2003 Inverness Highland Games Review -- Bumper Crowds Enjoy 2003 Games Spectacular!

The 2003 City of Inverness Highland Games was enjoyed by an estimated crowd of 7000 in Bught Park

Once again the Gathering was blessed with fair weather and there was a rousing cheer as the proceedings got underway with the playing of the Inverness Gathering by 14 year old Ross Robertson of Strathpeffer.

Games Chieftain Provost William Smith then welcomed the Massed British Legion, Beauly and the Glens and Black Isle Schools Pipes and Drums Band into the Stadium and officially opened the Games.

The Guests of Honour at the Opening Ceremony were Mayor Bertha Lance Stone of Archdale North Carolina USA and Mrs Ann Jackson, President of the Archdale based Triad Highland Games, which are officially twinned with Inverness.

The opening ceremony ended with a spectacular display by the RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team who landed to the sounds of a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday from the Grandstand in honour of one of their members who had thought his team mates had forgotten his special day.

The Falcons then lined up to salute the Chieftain as their Hercules Aircraft swooped low across Bught Park.

The Games then got underway with a packed programme of Traditional Music, Highland Dancing, Piping, Athletics and Heavy Events taking place at various locations around Bught Park.

The introduction of separate Dancing and Piping Arenas outside the main stadium was a resounding success with all the competitors and judges clearly enjoying using the improved facilities that the Games Committee had provided. The new arrangements were also very popular with the large crowds who gathered around each area to support their favourites.

The Highland Dancing Competitions attracted a record entry of 119 dancers of all ages and there was an excellent turnout of pipers.

Martin MacBeth won the Donnie Manson Memorial Trophy as the best junior piper and Brendon Eade won the Glen Mhor Trophy as the best Senior.

The Heavy events attracted a large field and Triad Highland Games Athletes Larry Boyd and Wayne Forster Junior created a little bit of history when they became the first of what it is hoped will be many athletes to make the journey across the Atlantic to compete.

Although the locals proved too powerful for the visitors, this was a day when simply entering the field and taking part made you a true champion. There can be no doubt that the biggest cheer of the day came when Larry Boyd's 18- month old son David joined his father on the field for a photograph and rushed over to try to pick up the 56LB weight.

The City of Inverness Highland Games celebrates its bi-centenary in 2022 and there was a rousing cheer when it was announced that David's entry for 2022 had already been accepted by the Games Committee.

Jason Young dominated the heavy events and nearly completed a clean sweep winning the Shot Putt, Easyjet Weight for Height, Tomatin Caber and Inverness Stone.

8 Times Scottish Amateur Champion Mark MacDonald won the Weight for Distance and local heavy Malcolm Cleghorn deserves a special mention for pushing these two exceptional heavies throughout the day.

The 19 foot Caber weighed over 160 pounds and had to be cut down to 18 foot 6 inches to enable the heavies to turn it over. This is normal practice at Highland Games but the sight of the caber being trimmed caused a few smiles amongst first time visitors who thought the judges were changing the rules.

Roll on 2004 !