The Inverness Highland Games take place this Saturday (July 16) with a packed programme of events and experiences.
High Life Highland runs the event supported by the Inverness Highland Games Committee on behalf of The Highland Council’s City of Inverness and Area, Events and Festivals Working Group, funded by the Inverness Common Good Fund.
The gates to Bught Park open at 11am with the sound of the pipes and the swirl of the tartan welcoming visitors young and old.
Spectators can get their blood pumping by joining in a warm up session in the main arena, led by High Life Highland Active Schools Leaders, ensuring everyone is fit as a fiddle for the fun-packed day ahead.
Junior events will be taking place until noon before Games Chieftain and Provost of Inverness, Cllr Glynis Sinclair, welcomes visitors.
Cllr Sinclair said: “Throughout the course of the day, I hope people will enjoy discovering why traditional Highland Games remain so popular here in Scotland and bring so much enjoyment wherever Scots and their descendants gather together to celebrate across the globe.
“I also hope that those who are joining us from around the world today – and who may be attending the Games for the very first time – can enjoy the thrill and excitement of this unique event.”
Following the opening ceremony, the Heavies and track and field events will begin, interspersed with Scottish Country Dancing, a charity 4x100m relay, pipes and drums marches and demonstrations by the Stoltman brothers, Tom and Luke – arguably the most prominent and successful strongmen in the world.
The Inverness Piping Society will be providing the soundtrack to the day with Piobaireachd, March, Strathspey and Reel and competitions throughout the event.
The Highland Dancing competitions are organised by the Elizabeth Fraser School of Highland Dancing and competitors of all ages will compete in classic dances including the Highland Fling, Sword Dance, Seann Truibhas and Heilan’ Laddie.
There will also be a performance piece in front of the main grandstand to the music of local Highland musicians HoRo.
For more information on the programme of events, visit www.invernesshighlandgames.com
The mini-village will boast a Highland Heritage Tent, organised by the High Life Highland Archive Service, featuring clans, historic archives, family history and heritage rangers – and Outlander fans will also be able to discover the real locations which inspired Diana Gabaldon’s books and television series.
There will be live music throughout the afternoon, alongside a licensed bar and the Inverness Highland Food and Drink Trail Village nearby.
With funfair rides, inflatables and mini Highland Games to get involved in, there is no shortage of activities for the younger members of the family either.
There will be over 60 craft, food, retail and charity stalls, and exhibits at this year’s event, including the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project. Through an immersive pod and VR headset, visitors will be able to take a journey around the Highlands and Islands without leaving the middle of Bught Park.
This is its second outing following the Royal Highland Show. In addition, in the Spirit of the Highlands area, visitors will be able to create a nest, utilising items such as broken jewellery, or something from their home like a leaf or feather that can be woven into the nest.
To take part, book now at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/mythical-magpies-story-nest-building-tickets-380191853067
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands Tapestry team will also be hosting a workshop and showcasing the textiles to be used for the project, and Highland storyteller Lizzie McDougall will premier her Spirit 360 commission, a new story quilt celebrating the Brahan Seers prediction of the return of people and culture to the highlands.
Made using scraps of fabric from the Highlands and around the world, Lizzie will also bring another quilt commemorating the 17th Century’s Seer’s predictions of the sheep driving people from the land, ‘to lands as yet unknown’.
The day will come to an end with tossing the caber and the Inverness Stonemason’s Stone Challenge – competitors must lift a 252lb stone cleanly over a bar suspended 5ft in the air.
High Life Highland Chair Mark Tate said: “This year’s Games promises to be something not to miss and our focus has been ensuring people and their families come away with some fantastic memories.
“After two years away, the Games will be a fantastic fun day out for both residents and visitors, showcasing the traditional competitive events and displays as well as showcasing the very best Inverness has to offer.”