2012 Highland Games Report

The Inverness Highland Games and Armed Forces Day Celebrations attracted just under 4000 spectators to Northern Meeting Park on Saturday 21 July.

Musicians, dancers and performers created a carnival atmosphere in the city centre before the Armed Forces Day Parade, led by motorbikes and massed pipes and drums set off for the games venue just after noon. The parade of servicemen and women, veterans and cadets through Inverness city centre was a stirring sight, and they entered the field to loud applause. The Reverend Peter Howson then led a very moving Drumhead Service, his last before his retirement, which ended with the presentation of Veterans medals by the Lord Lieutenant.

Games Chieftain, Highland Council Convenor Councillor Jimmy Gray, then stepped forward to declare the Games open following the traditional playing of The Inverness Gathering; and his announcement was greeted with a rifle salute from the military. Proceedings then got underway with a mass highland fling featuring dancers from the Elizabeth Fraser and Edith Macpherson Schools of Highland Dance who, together with the members of the Inverness Branch of the Royal Scottish Country Dancing Society, entertained the crowd with a series of wonderful displays throughout the day.

In the piping competitions, organised by Inverness Piping Society, Colin Campbell edged out American Piper Liz Cherry to be crowned Senior Champion with Cameron MacDougall winning the Junior Prize.

In the track and field events, Alistair Beaton won the Men’s 100 yards and Eleonor Briggs won the Women’s event.

In the Premier Inn Heavies competition, former world amateur champion, Sinclair Patience of Tain emerged victorious after a titanic struggle with Texas Highland Games Champion Spencer Tyler. With both competitors level going into the final event, the crowd was roaring encouragement as both athletes thundered down the runway. After 2 restarts following the smashing of cabers by Irish Champion Ray O’Dwer; Patience launched the caber high into the air for a throw that was judged at 11:59 by Judge Mike Scott. This beat a throw of 12:03 by Tyler, making it one of the most exciting competitions for many a year.

For one couple in particular, the 2012 Inverness Highland Games will never be forgotten. Joining Spender Tyler on the field, was his new wife Olivia, a most talented Heavy athlete who competes in the USA. Throwing with the men throughout the day, Olivia achieved something that no other competitor at the 2012 Inverness Games was able to do.

She set a new Games record for the 14 pound weight for distance with a throw of 17.69m beating the record of 17.00 set by Alison Roger in 2007.