Spotlight on Aboyne Games founders

The massed pipe bands at Aboyne Games
The massed pipe bands at Aboyne Games

A project to mark the 150th anniversary of Aboyne Games has shed some light on a long-standing mystery - who were its founding fathers.

The event’s current committee embarked on a mission to identify those who attended the games’ inaugural meeting and put a name to the person who in 1867 held the title of Lord Provost of Aboyne.

In July of that year, 20 men met in the village’s Huntly Arms Hotel to discuss the possibility of staging its first Highland games.

Within weeks, their vision was a reality as several thousand spectators gathered to watch sporting events on Aboyne Green.

This Saturday, a century and a half on, those scenes will be recreated at the same venue as crowds watch today’s competitors challenge for honours in light and heavy athletics, Highland dancing, piping and fiddling.

The event’s success and appeal ensures it continues to be a highlight of the Royal Deeside summer events calendar.

Thanks to the work of Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society, a picture of each of the original committee has now been created.

Their professions included a doctor, an innkeeper, a leather merchant, a flesher (butcher), a carpenter, a blacksmith, a wood merchant, a shoemaker, a gamekeeper, a railway porter, two masons and at least five farmers.

The most intriguing entry in the list of attendees at the first meeting was simply given as the Lord Provost of Aboyne, who was noted to have chaired the meeting.

His identity was confirmed in the Aberdeen Journal of May 22, 1867, as William Mackintosh

Games chairman Alistair Grant said: “The Lord Provost of Aboyne has intrigued us for many years and it is great to finally learn a little more about this mysterious figure, and also the other gents who helped establish the games.

“We are very grateful to Aberdeen and North-East Scotland Family History Society for their assistance.

“Our 150th anniversary is set to be a special day.”