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Scottish Highland Games Association - PRESS RELEASE covering loss of Highland Games season and some initiatives that are planned by organisers.


SHGA PRESS RELEASE - 14/6/20                                                                                 

‘The calendar of Highland Games this year may now be empty, but that doesn’t mean we’re sitting back’, says Ian Grieve, secretary of the Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA), the sport’s governing body.   ‘We have a few surprises already and more on the way.’

With all their sixty-plus member Highland games now confirmed as cancelled, 2020 will have none of these traditional events that have been running for decades , some centuries.  It also leaves many small communities without their only gathering of townsfolk, often the only place locals can participate in sports in front of a crowd.

The games are iconic Scottish events that take a long time to prepare and have significant costs, so given the current restrictions and uncertainty about when large crowds will be allowed, it’s no surprise that organisers won’t be able to run them this year.  In turn, this will impact on local economies, tourism and small traders who bring their crafts to the games.

However, the SHGA says that the games are resilient and for some members around the country the situation has been met with surprising responses.  Ian says ‘Strathmore has shown online how to make a fun caber for kids, Aboyne has an online solo piping competition, Ballater will be raising the standard and inviting supporters to send in clips, Stirling is lining up some virtual activities which people can participate in, and we have others looking to do more with online resources to deliver something that will interest, excite and entertain.  Check out the SHGA Facebook pages and website for the latest information.’

Meanwhile, the athletes, dancers and pipers aren’t resting on their laurels: many continue to practise with virtual demonstration and competition events showcasing their skills.  ‘There’s a great podcast Life Behind the Trig which has athletes in heavyweight disciplines sharing experiences, and our partner governing bodies for Piping and Dancing are also rising to the challenge’ says Ian.

While the loss of events in 2020 is ‘dreadful, with wide impacts’, Ian says the games are being positive about the future. ‘We’re already planning for next year, to come back stronger, better: welcoming back all our supporters and friends, hopefully some new ones too, people who haven’t attended a Highland games before.  I would urge you to think about helping your local games, come and make a difference - see the SHGA website for contact details’

Published: 2020-06-15 11:10:11