Prince Charles to attend Mey Highland games

The Prince of Wales will oversee the smallest Highland games competition today.

Prince Charles Duke of Rothesay and Camilla The Duchess of Rothesay at the 2005 Mey Games. Picture: Getty

Charles, known as the Duke of Rothesay when in Scotland, is to attend the Mey Games in Caithness in his role as chieftain of the event.

He is expected to be accompanied by his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall, to watch competitions such as Highland dancing, throwing the hammer and tossing the caber.

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The games have been held annually for more than 40 years and are organised by the Royal British Legion.

Charles is continuing a tradition by visiting the games as his grandmother used to attend annually before her death in 2002.

The Queen Mother had close links with Caithness after buying the Castle of Mey in 1952 and became patron of the games soon after.

Charles traditionally acts as umpire in a tug o’ war at the end of the one-day event.

Organiser Stuart Webster said large crowds often travel to the games despite the small number of events.

He said: “It’s usually well attended and we get a good turnout of locals and tourists. I don’t think they come especially for the Mey Games but maybe come over for a trip and make this part of their itinerary. It’s the only Highland games apart from Braemar that enjoys royal patronage, and that’s always an attraction for people.

“The Duke is the games chieftain and has attended all the events since the Queen Mother passed away. She was there every year and he stepped in after her death and has attended ever since. He certainly seems to enjoy it - he keeps coming back so it can’t be that bad.”

Mr Webster has been involved in organising the event for more than a decade as part of the British Legion.

“I haven’t been at a smaller games,” he said.

“I used to compete across the Highlands and I’ve been to a fair few games and this has the title of the smallest Highland games anywhere. I guess it makes it more friendly.”

Rain showers are forecast for the north of Scotland throughout today but the event is always held regardless of the weather.

Mr Webster said: “The weather doesn’t matter - we’ve held it in lashing rain many times.

“I’ve not checked the forecast because I know I’ll jinx it if I do, but we’re made of hardy stuff so I don’t worry about that.”