Bute Highland Games 2011

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WHETHER it was the magic touch of chieftain and weather forecaster Sean Batty, or whether Bute Highland Games has friends in even higher places than the STV studios, no-one was quite sure - but the glorious weather which blessed the biggest day on Bute’s calendar made a memorable occasion even more special on Saturday.

Thousands of local spectators were joined by visitors from elsewhere in Scotland and far beyond - all intent on making the most of the beautiful sunshine and on enjoying the day’s many and varied attractions to the full.

The action got under way a full two hours before the official opening ceremony, with Highland dancers from throughout Argyll and Bute taking to the stage at ten o’clock and junior shinty players setting out in pursuit of the GMB Trophy at the same time.

A little later in the day, the start of the junior athletics competition saw Rothesay Academy pupils Anthony Sweet and Craig Macfie doing battle for the Marquess of Bute’s Trophy for the best local junior athlete, with Anthony eventually winning the prize.

Other notable local performances included that of Rothesay dancer Emily Guy, who won both the local and overall prizes in the intermediate 11-16 age group class of the Argyll and Bute Highland dancing competition, and the success of both Rothesay and District pipe bands in carrying off a host of prizes at the end of the day.

But the Bute Games isn’t just about local performers, and competitors from throughout Scotland were joined by those from as far afield as Germany, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand in the various Highland disciplines which each form a hugely popular part of the Games programme.

And as Sean Batty lowered the Rothesay flag to mark the close of the Games, the High Street became packed with spectactors keen to see the island’s special day end on a stirring note, with the skirl of the pipes from 17 competing bands filling the air as they paraded, with their prizes, through the town centre.