Lonach Highland Gathering and Games makes a welcome return after two-year absence

After two long years of Covid-enforced cancellation, Lonach will be returning once again this year.

For nearly 200 years, people have been coming over the Aberdeenshire hills to Bellabeg Park, Strathdon to attend the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games.

Steeped in history, the gathering is one of Scotland’s most iconic traditional summer events.

Established in 1823, by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is a charitable organisation based in Strathdon, who organises the annual Lonach Gathering.

Many events take place throughout the day including tug o war. (Pic:Steven Rennie)

To be held on Saturday the 27th of August (always the 4th Saturday in August), Lonach celebrates Scottish heritage and is a fun filled day out for all the family and one that arrests the senses.

The 2022 event will follow similar lines to previous years with competitors from near and far being encouraged to enter the many events throughout the day in piping, dancing, heavy & light athletics.

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The Games will commence at 8am with the March of the Lonach Highlanders departing Bellabeg.

The Games officially get underway from 12noon with the Lonach Society School of Highland Dancing who will give a display on the Local Dancing Board within the arena.

Highland dancers performing at a previous Lonach Highland Gathering and Games.

The afternoon will feature the Heavy Events, Open and Local Dancing Competitions and children’s races.

The Hill Race starts after the 3pm March of the highlanders has finished the day will ve rounded off with the Beating of the Retreat with the Lonach Pipe Band at 5.30pm

Four pipe bands (Lonach, Towie, Huntly & District and Ballater & District) will perform throughout the day, with Lonach of course being unique for having the march of the famous Lonach Highlanders.

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To view the full programme visit www.lonach.org/program/ A copy will be available to purchase from a week prior to the Games from the Spar Shop based in Bellabeg, Strathdon.

Four pipe bands will perform throughout the day.

Organisers of the event are particularly relieved to be going ahead again this year, keen to build momentum ahead of what will be an even bigger occasion next year as the Lonach Society celebrates its 200th anniversary.

Lonach Society Patron, Sir James Forbes said: "I am very happy to be able to welcome all friends of Lonach back to Strathdon at last! We have dearly missed this unique day of Scottish sport and camaraderie: it is the highlight of our year and we look forward to a healthy blast of the 'pipes – and conceivably a dram – to clear our heads of the gloom of recent years.”

Paul Bush OBE, VisitScotland Director of Events, said: “Aberdeenshire is the perfect stage for events celebrating Scotland’s heritage and I am delighted that EventScotland is supporting the Lonach Highland Games through the National Funding Programme, helping this uniquely Scottish gathering return to the region in 2022.”

Make sure you have 27th August pencilled in your calendar – it’s going to be a good one.

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For further information and details on tickets go to www.lonach.org