Royals enjoy the Gathering

The Royal visitors received a traditional warm welcome to the games
The Royal visitors received a traditional warm welcome to the games

They came over the hills to Braemar in their thousands on Saturday.

The annual Highland Gathering drew an estimated crowd of around 16-17,000 for the traditional feast of sporting entertainment.

And there was a strong Royal presence at the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.

The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and her husband Sir Timothy Lawrence made the short journey from Balmoral to a warm Highland welcome.

As always, the Royal visitors took a keen interest in the busy programme of activities in the games areana.

Visitors from around the world attend each year to soak up the atmosphere of the Gathering and a host of sporting events from the ever-popular “heavies” to the traditional hill race, interlaced with Highland dancing and piping competitions.

Organisers were delighted by the turn-out and the fine weather on the day.

Meanwhile, it is hoped that next year will see the completion of Braemar Royal Highland Charity’s new heritage centre in time for the games.

The project, being part-funded by the Duke of Rothesay’s Dumfries House Trust, received the go-ahead this summer.

Key attraction will be the main exhibition hall, supported by a cafe, gift shop and multi-function gallery.

It is being seen as a year round, heritage-based visitor facility to boost the attraction of Braemar as a winter destination.