Lonach appeal for Gathering photos

Lonach Highlanders George Thomson, left, and Willie Coutts with a poster promoting the 1958 Gathering
Lonach Highlanders George Thomson, left, and Willie Coutts with a poster promoting the 1958 Gathering

One of the North-east’s oldest traditional events is appealing for help in celebrating a milestone anniversary.

The 175th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games will be held in Strathdon on Saturday, August 27, and organisers are asking the public to contribute old pictures and videos of the event to mark the special occasion.

We are keen for locals and visitors to really get involved by sharing their memories of past gatherings

Jennifer Stewart Lonach Secretary and Chief Executive

Over the past two centuries the Lonach Gathering has become a popular annual event that attracts up to 10,000 visitors.

A large number of photographs documenting the evolution of the gathering and the local area are held by the society, but it knows thousands more images exist.

In order to stage a display of old photographs this year, organisers are keen to hear from local people and visitors who have attended the annual spectacle over the decades and captured still images or video footage.

The society would also be eager to see old pictures of the Lonach Highland Ball, which it also organises and is held in the Lonach Hall on the Friday following the games.

This year, to help mark the 175th gathering, the Lonach Highlanders will be joined by the Atholl Highlanders, Europe’s only private army.

The Atholl Highlanders last marched with the Lonach men in 2000.

Jennifer Stewart, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society’s secretary and chief executive, said: “This year’s event is shaping up to a great occasion and will feature the traditional mix of dancing, piping and light and heavy athletics.

“We are keen for locals and visitors to really get involved by sharing their memories of past gatherings and also help us to document the event’s evolution.”

She added: “Whether the pictures or videos were taken in recent years or decades ago, it would be fantastic to see them all.

“If any company can help us to display these pictures at the gathering, or is interested in sponsoring part of the event, we’d be interested to hear from them.

“One constant at each games has been the Lonach Highlanders. They create a stirring sight and sound as they depart Bellabeg at 8am to begin their march around the local area and always receive a rousing welcome as they enter the games arena at 1pm.

“We are honoured that the Atholl Highlanders will be marching with the Lonach men this year to help us mark our 175th gathering.”

Anyone with old photographs or videos of the Gathering should email them to info@lonach.org