THE sheer joy of the return of the Nairn Highland Games was evident in the strong turnout at the ties last Saturday, with thousands enjoying the sunshine and fierce competition in all events.
It was the last year that outgoing organizer Sandra Ross was in charge and she was presented with a bouquet of flowers and thanked for her valuable services by Games Chief Lord Cawdor.
“It was very emotional,” said Sandra, who was a cheerleader for 20 years and former president of the Nairn and District Amateur Athletics Club.
“But it was such a treat to see the sun shining and the banks of the Links full of spectators and families enjoying themselves as the massed groups paraded around the arena.
“We missed the Games for two years because of Covid and I think everyone enjoyed being back.”
An earlier controversy over the diversion of the Pipes Parade took a turn at the end of the games when it took its traditional route along Marine Road and crossed the A96, ending in the city centre.
The Games committee had been told they would need a traffic management team to close the road for the march from Viewfield, which would cost £2,000.
Instead, a permit was applied for from Highland Council to walk from Viewfield to the links, but this presented its own problems with traffic and parked vehicles.
At the end of the games the parade marched along Marine Road and across the A96 with volunteers stopping traffic.
A spokesman for the Nairn Games stressed: “This was done without the permission of the committee.”
In addition to a full athletics program in dance classes, a new Jocelyn Cameron memorial trophy was presented to 13-14 year old class winner Catriona McAlpine by Jocelyn’s husband, Hendrik Ronsch, whose the family was present from Germany.
The overall winner of the Steph Smith Cup adult class was Molly Smith and the top local dancer was Isla McGillivray from Croy.
The heavyweight champion was Sinclair Patience of Tain.
Andrew Murphie dominated the junior heavyweight events winning the Hamish Davidson Cup and MacDonald Fraser Quaich for the junior championship. A hotly contested tug-of-war final was won by Achagour A.
Half Marathon Winners: Male, Shaun Cumming (Highland Hill Runners) 1:09:40; wife, Jessica Haworth (alone) 1:37:59
Drum Major Competitions: Best Results, Duncan MacDonald, Skye Pipe Band; walking, Derek Dean, Huntly District Pipe.
Overall Whistle Champions: Senior, Greig Conning, Kirkcaldy. Under 15, Grace Kelman, Inverness. Under 18, Cameron Boner, Canada.