Our guide to Highland Games & Gatherings in the Cairngorms National Park! Attending a Highland Games is a summer highlight for many visitors to the Scottish Highlands. The Cairngorms National Park has a long tradition and history of Highland Games, being home to some of the most famous gatherings.
Last weekend in May each year
The two day Atholl Gathering weekend consists of The Atholl Highlanders’ Parade on the Saturday followed by the Highland Games on the Sunday. Games include traditional events such as tossing the caber, putting the shot and throwing the hammer.
2nd Saturday in July each year
The Junior Highland Games allows children between the ages of 5 and 18 the opportunity to participate in traditional events normally reserved for adults and create interest for the next generation.
3rd Saturday in July each year
One of Scotland’s longest running Highland Games, showcasing traditional heavy (and light events), highland dancing, piping competitions and lesser-known entertainments like tilt the bucket and barrel racing.
1st Saturday in August each year
One of the feature events of the Newtonmore games is the hill race up Creag Dhubh Hill. The length, of the course, is approximately 4½ miles and has a vertical ascent of 1200 feet.
2nd Thursday in August each year
The Ballater Games began in around 1864. This year they are celebrating Captain Alwyne Farquharson’s 70th successive year as Chieftain, who was appointed in 1948!
2nd Saturday in August each year
Known as the ‘friendly games’ and home of the Clan Grant Gathering the Nethy Games first began back in 1880 and are the only Games to have the wonderful spectacle of massed Pipe Bands, a sight to behold!
4th Saturday in August each year
The unique feature of Lonach is, the march of the Lonach Highlanders, some 200+ members of the Lonach Society in full Highland regalia plus the Lonach Pipe Band, leave Bellabeg at 8am to march the 6 miles around the area stopping every so often for a Dram. They then parade around the Games arena.
1st Saturday in Sept each year
Since 1848, The Gathering has been attended regularly by the reigning Monarch and members of the Royal Family. The foot races at The Gathering are the world’s oldest, having been organised on a regular basis by the same body since 1832.
Visit www.shga.co.uk for more info about all the games mentioned!