PLANS are being made to safeguard the smallest Highland Games in Scotland - and these are being led by Prince Charles.
The Mey Highland Games, which are to take place at John O’Groats this weekend, is one of only two with Royal Patronage.
Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, is launching an initiative to begin next year where Caithness secondary school children take an interest, through training, in Highland Games.
This will be assisted by the Scottish Highland Games Association.
Prince Charles and his grandmother, the late Queen Mother, have supported the Mey Games for decades.
READ MORE: Queen Mum’s Mey days in the frame
Capt Richard Ottley, chairman of the Wick, Canisbay and Latheron branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, and the local Cadet Corps, hopes that established young heavyweights in the north of Scotland will come on board to train any enthusiastic youngsters.
It is hoped that a small fund will be created to produce equipment and pay for expenses.
The ultimate aim is to encourage youngsters to enjoy highland sports at an early age and increase the number of competitors at highland games events.
Discussions about launching a schools’ programme have already begun with High Life Highland, operator of leisure facilities across the Scottish Highlands.
In a boost to the Caithness business community, local makers and producers are to be given the opportunity to showcase their products at the annual Mey Games.
A platform will be provided at the Games to local music talent in order to promote traditional music from the north of Scotland.
Barry Butler, chairman of the Mey Games committee, said: “This year, the Mey Games is going to be much larger than previous years, with 50 stalls.
“With the assistance of HRH The Duke of Rothesay, North Coast 500, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, it will provide a great day for all the family, with a dog show, craft, food and charity stalls, children’s races, pipe bands, heavy display, local live music and, of course, the traditional tug o’ war.”
Charlie Murray, President of The Scottish Highland Games Association, added: “The Mey Games like so many others around Scotland survive through the hard work and good will of so many people.
“They are a vital part of local tradition and remain a key asset to local tourism. The SHGA is very proud to be taking a supportive role for the very first time this year to assist our new Patron HRH The Duke of Rothesay to develop the games at Mey and retain the small friendly feel they have had for so many years.”