No Highland games because of heatwave
Scotland is more familiar with weather extremes of the icy or wet variety, but this summer’s conditions have resulted in a traditional Highland games being cancelled.
The Invercharron Highland games, which were due to be held on September 15 near Bonnar Bridge in Sutherland, have been cancelled because the farmer who owns the field where they are held has not been able to harvest his crops, which are unusually slowgrowing due to a lack of rain.
The Scottish Highland Games Association says that it is the first time in living memory a games has been cancelled due to the heat.
In an online statement, organisers of the games, which attract thousands of visitors, explained: “The farmer, whose field we use, grows his winter feed hay crop in the field and because of the exceptionally dry weather we have had, the crops are growing too slowly and as a result he will not be able to harvest before the games and the feed is urgently needed.”
Expressing their “severe regret”, they added there was not enough time to complete the licence applications and risk assessments required by the local council even if an alternative site could be found.
The Invercharron gathering takes places towards the end of Scotland’s packed Highland games season, and is particularly important because it allows competitors in events ranging from tug of war to caber tossing to gain vital extra points to secure the coveted top places in the Scottish Highland Games Association league.
The association’s president, Charlie Murray, told the Guardian: “Invercharron usually sees the top heavyweights competing, and over the years it’s always had good quality athletics as well as top pipers.
“It’s a long road up there, but its the end of the season so people will travel there to get more points and secure the second, third and fourth places in the league.”
Murray said that the heatwave had also contributed to the success of this year’s games season: “Organisers have been reporting record crowds because of the dry spell.”
He added that he had never known a Highland games be cancelled because of good weather. “It’s the first time I’ve known a cancellation for the reason of dry weather. It’s usually the other way about!”