Visit Cairngorms

Highland Games in the Cairngorms National Park


The Cairngorms National Park is home to some of the best and most famous Highland Games in Scotland. The Cairngorms National Park has a long tradition and history of Highland Games where Clans would compete against each other in sporting events. Some say that Highland Games originated as a clan chieftain's way of choosing the best bodyguards and the fittest fighters.

Not all clan chief's requirements were related to war however - musicians and dancers were important for the prestige of the household. Choosing staff was often done by holding competitions - good runners for couriers, strong men for defence and a range of entertainers to keep everyone amused during the long dark winter evenings.

Many events at today's Highland Games still use items which would have been part of everyday life in the Highlands in those days.  Round stones from river beds probably provided the original shot-putts while a Scots pine trunk shorn of its branches is still the caber you see tossed today.

Many of the games also acted as 'gatherings' where all members of the clan would march together, showing just what a formidable force the clan might be, should a rival clan have any ideas about taking over!  Gatherings today attract clan members from right around the world.


Event Date: 23rd -24th May 2015
Location: Blair Castle, Blair Atholl
Usual Events: Atholl Highlander's Parade, Heavy Events, Highland Dancing, Piping, Trade Stands
Contact: Blair Castle T: 01796 481207.  www.blair-castle.co.uk


Event Date: Saturday 11th July 2015
Nearest Town: Braemar, Aberdeen Airport: Dyce, Aberdeen, Links to London.
Special Event: Braemar Challenge (Creag Coinnich Hill Race), Dog Show, Jacobite Camp, Birds of Prey, fun races, hammer throw, tug o'war  - new competitors welcome, instruction given Display: Highland Dancing, Piping
Seating: Free.
Contact: Email


Event Date: Saturday 18th July 2015 (Always 3rd Sat, July)
Location: Public Park, Tomintoul, Near Grantown on Spey,on Route A939. Nearest Town: Tomintoul, Grantown on Spey. Airport: Inverness.
Usual Events: Solo Piping, Highland Dancing, Heavy & Track Events, Tomnabat Hill Race, Childrens Fancy Dress in Evening.
Contact: P.E.Grant, Monriack. 18 Main Street, Tomintoul, Tel:(44) 1807 580407.


Event Date: Saturday 1st August 2015
Location: The Eilan, Newtonmore. Nearest Towns: Newtonmore, Kingussie. Airport: Inverness, Aberdeen.
Pipe Band Festival, Dancing, Track & Field,Traditional heavy Events, Piping, Craig Dhu Hill Race, Games Official Opening, Codonas Shows, Display by Spartans Gynmastic Club, Trade Stall & Beer Tent, Major Sponsor Dalwhinnie Distillery, A Great Day Out for All the Family
Usual Events: Track and Field, Heavy Events, Hill race.
Contact: Mr T Robertson 01540 673348.


Event date: Thursday 13th August 2015. Note: always second Thursday in August.
Location: Monaltrie Park, Ballater, Aberdeenshire. Nearest town Ballater. Airport: Dyce, Aberdeen.
Events: all the traditional Highland Games events and competitions, i.e. piping and highland dancing competitions; track and light field events; hill race; heavies, including tossing the caber; tug o’ war; tilt the bucket fun; and children’s races.
Attractions: the traditional beer tent; fast food and trade stalls; and funfair.
Gates open 10am, events start 11am, with the official opening at noon.
Contact: Ron Drever, High Trees, Morven Way, Ballater, Aberdeenshire AB35 5SF
Tel: 01339756224; email: info@ballaterhighlandgames.com;
Website: www.ballaterhighlandgames.com

ABERNETHY HIGHLAND GAMES First took place in 1880

Event Date: Saturday 8th August 2015 Always 2nd Saturday in August
Location: Playing Fields, Nethybridge. Nearest Towns: Aviemore, Grantown-on-Spey. Airport: Inverness.
Events: Heavy Event, Piping Competition, Track Events, Highland dancing, Spectacular March onto the field of over 100 pipers in the grand massed bands display, followed by members of the Clan Grant Society who travel from all round the world for their annual gathering, Codona's Sideshows, trade stalls and a full catering and refreshment service  add to the attractions. Spectators can make a full day out by travelling from Aviemore or Boat of Garten on the Strathspey Railway's steam trains to Broomhill where a free bus service takes passengers to Nethybridge.
Events start at 10.30am. with the official opening at 1.15pm following the entrance of the massed pipe bands and parade by the Clan Grant . Car Parking is free.
Contact: 01479 821492.
Website: Nethybridge Highland Games


Event Date: Friday 21st August 2015
Location: Glenisla Haugh Field, Glenisla.
Traditional Highland Games, Dancing, Piping, Hill race, Heavy Events, Kids races.
Contact: Lorna Davidson Doonies Farmhouse, Glenisla, Alyth, Perthshire PH11 8PJ. Tel: 01575 582349


Event Date: 23rd August 2015
Location: Heithfield Park, Grantown-on-Spey. Nearest Town: Granton-on-Spey, Airport: Inverness, Links to London.
Special Event: 56lb Weight for Distance Championship, Usual Events: Highland Dancing, Solo Piping, Open Tug O War, Running, Cycling, Field and Heavy Events, Mass Pipe Bands.
Contact: Mrs E Watt Tel: 01479 873237.


Date of Event: Saturday 22nd August 2015 at 8am
Location: Bellabeg Park, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. Nearest Town: Alford, Aberdeen. Airport: Dyce Aberdeen.
Events: March of The Lonach Clansmen, Solo Piping, Highland Dancing, Field and Track and Heavy events.
Contact: Jennifer Stewart, Chief Executive & Secretary, Lonach Highland & Friendly Society, Balachailach, Strathdon Tel: 019756 51772 Email


Event Date: Saturday 5th September 2015 (Always 1st Sat in Sept)
Nearest Town: Braemar, Aberdeen Airport: Dyce, Aberdeen, Links to London.
Special Event: Queens Visit Plus other members of The Royal Household. 80 metres British Championship. Pre-entry required for Piping, Dancing, Track & Hill race. Mass Band Display. Usual Events: Highland Dancing, Solo Piping. Light and Heavy events. Tug O War.
Seating: Prices From £6 To £20.
Contact: Mr W Meston Tel: 01339 755377





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