2004 Inverness Highland Games Review

The 2004 Games had an unfortunate opening two hours, with an injury to RAF Falcons Parachute Display Team Leader Flight Sergeant Andy Wright during the opening ceremony and the arrival of a mini monsoon at Bught Park.

Unfortunately for Flight Sergeant Wright a heavy landing meant that his visit to Inverness ended with a ride to Raigmore Hospital for treatment.

Everybody knew that Inverness wasn’t going to escape the rain that has been following the 2004 Highland Games circuit but the estimated 5000 plus spectators who arrived at the Bught were determined to enjoy themselves and create a brilliant atmosphere they did!

The Games got underway with a stirring performance of “The Inverness Gathering” by 15 year old piper Chris MacDonald before the Games Chieftain Provost Bill Smith and Guest of Honour David Sutherland were joined on the field by the 51st Highland Regiment and British Legion Inverness Pipes and Drums who were followed on to the field by the Royal Signals (Northern) Band.

A cannon fired by the Highland Gunners was the signal for the start of the Falcons Display which climaxed with a spectacular low level fly past by the RAF Falcons Hercules.

The Chieftain then welcomed visitors from all around the Games to Inverness in Gaelic and English and declared the Games open. The speech was interpreted into sign language for the first time and the large number of delegates from the British Deaf Association Conference which was taking place in Inverness last week led the applause as the Chieftain left the field.

Bught Park was filled with the biggest selection of stalls and displays ever seen at an Inverness Games and towering above the site was a 300 yard Zip Slide which was raising funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Naturally true Scots were asked to make arrangements to slide down the slide modestly.

On the athletics track, the Games attracted the athletes from all over Scotland and the large number of junior competitors was very pleasing to see. Ali Beaton (Inverness Harriers) won the Men’s 100metres and Rachel MacKenzie won the Ladies 100 metres.

In the piping competitions, Niall Stewart won the Senior Piping Competitions and collected the Glen Mhor Hotel Trophy and Gillian Chambers won the Junior Piping Competition and won the Donnie Manson Memorial Cup.

After a spectacular display of aerobatics by Jim McTaggart, spectators were then treated to a wonderful fly past by a giant Nimrod from RAF Kinloss which brought the Games to the halt and had everyone looking skyward.

The Inverness Heavy events attracted 13 competitors with Bruce Robb’s of Pitreavie leading the way with victories in the Shot Putt, Weight for Distance and the Weight Over the Bar. Alister Gunn’s of the Scottish Games Association won the Scot’s Hammer and the Caber.

Tug of War made a welcome return to the Games and 8 teams arrived to pull in competitions organised by locals Cawdor . Elgin, Cornhill, Forres and Halkirk all caught the eye but the whole event delighted the crowd who roared their approval throughout the day.

The giant Clan Village Marquee at the Games was an impressive sight. The Marquee was almost 100 yards long and contained displays by 28 Clans and the Inverness Local History Forum.

The Clan Gathering was organised by Clan Chisholm and the Highland Games Committee and is thought to be the biggest that will be staged in Scotland this year. It is hoped to make this a regular feature at the Inverness Games.

Andy Ross of Moray Firth Radio hosted the show in the Tulloch’s Traditional Music Tent, which featured a packed programme of performances by some of the best traditional musicians performing in the Highlands today.

Roll on 2005 !