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As busy holiday spell beckons Highland Games sadly not on 'Day Here & There' list this summer


Writes Shane Fenton

This Saturday [18th July]should have heralded one of the busiest spells on the Highland Games circuit. Sadly, as we all know that won't be happening owing to the blanket wipe out of the season by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The way the dates fall into place this year tomorrow should have been the start of a run 14 Games taking place in the space of 9 days. A similar scenario only happens every few years.
Games would have taken place on eight out of the nine days and ample opportunity for competitors in all disciplines.

This busy spell always coincides with the Glasgow Fair holidays and back in the day the run of Games would be called various names, the 'Games week',the 'week away' or 'Games tour'. Those days are long gone and the terms nowadays would probably apply only to a few of the heavy event athletes who will almost certainly compete on 8 of the 9 days, travelling the country to do so.

The athletes and bikers will certainly still support a few of these Games over the period but not to the extent they once did in the heydays of the 70s ,80s and 90s.  Everyone then was mostly all on holiday at the same time, and athletes who couldn't afford a hotel or B & B would sleep in tents or even in the various games' marquees as they moved around the circuit. Bobby Campbell's Cobbler Hotel in Arrochar was a central point for many for a few nights. Nowadays everything is more expensive and competitors can't afford the time of work to go to all the Games during the spell. It didn't help either when Luss moved from the Wednesday to a Saturday which meant a nothing day for all concerned in between.

Over these next 9 days 100,000 spectators were estimated to be expecting to attend the various Games, many of them tourists, holiday makers and overseas visitors who would have been contributing thousands of pounds to the Scottish economy.

A number of the SHGA Championships will also have to be shelved for this year. The World Heavy Events Championship at Loch Lomond and the World Caber at Inveraray are two of the most prestigious events on the calendar. Loch Lomond was also scheduled to stage the Scottish 80 metres Championship.On the same day at Lochcarron the runners should have been toeing the start line for the British 800 metres Championship with the British 56lb Weight for Distance to be decided at Tomintoul..  Another championship which will be sadly missed this year is the Scottish Light Field Championship on Mull, the Tobermory venue has been a popular and record breaking one in recent years. At the end of what should have been a hectic spell, Halkirk would have hosted host both the 16lb and 22lb Scottish hammer Championships.

For the record here is how the 9 days should have panned out, Sat 18th-Loch Lomond, Lochcarron, Tomintoul. Sun 19th-Stonehaven, Rosneath, Mon 20th-Burntisland, Tuesday 21st-Inveraray, Thurs 23rd-Mull, Fri 24th Durness, Sat 25th Airth,Halkirk,Lochearnhead, Dufftown, Sun 26th-St Andrews.
As the holiday season approaches sadly the Highland Games won't be on the 'Day Here and There'' list this summer.

Published: 2020-07-17 17:53:31