No High­land games be­cause of heat­wave

Gulf Times - - BRITAIN - By Libby Brooks

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!”

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