Forres Highland Games is set for a big comeback after the Covid pandemic
The FORRES community is ready to show visitors what a real Highland Games is like – for the 94th time!
This year’s chef, as well as the event’s chairman and secretary, are grateful to the loyal band of volunteers who ensure its success time and time again, and in particular to the competitors, performers and vendors enjoyed by the thousands of attendees who came far and wide every summer.
The current chairman of the Forres Heritage Trust and former leader of the Moray Council, George Alexander, is honored to be the leader of the Forres Highland Games on Saturday July 2.
He said: “I am delighted and privileged. I can’t wait to meet lots of people and hope for weather similar to that of the Jubilee weekend!
“The Forres Games are the best of all and have the advantage of being held in the unique Grant Park. The fact that we are about to see the 94th Games is proof of the popularity and longevity of the event.”
George, who competed in tug of war in his heyday at Young Farmers, is a lifelong fan of the highland games, having seen his father participate in them, enjoyed the 1955 film Geordie about a hammer thrower, investigated the story of all the athlete Donald Dinnie and was brought up in the same parish as the greatest modern Highland athlete, Bill Anderson.
He said: “I enjoy all the events but the Message Boys cycle race in Forres is particularly fun. It’s always great to see the form, the youngsters engage in honest physical competition.
“Outside of sports, my favorite thing in particular is the bagpipes – especially the mass bands, which are a real spectacle.”
George points out that the exemplary organization of the Forres Games depends on their strength of dedicated volunteers.
He said: “The volunteers make the event such a big attraction – the amount of work that goes on behind the scenes is phenomenal.
“Local businesses also play an important role and the games help maintain the sense of community that Forres is famous for.”
The leader calls on the whole community, especially new members, to come see what’s going on.
He said, “Come and see how enjoyable the show is. I hope some of you will offer to help keep this very important part of the town’s tradition alive for another 100 years!”
Mike Scott has been secretary of the Forres Highland Games for 40 years and a committee member for 62 years.
He said: “I first got involved when I was 15 when I was secretary of Forres Harriers. I was a middle distance athlete and hill runner. I ran Ben Nevis, the Cairngorms and the 26 miles from Inverness to Forres four times!
“I can’t wait to get back to normal and for the games to give something back to the city after the pandemic.”
Mike confirmed that the busy schedule this year includes solo pipers, road runners, track and field entries.
He said: “The athletes come from Aberdeen, Inverness and the Black Isle. We also have a few competitors from overseas including a heavyweight who is here on his honeymoon from New Zealand. C is a former Finnish international rugby player.
“There will be nine bands in the mass pipe band – solo pipers come from as far south as Fife, through Aberdeenshire and further north.”
Finally, Forres Highland Games Chairman Fred, Davidson joined the games committee while working for the council in 1982 – the same year the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh attended the Forres Highland Games.
Fred assumed his current role when former heavyweight lifter and games chairman Kenny MacDonald died in 2010.
Fred is also a former heavy-event sportsman who has competed in Highland Games all over the North.
Fred, Mike and fellow committee members Jim Lawther and Bruce Kerr help judge heavy events around local games each summer.
He said: “Forres Highland Games is a fantastic afternoon of traditional sports and music – with something for everyone.
“The community can’t wait to get out after two years without a game. So please come out and support a spectacular event we’ve missed so much…and bring the sun with you!”