The Queen pays surprise visit to Aboyne Highland Games

It is the first time the Queen has visited the Aboyne Highland Games. Picture: Michael Gillen.
It is the first time the Queen has visited the Aboyne Highland Games. Picture: Michael Gillen.
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THE Queen got up close to a caber as she made a surprise visit to a Highland Games event.

She paid a private visit to the Aboyne Highland Games, held annually in the Aberdeenshire village, on their 150th anniversary.

A new caber had been commissioned for the occasion, with the Queen dedicating it by pouring whisky on it.

Local athletes Jamie Dawkins and John Fyvie lifted the heavy wooden item in front of her and she also met its maker Murray Brown and other members of the Games’ committee.

The royal visitor was welcomed to the Games by the event’s chieftain Granville Gordon, the 13th Marquis of Huntly, and its chairman Alistair Grant, whose granddaughter, 11-year-old Carlie Esslemont presented the Queen with a posy.

It is the first time the Queen has visited Aboyne Highland Games, and Mr Grant said: “It was an honour and a privilege to welcome Her Majesty to Aboyne Highland Games to mark our 150th anniversary.

“She took a real interest in how our new Aboyne caber was crafted and seemed particularly taken to learn about the visits her ancestors had made to the games.

“Our first royal visit was in 1873, when the then Prince of Wales, later Edward VII, attended, and it is wonderful to continue that long association with the royal family today.”

He added: “We have had a superb crowd on the green who have been kept thoroughly entertained by our packed programme of 98 events.

“The atmosphere has been excellent. Visitors have travelled from near and far, which goes to show the huge appeal that Highland Games still have. That is really positive for the future.”

Founded in 1867, the Aboyne Highland Games is a traditional Scottish Highland Games held annually on the first Saturday in August, with thousands attending each year to watch activities including highland dancing, tossing the caber, piping and fiddle competitions.