Historic Thornton Highland Games scrapped as organisers disband

Fife has lost a second traditional Highland Games event from its summer calendar.

Hopes of a return of Thornton’s event – one of the oldest in Scotland – were dashed as it was confirmed the organisation behind it is disbanding.

Thornton’s demise comes after the organisers of Cupar Highland Games announced the end of the road despite an appeal for new volunteers to come on board. Cupar’s games, which dated back to at least 1886, were restarted in 1979 and were a huge part of the region’s circuit, drawing big crowds and featured a number of athletes who went on to become household names across Scotland including Linsey McDonald, Liz McColgan, and Yvonne Murray.

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Thornton’s games, staged in the town’s Memorial Park, have a proud history dating back more than 150 years, but have not been staged since the pandemic.

Thornton Highland Games was part of Fife's summer circuit (Fife Photo Agency)Thornton Highland Games was part of Fife's summer circuit (Fife Photo Agency)
Thornton Highland Games was part of Fife's summer circuit (Fife Photo Agency)

In an announcement on its Facebook page, the organisers said: “With regret, the Thornton Highland Games Committee have to announce that we’re disbanding.

We’d like to thank everyone who has offered to organise, run and participate in the events along with the various businesses that planned to bring their respective services on the day.

Also, many thanks to you all who showed interest in the return of our Games. We hope a group will have the wherewithal to bring back this event which is greatly missed in the village.”

It had staged meetings in the latter half of the year to get the event up and running, and had iuts traditional date of the first Saturday in July in the Scottish Highland Games Association schedule.

Shane Fenton, secretary of Markinch Highland Games, who was approached to give them advice said ''Things appear to have gone quiet since the turn of the year and no one has been back in touch. ''Organising a games is a big challenge and most of those who were showing an interest were new to it.”

The games featured a full programme of competition including running, cycling, heavyweights, Tug of War, cycling, piping, and Highland dancing. The day drew huge crowds to the town and attracted some of the best known figures on the Highland Games circuit.



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