171st Gathering for Lonach

'And they're off!' The hill race usually proves popular at Lonach.
'And they're off!' The hill race usually proves popular at Lonach.

This Saturday, August 25, heralds the 171st Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, held in Bellabeg Park, Strathdon.

The day begins with the procession of the Lonach Highlanders, departing Bellabeg at 8am on their march along the glen returning to the Lonach Hall for lunch at 11.30am.

A competitor in the heavy events give it his all.

A competitor in the heavy events give it his all.

The pibroch competitions start at 9.30am. Entertainment will be provided in the centre arena with the Towie Pipe Band being the first of three bands to play throughout the day at 11am (Huntly and Ballater will follow at 11.30am and noon).

There will be a demonstration from the Lonach Society School of Dance on the local dance board at 12.30pm and this will be followed by the Highland Dancing competitions, sponsored by Walkers Shortbread, throughout the afternoon on both the local and open boards.

The Lonach Highlanders, almost 200 in total, led by the Lonach Pipe Band will arrive back in the arena at 1pm and march again at 3pm.

The hill race sets off after the 3pm march, involving a 3.5 mile run through beautiful woodlands surrounding Strathdon. This year the Hill Race is sponsored by Subsea7, based in Westhill.

Heavy events, sponsored by Glenfiddich, and light events, sponsored by Williamson & Dunn, commence at 1pm and continue throughout the afternoon with a variety of children’s races taking place mid afternoon.

All competitors should register at the secretary’s office on the day (except for the hill race where registration is at the information tent).

The funfair, as well as more than 50 trade stands, food outlets and a beer tent are all available throughout the day.

Entry to the games is £7 for adults and £3 for children aged 5 to 15 years, car parking is free. Some ringside seating may still be available on the day from the information tent.

There will be a licensed dance in the Lonach Hall after the games, with music by The Sell Outs. Tickets are £10 each and must be pre-purchased either from Bellabeg Shop or the secretary – no tickets will be sold on the night.

The annual Lonach Ball will be held on Friday, August 31, dancing to the Graeme Mitchell Dance Band, with a four-course dinner provided by Harry Fraser Catering Ltd. Tickets must be pre-booked and cost £40 each, available from the secretary.

Enquiries to Jennifer Stewart, secretary, on (01975)6 51772 or e-mail Jennifer@lonach.org