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Highland Games Return to Blair Atholl

The pomp, pageantry and sporting prowess of the Highland Games is returning to Highland Perthshire this year, following on from a three-year break because of COVID.

On Saturday, the 28th of May, and Sunday, the 29th of May, Blair Castle will be holding their Highland Games, with a crowd of 4,000 spectators expected.

The Saturday will see the Atholl Highlanders kick off the weekend with their iconic parade after a talk hosted by, Blair Castle Archivist, Keren Guthrie.

Andrew Bruce Wooten, CEO of Blair Castle said: “The Parade and Atholl Gathering hold tremendous significance because they are firmly rooted in the history of Blair Castle and sit at the heart of the local community. The very first was held in 1845 to celebrate being awarded royal colours, and with these the right to bear arms, by Queen Victoria. Since then, the Atholl Highlanders and these events represent traditions and values very close to all our hearts.

“So, I’m delighted to see both the parade and the games back after the enforced break. It is going to be a wonderful weekend which will bring both international and local visitors together in a celebration of our heritage with fun and spectacle.”

The Highlanders are parading from 2:30pm on Saturday, the 28th of May, followed by inspections, general salute & march past from 3:00pm.

There will also be a talk about the unique 183-year history of the Atholl Highlanders takes place on the Saturday before today’s regiment parades in the castle forecourt at the command of Regimental Sergeant Major Graham Jack.

The itinerary for Sunday, 29th of May, is as follows:

9.30am                 Gates Open

10.30am              Piping and Junior Heavyweight competitions begin

11.00am              Local Heavyweights and Highland Dancing competitions begin

12.30pm              Open Heavyweights competition

1.15pm                 Atholl Highlanders March

1.30pm                 Formal opening and The Highlanders’ Dash

2.15pm                 Family races

3.00pm                 Open Tug o’ War competition

4.15pm                 Awards Ceremony

Sunday’s Games include the Highlanders’ Dash, Tug o’ War contests as well as family races. There is a local Heavyweights and Open Heavies competition including shot putt, wrestling, caber throwing, and the Atholl Highlanders cannon pull.

Alongside, there will be pipe bands, highland dancing competitions and the Atholl Highlanders will march into the Arena for the formal opening by the Marquis.

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