Bute gears up for Highland Games this weekend

Rothesay and District Pipe Band lead the way in the 2014 Bute Highland Games march past through the town centre.
Rothesay and District Pipe Band lead the way in the 2014 Bute Highland Games march past through the town centre.

Bute looks set for another tremendous day at the annual Highland Games on Saturday, August 22.

The organising committee have been working hard to complete all the arrangements, and have advised us that everything is now in place for a very successful day - including perfect weather(!)

The games arena and surrounding area within the public stadium is in perfect condition, but the grassed area in High Street which was used in previous years for car parking is not suitable underfoot at present. In view of this, car parking has been switched to the disused tennis courts adjacent to the Shinty clubhouse. Parking for disabled drivers (blue badge holders) will be available within the Argyll and Bute Council yard and the council has also made this area available for officials’ car parking.

The Games Committee are respectfully asking members of the public not to park anywhere in High Street on Games day as this is extremely dangerous, particularly during the running of the 10K Road Race and during the grand march of Pipe Bands and Highland Dancers from the Public Stadium down to the town centre at the end of the Games.

There have already been large entries for the various competitions and we are guaranteed a very competitive and entertaining Games.

A total of 260 Highland Dancers will be competing in the six Open Championships, covering all age groups. Bute Highland Games are recognised as one of the leading Highland Dance events and it attracts many of the world’s top performers to this prestigious competition.

One of the star attractions of the Pipe Band competitions will be the appearance of Johnstone Pipe Band, who were crowned Grade 2 World Champions last week in Glasgow.

There is also a full programme of Schools Athletics for Under 9s to Under 17s Boys and Girls track events, including 100m, 200m, 600m and 800m races; together with junior heavyweight championships for each sex. The senior heavyweight championships have 11 competitors in the mens’ event and seven competitors in the ladies’ championship.

Bute Games also hosts what has been described as one of the most scenic 10K Road Races in the country. The course runs from the public park in Rothesay to Port Bannatyne and back, and this event has again attracted a very large entry.

Grappling fans are sure to be entertained by the large entries for the British, Scottish and Bute Championships. The Wrestling events this year include a number of overseas entries and there are already seven female wrestlers registered to compete.

Catering and refreshments are available on the park and there is a myriad of trade stands and children’s attractions.

The event gets under way around 10am with the heats for the primary school races. The finals for these events will be run during the afternoon. The junior athletics events should get under way around 11am.

Official opening of the Games takes place at noon, with the opening ceremony being carried out by the Honorary Chieftain, Len Scoullar, Provost of Argyll and Bute. Rothesay and District Pipe Band will assist in the opening ceremony. The Chieftain and his wife, Beverley, will be accompanied in their duties by the Games Chairman Gordon Sutherland and his wife, Rhona.

The various activities of the Games should wind down around 6pm, followed by the glorious sight of the massed bands marching down through the town to the ferry terminal.

Bute Highland Games is a spectacular event in the local calendar and attracts large numbers of visitors to the island of Bute. We very much hope that these visitors leave with a fond and favourable impression of this beautiful Island and with a strong desire to return.

Entry to the Games is excellent value at £8 for adults, with concessionary and family tickets available. Many supporters of the Games choose to become Patrons (if you decide to become a Patron of the Games after paying the admission charge at the gate, then your entrance fee and your programme cost will be refunded).

Further information on this event is available from the Honorary Secretary, Steve Holliday (tel: 01700 503509; e-mail: hollidayinbute@outlook.com).

Specific information on the Patronage Scheme is available from Ralph Anderson (tel: 01700 500007; e-mail: ralphandjax@o2.co.uk).

Buteman readers can also receive further information on the Games website.