We had yet another memorable day at this year’s Games. As last year, we had wonderful weather; a huge number of spectators, including visitors from many different countries; a huge turnout of our wonderful Patrons; and hard fought competitions throughout the day. Eight Pipe Bands were represented, including our own Ballater Pipe Band, Dalhousie Pipe Band who returned from Switzerland, and the Band of the Queen’s Royal Guard.
As ever, thanks to all our wonderful volunteer helpers – we can’t do it without you!
This year we welcomed both our 99 year old Chieftain, Captain Alwyne Farquharson M.C. of Invercauld to his 70th year as our Chieftain, and our President Sir Andrew Walker-Okeover Bt.
To celebrate the Chieftain’s wonderful achievement, the Committee erected a commemorative stone at the entrance to Monaltrie Park where the Games have been held since 1889. A granite stone from the Invercauld Estate was engraved with chosen wording, the Ballater Games Crest was fixed to the Stone, and the finished Stone was mounted on a prepared plinth at the Park entrance. It was unveiled on Games Day by the Chieftain.
The Games Committee also presented the Chieftain with a Shepherds Crook, made by Neil Cassie, our Piping Convenor. Neil heated and bent black buffalo horn into shape, and carved a Scottish thistle on the nose of the horn. After its final preparation the horn was attached to a hazel stick. The crook was also fitted with a silver nickel collar engraved with the Chieftain’s initials, resulting in a beautiful and unique presentation gift.
The Chieftain’s Clan Farquharson also celebrated the occasion by commissioning a new pipe tune composed by Ian Shand, which was called, “Captain Farquharson of Invercauld”. The Chieftain was presented with a framed copy of the tune, and his two Clan Pipers played the new tune in public for the first time as he moved to his tent.
As something different this year, before the start of our Highland Dancing Competitions, our spectators were entertained by European folk dance groups from Italy and France in their traditional costumes. They were introduced by Aberdeen based Scottish country dancing group Aurora, and brought their own musicians to play for their traditional dances. It proved a colourful and enjoyable start to the day.
All in all, a great day! We look forward to welcoming our Chieftain, Captain Alwyne Farquharson M.C. in 2019, and being able then to further celebrate with him in his centenary year!