Forres Highlands Games were great success
FORRES Highland Games were a great success on Saturday, with thousands of visitors from all around the world flocking to Grant Park for the 91st staging of the event.
A special Canadian dancing troupe performed highland dancing, with a group of 40 young Germans, all donning bucket caps with Scotland flags on them, also attending. Groups from as far afield as Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Italy also came to watch a varietyy of different events.
The games started with the Forres and District Pipe Band leading a procession from the High Street into the park, where the official flag was raised. Chieftain for the day was the band’s chairman John Channon MBE.
After addressing the public, Mr Channon, who competed in the games in the 1960s, told the Forres Gazette: "I still can't believe I'm Chieftain.
"It hasn't really changed much since I competed here in the 60s. In terms of technology, yes. But, in truth, there hasn't been many changes and the spirit has remained. It's still very family friendly and family orientated."
The weather remained nice all day, and the attendance was a positive for the organisers.
Games Secretary Mike Scott said: "We were thrilled to have a huge queue of attendees waiting for the gates to open and even more delighted to find many of these were visitors from oversees – including a 40-strong party from Germany.
"The event had a real international feel and our visitor numbers were up on last year too."
Economically, the games are huge for Forres – especially with the European Pipe Band Championships moving to Inverness until 2021.
Laurie Piper, operations manager at Moray and Speyside tourism, added: "The games have increased importance this year as we need to maintain the profile of Forres.
"The loss of Piping at Forres is a concern but we are confident it will return after three years in Inverness. The bands love Forres. A good proportion of them stayed in the town this year and travelled to Inverness."