Once again, the Stirling Highland Games have surpassed all expectations and have provided visitors from far and wide with a fantastic experience. On Saturday 19 August, the games took place at their traditional venue at Stirling Sports Village, attracting thousands of people from across the world to witness the traditional highland games competitions, wander through the trader’s village with over 40 producers and makers, as well as immerse themselves in the rich Scottish heritage of the creative arts and exhibits on site.
One of the most memorable parts of the day for the committee was welcoming back Kathryn White as the Games Chieftain for the year. Kathryn, a former international women’s cricketer for Scotland, has not only achieved great heights in her sporting career but also serves as an inspiring role model for the younger generation. She was joined at the Gathering by past Chieftains Alison McGrandles, Michael Goodfellow, Bruce Crawford, Colin O’Brien, Ian Bowie and Alan Rennie as well as the President's other guests including Alan Simpson, the Lord Lieutenant of Stirling and Falkirk.
In its second year of live competition the Adaptive Heavyweights, supported by the HRFCA, was well contested by the Wounded Highlanders and continued to captivate spectators throughout the morning sessions. None more so than Scottish athlete Trish Lawson, who has once again broken 2 World Records in the shot put and weight for distance category. This awe-inspiring event pays tribute to the resilience and strength of our armed forces personnel. We witnessed some extraordinary performances from all 6 athletes, as they showcased their determination, courage, and incredible skills. The Wounded Highlanders competition truly embodied the spirit of the Highland Games – resilience, perseverance, and triumph.
One of the highlights of this year's event was undoubtedly the Traders Village. Bursting with vibrant stalls offering a plethora of traditional Scottish products, local crafts, delicious food, and much more, the village added a lively and bustling atmosphere to the games. Traders reported good sales and expressed their gratitude for the opportunity to showcase their products to an enthusiastic crowd.
Of course, it wouldn't be the Stirling Highland Games without the Heavyweights competition, supported by Specsavers Stirling. Fiercely competitive, these athletes gathered on the day to test their strength and compete in all 8 disciplines throughout the afternoon. Kyle Randalls not only picked up the RSHGA British Championship Medal for the 16lb hammer but once again picked up The Specsavers Cup from Pauline Skea, as the overall 2023 Heavyweights Champion to much applause coming from the crowd.
Speaking of crowds, this year saw an unprecedented number of attendees, building on the tremendous success of previous years, with the games field completely packed as they cheered on the numerous track and field events taking place inside the games field. Brodie Cowan won the hotly contested 90m sprint in a time of 10.31 seconds.
Thousands of people from near and far flocked to Stirling to enjoy the vibrant atmosphere, cheer for their favourite competitors, and embrace the unique Highland Games experience. The support and enthusiasm of the crowds truly made this an event to remember.
This year's Highland Games also saw a new record set in our renowned 'Bruce Challenge.' Inspired by the legendary Scottish hero, Robert the Bruce, this gruelling challenge tests athlete’s endurance, speed, and agility. The record-breaking performance of carrying 2 Scottish boulders weighing in at 164.5kg by walking 134.5m left spectators in awe and is a testament to the exceptional talent and determination of the 2023 winner, Tim Meadows. Stirling Highland Games President Matt McGrandles welcomed onto the field his guests Alyn Smith MP for Stirling and Scotland’s First Minister, Humza Yousaf. The First Minister spoke with the 3 podium-placed athletes and was delighted to present the Champion Tim with the Bruce Challenge Quaich.
The Highland dancing competition continues to go from strength to strength under the guidance of The Sutherland School of Dance. With now over 200 entries, the dancers danced throughout the day with many local and overseas competitors picking up winners’ trophies and medals.
The Stirling Highland Games committee must extend our deepest thanks to all the athletes, volunteers, and funders whose contributions made the 2023 Stirling Highland Games possible. We are incredibly proud to call Stirling the home of this iconic event, and we look forward to welcoming everyone back next year for an even grander celebration of Scottish culture, history, and athletic competitiveness.
Please mark your calendars for the 17th of August 2024, because you won't want to miss what we will be planning and will start to announce in the New Year.