Aboyne prepares for Games number 144!

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Six pipe bands will herald the opening of this year’s Aboyne Games on Saturday, August 6.

The popular annual event kicks off at 10.30am, with the opening of the games at noon, and the six bands, consisting of Bucksburn junior and senior, Newtonhill, Lonach, Towie and Ballater, forming a massed pipe band.

The Cock O’ The North Mace is up for grabs for the best turned out pipe band.

Aboyne Green will come alive with the sounds and sights of the traditional games, as people flock to get a ringside seat to view the action in the ring, or a picnic spot to enjoy an alfresco lunch.

Chieftain, The Most Honourable The Marquis of Huntly, will welcome people to the games - which have been held since 1867 - and local singer Pandy Arthur will entertain. Tarland fiddler Paul Anderson will also perform at the opening ceremony.

Amongst the most popular spectacles at the games are always the heavy, light, piping and dancing events, and there will also be a fiddle competition, being held in the Masonic Hall.

There will be a mace over the bar competition with the drum majors, which was won last year by Roland Stewart.

Visitors will also be encouraged to cheer on the tug o’war teams as they dig in their heels for victory.

For the athletes on the day, the challenging hill race is open to all. It is around 10km in length, with the quickest time being 42 minutes.

There were 78 competitors in last year’s race, which was won by Italian Vanotti Enzo, in 44m 11s, followed by Alford runner Craig Robertson, in 46m 53s.

The first female runner across the line was Briony Curtis, of Banchory, in 53m 16s, followed by Tarland woman Ruth MacKenzie, in 55m 19s.

Entry to all competitive events is free and done in the secretary’s tent on the day and with more than £9,500 in individual prize money up for grabs, competition is expected to be fierce!

Competitors should register at least 30 minutes before their first event and at least 45 minutes before the hill race starts.

There will be many trade stands selling varied goods and also the usual large fairground.

Souvenir programmes are now on sale at various outlets throughout Deeside and also available on the day at £4 each.

(See over)