The Oban Times - - LEISURE -

High­land games be­gan 1,000 years ago as a means to re­cruit for the clan chiefs’ en­tourage, and Taynuilt’s honorary chief­tain this year, Ali­son Hutchins of Dawn­fresh, has gained an im­pres­sive ret­inue of cham­pi­ons.

In the con­tests to find the strongest man, who would have acted as the chief­tain’s body­guard, Lu­cas Wenta took the £ 800 prize for toss­ing the 150lb, 18ft long Taynuilt caber, which is judged on its com­ple­tion of an imag­i­nary clock-face, and throw­ing the 16lb Nant Stone the fur­thest.

In the lo­cal heavy events, An­drew Ser­vant just clinched over­all cham­pion from Jona- thon Macken­zie, and Louis Macfar­lane clinched the ju­nior cup win­ning the welly over the bar and putting the riverbed stone.

In the run­ning events, where the fastest men were used for de­liv­er­ing or­ders in bat­tle and long- dis­tance run­ners for ral­ly­ing the clans, Michael Dea­son won the gents’ quar­ter-mile, halfmile and mile, and Alas­dair Camp­bell of Lu­ing was first gent through the tape in the six-mile hill race, and Clara Hor­swell the first lady. Storm Evans surged to first place in the ladies 100 yards sprint, while Lacy Peanny won the 220 yards and quar­ter-mile.

‘The true aris­to­crats of High­land Games have al­ways been known to be the solo pipers,’ ex­plains the pro­gramme: ‘The chief­tains of old all had their own pipers. It is said ‘to the mak­ing of a piper go seven years of his own learn­ing and seven gen­er­a­tions be­fore.’

An­gus MacColl of Ben­der­loch, him­self de­scended from fa­mous pipers, won the march, Strath­spey and reel, and pi­obaireachd, but was beaten into sec­ond place in the jig by Kate Ki­move of Nova Sco­tia. Emma Hill and Innes Munro, both of Con­nel, shared the pip­ing tro­phy for best over­all open ju­nior.

Wher­ever Scots gath­ered, danc­ing was sure to fol­low. The chair­man of the or­gan­is­ing com­mit­tee An­drew Gray said: ‘ We have got a new dance plat­form and we have dou­bled our ca­pac­ity for en­tries. There was a great de­mand.’

The High­land danc­ing this year saw 77 com­peti­tors rang­ing from three to 23 years old. An or­gan­iser Isla Munro said: ‘Our en­tries are up on last year. It gets higher and higher ev­ery year.’

Some had trav­elled thou­sands of miles to com­pete: 11 dancers from the Ma­cLeod High­land Dance Stu­dio in Sault Ste. Marie, On­tario, vis­ited on a ‘trip of a life­time’ com­pet­ing at Loch Lomond, In­ver­aray, and Taynuilt, be­fore head­ing up to Lewis. More High­land dancers came from the Dun­nett School in New Brunswick, in­clud­ing Katie Camp­bell, 16, who said: ‘The whole at­mos­phere is more fun and much more re­laxed.’

‘ We are not the big­gest, but we are a good, friendly, tra­di­tional High­land games,’ agreed Mr Gray, who is al­ready look­ing ahead to next year’s games, which sees the world gath­er­ing of Clan Mac­In­tyre, with 300 kin­folk ex­pected to de­scend on the games af­ter a week-long tour of Mac­In­tyre coun­try.

Left to right: Innes Jack­son, Mitchell Leckie and Louis MacFar­lane, who was even­tu­ally crowned cham­pion, throw a smooth, round river bed stone in the ju­nior lo­cal heavy events.

The Taynuilt Games’ hard-work­ing kitchen vol­un­teers, left to right Jessie Ser­vant, Fiona MacFar­lane and Sheena Davies.

Oban Pipe Band.

Run­ners start the six mile hill race, won by Alas­dair Camp­bell of Lu­ing (far left).

The solo pip­ing com­pe­ti­tion at­tracted world class bag­pipers.

Colin (left) and Tim McIn­tyre present the Clan McIn­tyre Trust’s award for hard work and achieve­ment in Gaelic to Erin Hig­gins (left) and Bethan Neil in joint 2nd place.

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