Abernethy Highland Games

The ‘friendly games’ loved by everyone near and far.  A great day out for the whole family!

Abernethy Highland Games

The ‘friendly games’ loved by everyone near and far.  A great day out for the whole family!

The Friendly Games in the Forest Village

When: 2nd Saturday in August, 10 am to 5 pm (approx)
Where: Nethy Bridge Games Field, PH25 3DA
Cost: Adult £8.00 | Child £4.00 | Family £20.00

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Games Day Report

The warm dry spring and summer gave ideal conditions for both competitors and spectators. This was reflected in the quality of performance on the field and the numbers coming through the gates. We had the best admission figures since 2011.

Games Chieftain for 2018 was Dr Peter Grant, well known to locals as their local doctor.

Dr Grant has strong local connections as his grandfather farmed at Rothiemoon close to the Games field itself. Dr Grant also served for 35 years on the Cairngorms Mountain Rescue team. Announcer Graeme Allan kept proceedings moving along starting with the Childrens’ events, run by John McCook, which proved very popular with the many young participants.
To commemorate the centenary of the end of the Great War, Chairman Neil Sutherland called for a brief silence for reflection, remembering in particular the 32 men of Abernethy who did not return from that conflict. The silence was broken by a lone piper, Pipe Major Peter Craigmile of Elgin Pipe Band, playing The Flowers of the Forest.

In the Heavy competition, always a draw for spectators, local athlete Conan Quinn set a new Games record in the shot putt of 12.2m, while in the Juniors (17 – 19), Murdo Masterson set a new Games Record of 42.16m for the Scots Hammer. In the Open section, a strong field of 11 athletes competed, the best entry for several years.

Aberdeen based Czech thrower Vlad Tulacek dominated the Open contest, in the process setting two new Games records. His massive first shot putt of 17.32m set a margin of over 3m against the next placed competitor, George Evans of Inverness, himself a Games record holder. In the 56lb weight for height contest he did the same again. clearing the bar set at 15”10” and leaving Evans best throw of 13”3” well below.

The 10 Mile Road Race set off with an entry of 72 runners who made their waythough the pine woods of Abernethy, courtesy of the RSPB who also sponsor the event. First home was Robbie Paterson of Moray Road Runners in 58.01, followed in 58.58 by Paul Rogan of the same club. Paul was also the fastest Vet. First Female and also First Female Vet was Megan Wright of Hunters Bog Trotters in 68.03.

In the Junior Piping section, the winner of the David Grant Blyth Cup for the most promising piper (17 and under) was Kyle Cameron of Rosemarkie.

The Piping Judges, Graham Brown and Duncan Watson of Aberdeen, themselves former competitors at the Games, congratulated Abernethy Highland Games Committee on providing one of the most welcoming and hospitable piping competitions anywhere in Scotland. They welcomed and commended the increased number of competitors for their high standard of play. 8 pipers took part in the Pibroch competition, the winner being Ed MacIlwayne of Vancouver Canada, winning the Lord Strathspey Cup. In the March, Strathspey and Reel, and Jig competitions, Alan Clark of Aberdeen won the Gordon Cup for the competitor with the most points from the Senior Piping Competition.

A record breaking entry of 13 competitors in each competition treated a good crowd of spectators to displays of skilful drumming. Such were the skills that the Judge, Alasdair Dowling, found the placings very close. The growing popularity of this event was evident by the significant increase in entrants and growing numbers of spectators. The winner of the Junior section was Hollie Chalmers of Turriff and District Pipe Band, and in the Seniors the winner was Ieun Johnson, Strathisla & District Pipe Band.

The massed Pipes and Drums are always a popular feature of the Games, both for the spectators and the bands themselves. This year saw no less than 9 Pipe Bands from as far as Banff and Huntly, and comprising over 220 pipers and drummers parading on the field. 7 Pipe Bands took part in the competition for the Pipe Band Challenge Shield judged by Sir Patrick Grant of Dalvey.

To their great delight, the prize went to Portsoy Pipe Band who were formed only 5 years ago and who the judge commended as the most improved band taking part.

The Dancing entry, at 96, was the largest seen at Abernethy for many years with dancers travelling from Lewis, Thurso, Aberdeen, West Dunbartonshire, Ft William, Cambuslang, Edinburgh, and Glenrothes, showing the significance of Abernethy as a Highland Dancing venue.

Judges were June Hislop, Laurencekirk and Lynne Lawrence, Aberdeen; the hard working pipers were John Whyte, Keith, Owen Chalmers, Banff and Tom Bisset, Nethybridge.
The overall winner in the Beginners’ section was Evie Jones of Inverness with Niamh Hogg, Elgin the Overall Novice winner.

The Overall Premier Highland title was a tie between Innes MacKenzie, Fearn and Suzanne McDonald, Elgin. Innes MacKenzie also won the Overall Premier National and the Overall Premier placings. Best Local Dancer 12 years and Under was Lucy Grant, Dufftown, and Best Local Dancer 13 years and over was Rhianne Smart, Craigellachie. TheTeachers Trophy went to the Claire Bryce School.

In Closing the Games, Chairman Neil Sutherland paid tribute to the members of the Games Committee and the many volunteers in the village who had come forward to set up the field and to plan and run the many events that took place during the day. Particular thanks went to the Bin Squad who kept the field litter free throughout the day. Thanks again went to Announcer Graeme Allan who throughout the day kept the crowd informed and entertained, and the many officials and judges who ensured the smooth and timely running of all the events.

Once again the Friendly Games lived up to their reputation.

Results Archive

Abernethy Highland Games – Results 2018

We have created a full list of this years results, of all competitions, at all levels here - includes athletics, heavy events, dancing, piping competitions and more, plus the RSPB Road Race results.


Abernethy Highland Games Association

Abernethy Highland Games and Clan Grant Gathering are held on the playing field in the centre of Nethy Bridge on the second Saturday of August. These are one of the oldest traditional games in Scotland. Known as the “Friendly Games” they are renowned for the stirring sound and spectacle of the Massed Pipe Bands, of around 150 musicians.

A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation
Registered charity number: SC 042969

Registered Office

Post Office
Nethy Bridge
PH25 3DA