Massed bands at Braemar in 2019.

We wish organisers well as they prepare to put on the first physical highland games in Scotland since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The games will go ahead in Aberdeenshire today.

Almost 1,000 tickets have been made available for the Grampian Highland Gathering which will be held between 11:00am and 3.00pm at Braemar’s Princes Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park. The park has been chosen as its seating capacity allows social distancing measures for competitors and the public to be observed.

Solo piping, Highland dancing, tug o’ war, heavy events, light athletics, and hill racing will all feature.

Jim Brown, chairman of the Grampian Games Association, said: “After two years of total cancellations we are keen to encourage our loyal athletes, dancers and pipers, and show them, and the public, that the spirit of our beloved games is very much alive. We have observed all the regulations and hope to welcome a crowd of around 1,000 to this purely one-off motivational event at Braemar.”

Highland Games across Scotland attract more than 300,000 spectators annually while some 500 participants compete in up to 1,000 competitions.

Shortly after the country – and the world – went into lockdown last spring, the Scottish Government pledged more than £145,000 to support games across the country.

Aberdeen’s Press & Journal newspaper reported today that the event will be filmed to allow audiences from all over the world to enjoy it.