2008 Highland Games Review

The radio advert for the 2008 Inverness Highland Games summed it up perfectly. "Some events really are worth walking 500 miles to attend".

The 2008 Inverness Highland Games will forever be remembered as the Games when the Games surprised everybody by announcing that the festivities would end with a rather special concert.

The Bught was bouncing on Sunday evening as over 6000 music fans came to see the legendary Proclaimers end their 123 gig World Tour with their first ever performance at a Highland Games and what a Highland Games it was!

The weekend started with one of the most memorable opening ceremonies ever seen at the Games. Cheerleaders, Chinese Lion Dancers, The British Legion Pipes and Drums Band and exactly one hundred Highland Dancers greeted Provost Bob Wynd who was piped on to the field by Chris MacDonald playing the Inverness Gathering in memory of the late Tom Mackenzie. The ceremony ended with a display by the Army's Golden Lion Parachute Display team.

As usual the stars of the weekend were the Heavies. On Saturday spectators enjoyed the Men's Open Championship and the Women's Open Championship and on Sunday it was the turn of the Masters, Under 25's and Under 20's. Former World Champion Alistair Gunn and Masters' World Champion Mark MacDonald were the pick of Seniors on Saturday while Sinclair Patience showed why he is a thrower with a great future ahead of him the following day.

Saturday saw a packed house in the Tulloch Traditional Music Tent for a wonderful show hosted by Andy Ross which ended just as top stunt pilot Jim McTaggart roared over the Games field to produce a stunning display of Aerobatics that had to be seen to be believed. Saturday also saw a very special piece of Scottish Country Dancing in front of the main Grandstand as the crowd watched the world premiere of "The Homecoming" - a brand new dance for Homecoming Scotland 2009.

The giant Clan Village hosted Scotland's biggest Inter Clan Gathering on Saturday which was organised by Clan Chisholm's Ben and Juliette Chisholm-Broomfield and continues to delight locals and visitors.

On Sunday the Clan Village was turned into a concert hall and spectators were treated to excellent performances by the Falcon Group Drummers, Low Tide Revelry and The Jyrojets performed to thunderous applause. Meanwhile over at the Traditional Music Tent Inverness Youth Forum hosted a Summer Showcase featuring some of the best young bands in the Highlands

One of the highlights of the weekend was Sunday's Shinty World Cup Final featuring Primary School Children from Portree and Fort William. The grandstand was rocking at commentator Colin Baillie introduced the players who produced an outstanding final. The team from Skye emerged victorious but the boys from the bottom of the Great Glen can be proud of their efforts.

Once again special mention must go to Head Groundsman Mike Mcleod and everybody who helped the Games Committee stage a Gathering and a Pop Concert that the Highlands could be proud of. It was a magical weekend.

Roll on next year! - Gerry Reynolds