2009 Highland Games Report

The World’s biggest ever Masters Highland Games returned to Inverness for the second time in three years and despite torrential rain sweeping across Bught Park for most of the weekend, we were treated to yet another outstanding weekend of world class competition.

The spectacular Opening Ceremony of the 2009 City of Inverness Highland Games featured athletes from 12 countries and a parade of performers from the Nazioen Mundua Group from the Basque Country who staged a full scale Basque Rural Games over the course of the weekend to the delight of the crowd. The Guests of Honour for our Games were award winning author Diana Gabaldon and Bill Scruggs, founder of the Masters World Championships. Also making a welcome return amongst many old friends was competitor Frank Henry of Alexandria Virginia USA who had proposed to his girlfriend Lee Ann Walsh during the opening ceremony of the 2006 Games and returned as promised with his bride.

On the eve of the Games the Competitors and their families joined our Games Chieftain Provost Jimmy Gray for an evening of Scottish and Basque Music which was enjoyed by all especially Games Secretary Gerry Reynolds who was treated to two renditions of “Happy Birthday” in English and Basque..

Special mention must go Games Head Groundsman Mike McLeod and his team who arrived at 6am to discover that heavy overnight rain had left numerous areas of the ground waterlogged and every single line on the entire field a faded memory. A huge effort was needed to get Bught Park ready for action in driving rain which was managed with literally seconds to spare.

Full details of the results of the 80 events in the MWC can be found at www.scottishmasters.org but special mention must go to Bill and Kevin Rogers who became the first ever father and son duo to win World Titles on the same day.

Following the Games the Chairman of the City of Inverness Highland Games Committee Councillor Angus Dick said “The Masters World Championships and the Nazioen Mundua athletes and performers have ensured that we have enjoyed one of the most memorable Games ever despite having to face numerous challenges due to the weather. Work has already started on our 2010 Games which will see our Games return to being a one day event as we move to a new date and join forces with the Inverness Armed Forces Day Committee and the Inverness Tattoo Committee to stage what should be one of the most exciting events the Highlands has ever seen”.