The Aberlour Strathspey Highland Games are held on the first Saturday in August each year in Aberlour. For 2016 this will be 6th August.
The Highland Dancing programme starts at 11am for the younger competitors and novices, and at 1pm for the more advanced / older dancers. The combination of intricate dancing, beautiful costumes and live music from a piper makes it a very special experience, well worth taking the time to watch and enjoy.
There is an explanation of each of the dances and their history in the games programme, available on the day. There are eight dancing trophies awarded at the Games, and medals award up to sixth place in each event.
Competitors aged 16 and over take part in the following events for cash prizes:
- Light Hammer
- Heavy Hammer
- 14lb Shot
- 28lb Shot
- 28lb Weight for distance
- 56lb Weight for distance
- 56lb Weight for height
- Caber Tossing
These events are open to Male and Female competitors aged 15 and over for cash prizes:
- 100 yards
- 220 yards
- 440 yards
- 880 yards
- One Mile
- Long Jump
- High Jump
A number of pipe bands including many from the local area play throughout the afternoon. The skill of the drummers, the craftsmanship of the handmade kilts and the sound of the pipes are all impressive. The parade of the massed bands at the end of the afternoon is an amazing sight and sound. Filling the High Street, then somehow manage to fit down the lane towards the Mash Tun and on to the park. It is definitely a moment to have your camera in your hand.
There are many stalls at the Games, both commercial and for local good causes. It is a chance to see the work of local producers, try your luck on the bottle stalls, tombolas, etc and sample local food and drink.
The visit of the ‘Showies’ (fairground rides). to Aberlour, takes place in the few days prior to the Games and is very much enjoyed by locals and visitors. There are rides for younger children and the braver older visitors, music, refreshments and all the atmosphere that comes when the ‘Fair’ comes to town!
The Origin of Highland Games
Highland Games can best be defined as a social gathering organised around sporting and musical competitions. According to tradition, Scottish Highland Games had their beginning when the kings and clan chiefs of Scotland sought a reasonable and agreeable method of choosing the best men at arms. Crude forms of the athletic events you see today were developed to test the contestants for strength, stamina, accuracy and agility.
They used the elements and materials of their day-to-day life and so the caber toss, archery, hammer throwing, wrestling and foot races up steep hills were adopted. Even Highland dancing was used to tax the endurance and strength of competitors. It is interesting to note, for example, that the Scottish regiments used to require Highland dancing as a form of training to develop stamina and agility.
The present day popularity of the Highland Games is largely credited to Queen Victoria who developed a love for Scotland, its people and all things Scottish early in her life. She, with her entire Royal family, regularly attended the Highland Games at Braemar – a favourite with our current royal family.
To download the Trade Stand booking form please click here
Dancing: Alison Milne 01466 702266