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Organisers of this year’s Morvern Games and Gala Week, which drew to a close at the weekend, have hailed the events as exceeding all expectations.
The Highland Games, held the previous Friday, began a week of events on the Morvern peninsula, followed by a hugely successful Gala Week.
Knock Park was in magnificent condition and Games Day was blessed with temperate weather and a gentle breeze that dealt ably with the midges.
Following a successful children’s sports in the morning, pipers Archie and Logie Johnson, Cameron Anson and Graham Renton led the Chieftain’s March onto the games field.
A crowd well in excess of 2,500 saw recently retired local GP, Dr Susan Taylor, begin her duties as chieftain by officially opening the games.
Alongside the athletics and heavy events there was chainsaw carving, buckin’ broncos,
Highland dancing with Connie MacLennan, piping, bouncy castles, axe throwing, archery and a host of other activities.
The Gala Week kicked off on the Sunday morning with a Duck Race on the River Aline and a Clay Pigeon Shoot and was followed by kids activities, gin tasting and Lochaber Ceilidh Trail performing in the hall.
The rest of the week’s packed programme included nature walks, a presentation on St Kilda, bowling tournament, flower festival, Doggy Day at Knock Park and a Nc’nean Distillery launch party at Drimnin.
There was also tapestry weaving, bingo, heritage walks, Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, yoga and a quiz night, plus Gaelic singing, Junior Highland Games, the Chieftain’s ceilidh, allotments day and a wildlife photography session.
Lochaline Quartz Sand opened their doors to a limited number of visitors to view the impressive Silica Sand Mine up close.
A selection of wellbeing activities was on offer at Ardtornish culminating with the Scottish Tree Hugging Championship in the afternoon (see page 13 for a full report).
Saturday and Knock Park was still the place to be, with Tag Rugby and the traditional shinty match.
Down by the lochside, the annual fishing competition saw Isla MacKechnie (and Mappa) win the heaviest basket, while the heaviest fish was caught by Kirsty Laurie on Selkie; and most species caught was by Jamie Boult and Daniel. Eadie Kennedy also organised a crabbing competition at the old pier for those not fishing.
Also starting and finishing at Lochaline Harbour was the Big Morvern Run which had runners competing over a hilly 20k course. Overall winner was Scott Robson in a time of 01:31:36, closely followed by first local George Beckett in 01:31:56. First lady and local was Lisa Robertson in 01:51:57.
The Final Fling was in Lochaline Village Hall on Saturday Evening with Dancing and Fancy Dress high on the agenda.
The Cast Ewe Ceilidh Band provided foot tapping music and the Robertson family won the Fancy Dress as ‘The Minions’.
The Grand Prize Draw saw Malcolm McNeill became the proud new owner of the specially commissioned painting by John Archbold of the view from Knock Park.
Sunday and, for those left standing, the Lochaline Social Club hosted Darts and Dominoes. This allowed a slow wind down after the week’s exertions and a great finale to a wonderful week.
Event secretary Megan Whyte told the Lochaber Times: ‘The huge amount of work, by a relatively small committee, that has been put into this event is utterly fantastic. They, along with contributing organisations, deserve a huge thanks from their community.’
‘Not content with merely holding this annual event, the committee is close to finalising a community buy out of Knock Park, and its environs, from Ardtornish Estate.
‘This will include the land west of Knock, as far as Kiel Church. This is a substantial, and bold undertaking that has been made possible with a grant from the Scottish Land Fund.
‘The committee had hoped to announce the completion of the sale during Gala Week, but alas, that has not been possible due to circumstances out with the committee’s control.
‘Perhaps there will be an announcement in the very near future that we can all celebrate.’