and show them, and the public that the spirit of our beloved games is very much alive.
‘The visit of HRH The Price of Wales added greatly to the occasion.’
Bagpipes – DN4A – High Quality Set in Plain Silver£150.00 – £1,800.00
Bagpipes – DN5 – The Finest Bagpipe Available£250.00 – £3,334.00
Bagpipes – DN1, High Quality Instrument£100.00 – £1,130.00