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Best Highland Games

I would love to hear if the large popular gatherings or the small town games are the preferred experience and why.
Thanks, Tom

Posted by
3 posts

We are planning to go to the games in Tomintoul on July 15th. It was a choice between that and Inverness. I just have a feeling the Tomintoul games will be true and fun.

Posted by
6434 posts

I will be interested to see Mardee's report (in due course) on the Gordon Castle games, where she has been today. That is a significantly bigger games than Gourock where I was last week, and for which I have written a report.
My impression is that Tomintoul is similar to Abernethy in terms of size- betwixt Gourock and Gordon.

Posted by
6823 posts

Hi, Tom, as Stuart mentioned, I went to the Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fair yesterday and it was an incredible experience! It was a bit of a wet day (no rain but somewhat muddy grounds from the day before) but that did not damper the enthusiasm. There were all kinds of events ranging from "heavy events" that featured people throwing heavy stones (I think it was the shot put) and tug o war. It was very fun to watch. There were also piping and highland dancing competitions that were just awesome.

Lots of vendors' booths selling all kinds of things, and lots of food booths. I got a Roast Pork Bap, which was pulled pork with a layer of oatmeal and applesauce. Interesting but good. Lots of other food options (and drink options) also. But imo, the best thing was the piping. It was amazing to see all these people in their kilts playing this incredible music.

The crowd loved everything and it seemed like everyone was having an amazing time. I ran into lots of tourists there - some from the US, many from Scotland, a woman from Italy and another from Switzerland - and they were all enjoying themselves as well as the locals. Lots of dogs - I think every 3rd person there brought a dog, but they had some dog events and every single dog I saw was very well behaved.

Lots of stuff for kids to do - bounce castles and rides and face painting. If you click on the link above, it will take you to their website and you can see the actual events that were there. It was a wonderful experience and I'm so glad I went.

Posted by
1 posts

Question for being at the games: Do you need cash to purchase food, souvenirs? Just trying to be prepared. We are attending the Strathmore Highland Games at Glamis Castle in a few weeks. It sounds like a great day out!

Posted by
6434 posts

Everyone except the Scouts had credit card terminals at Gourock- you wouldn't expect them to as they aren't a business.
It never hurts to have some cash, just in case (machines break, internet fails etc) but very unlikely to be needed. Most people will also handle cash if you wish.
And it's nice just to handle some of the beautiful current Scottish bank notes- especially the current Bank of Scotland bridges notes.

Posted by
6823 posts

As isn31c said, everyone took cards there. There were a couple of places that had signs saying that they prefer cash so you can use it if you have it, but you don’t need it if you don’t.

Posted by
323 posts

Last year we attended the games in Aboyne. It was more than I dreamed of... such fun. We drove from Inverness for the day and the only regret we had was that we didn't book two or three nights in Aboyne. FANTASTIC fun. Last year the cheap who won all the strength contests attempted a work record tossing the stone. The crowd worked as hard cherub as he did throwing, but it wasn't to be. It's a lovely lively town. The hosts are stunningly gracious. The setting is fantastic. And besides the games it had the air of a fantastical county fair. If it fits your schedule, I highly recommend it.