After an absence of three years, organisers have confirmed that Aboyne Highland Games will be held this August, writes Ian McLaren.
The traditional Royal Deeside event, which attracts up to 10,000 visitors, will take place on Saturday, 6 August. It will mark the first time since 2019 that the games has been staged, after being cancelled for the past two years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Aboyne Green will come to life on the first Saturday in August as a packed programme of 95 traditional events takes place. Featuring Highland Dancing, solo piping and fiddle competitions, pipes bands, light and heavy athletics, tug o’ war and a hill race, the event is popular with locals and visitors, including many from overseas.
Aboyne Highland Games kick starts the Highland Games season on Royal Deeside and injects around £450,000 into the local economy. Along with supporting local shops, cafes and accommodation providers, the games welcomes around 80 trade stands, providing a platform for local craftspeople and food producers to showcase their goods.
Visitors will also have the opportunity to explore their ancestry and learn about the history some of Scotland’s clans in the popular Clan Village. While a funfair, featuring a range of rides and amusements, will ensure visitors of all ages are kept entertained.
Although Aboyne Highland Games was not held during the past two years, the event’s musical spirit endured as organisers moved the solo piping and fiddle competitions online. The virtual competitions offered a stage for musicians to continue competing despite the cancellation of all Highland Games and several other music competitions. It proved popular, with the number of pipers and fiddlers submitting entries being higher than in recent years at the games, and musicians from around the world taking part.
Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said: “We are pleased to announce the return of Aboyne Highland Games for 2022. The event means a huge amount to the local community, and we are grateful for all the support they show us. After an absence of three years the games’ role as a gathering place where people can meet up with family and friends will be more important than ever.
“This August marks 155 years since crowds gathered on Aboyne Green for the first Aboyne Highland Games, so it will be great to welcome visitors back to the games as that anniversary is marked. After two years in which we have held some competitions online, seeing and hearing all the action back on Aboyne Green this year will be fantastic.
“Highland Games help to sustain and encourage interest in the history, heritage, music, dance and sportsmanship of Scotland. They offer a training ground for future talent, with opportunities for young pipers, dancers, runners and athletes to hone to their skills. Helping to preserve these traditions and opportunities is important, whether as a visitor or competitor, and I would encourage people to come along and support Highland Games this season and experience a fantastic day out that all the family can enjoy.”
Founded in 1867, Aboyne Highland Games is a traditional Scottish Highland Games held annually on the first Saturday in August. The Aberdeenshire event, held under the patronage of Granville Gordon, the 13th Marquis of Huntly, attracts crowds of up to 10,000 people each year. Featuring a programme of traditional highland games events, including highland dancing, tossing the caber, piping and fiddle competitions, the event on the town’s green attracts visitors from around the world and makes an important contribution to the local Deeside economy. Further information on Aboyne Highland Games can be found at www.aboynegames.com.
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