THIS year’s Glenfinnan games paid homage to one of the local greats who originally founded the annual event and the tradition behind the successful day.
Secretary of 69 years, Ronnie MacKellaig, is son of late Highland dancer and founder, Archie MacKellaig.
And The Oban Times heard how his father’s legacy lives on at the games.
In 1969, competition judge, Archie, presented a young Mairi Illsley with his dancing sword. He made her promise to always bring it to the games and for 46 years she has lived up to her word.
Mairi said: ‘My dancing sword was given to me by Archie. I was a dancer and he was too. He gave me his dancing sword on the condition that I always brought it to the games.
‘He was one of the founders of the Glenfinnan games. In 1945, a group got together for the 200th anniversary of the Jacobite rising on August 19, 1745. He thought it would be nice if they could make it an annual event to commemorate the rising.’
Changes in health and safety now mean that original swords cannot be used anymore, but that has not stopped Mairi from sticking to the pact she made as a 13 year- old.
Mairi said: ‘The sword is a very important part of the games, as is the history and why the games began. These are what makes this such a very special event, so although we cannot use it, I always bring the sword with me.’
Archie was not only the founder of the games, but he choreographed a unique dance called the Highland Schottisch - similar to the Highland Fling, but danced with a partner. The dance can only be found at the games and by those competing in the adult category.
Eva Collister, from Larbert Chieftan of Glenfinnan Games, Tommy McEachran, 79, threw the
Ronnie MacKellaig and Mairi Illsley hold the sword that belonged to Ronnie’s father Molly Smith, nine, from Falkirk won
the under 12 overall
Frank Cousins throws the 22lb weight for distance
Lochaber pipe band
Euan Gillies, nine, in the kids’ high jump competition
Consistent competitor, Donald MacDonald 21_f34games05
Niamh, four, and Erin Campbell, five, watched the Highland dancers
Aimee Sneddon and Jamie Lee Laverty won joint first place in the