Children can go the extra Daily Mile at Lonach Highland Games

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The Lonach Highland Gathering and Games organisers have joined forces with The Daily Mile initiative to hold the first such event at a Highland Games.

The Daily Lonach Mile is being organised by The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society in conjunction with Active Schools Aberdeenshire and will be held as part of the Lonach Highland Games in Bellabeg on Saturday, August 25.

It is open to all primary age children and is free to take part. It is an extension of The Daily Mile initiative established in 2012 by Elaine Wyllie as a way of improving the fitness of pupils at her Stirling school, St Ninians Primary, and which is now part of the daily curriculum at more than 4,400 UK schools.

The Daily Mile programme helps to increase the pupils’ concentration levels, in turn benefitting their schoolwork. It has been placed at the centre of the government’s strategy to fight childhood obesity.

Participants will take on the mile at Lonach at 12.30pm and will complete the distance just before the Lonach Highlanders arrive onto the games field at 1pm to officially open the 177th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games.

Participants will complete The Daily Lonach Mile in the event’s main arena. To add a sense of occasion to proceedings they will be led into the arena by a local pipe band.

The Lonach Highlanders march into the arena at 1pm to officially open the 177th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, bringing to an end their six-mile march round the local area.

The Lonach Gathering was first held in 1832 and today features a packed programme over 70 events that run throughout the day.

Activities on the games field commence at 10.30am with the piping competitions, before the light and heavy athletics and Highland dancing begin at noon.

A number of local pipe bands will perform throughout the day to entertain visitors, who can also browse around 70 trade stands selling a range of produce.

Children from far and wide are expected to take part in The Daily Lonach Mile, as the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games attracts visitors from throughout Scotland and the United Kingdom, as well as internationally. In order to give organisers an indication of the number of children expected to take part in The Daily Lonach Mile, parents and guardians are being asked to pre-register by emailing dailylonachmile@yahoo.com.

Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “The Daily Mile has been a huge hit throughout the country and we are excited to bring it to the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games, particularly in the Year of Young People.

“Children and young people have long been an important part of the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games. They are the future generations that will continue to uphold the long established traditions we and other Highland Games hold dear.

“Alongside The Daily Mile we have a number of other competitions that children can take part in which are free to enter. These range from piping and highland dancing competitions to children’s races and pillow fights.”

Tickets can be purchased at www.lonach.org