Mull Highland Games is a winner

CompetingHighland dancers at the Mull Highland Games 2022 KG_T30_dancers

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Mull Highland Games returning in all its full glory to Tobermory was a winner.

Crowds of spectators covered the grassy grandstand above the games ground at Erray Park to watch competitors from bagpies to long jump, caber tossing to sailors hornpipe dancing and running races vie for prizes.

Chief of the Clan MacLean, the Hon Sir Lachlan Maclean of Duart and Morvern had the honour of handing out trophies to all the champions.

Tributes were paid to games stalwarts Archie MacDonald and Douglas MacNeilage – gone but not forgotten. Tobermory Pipe Major Calum MacLean poignantly played Sunset On Sunart in their memory.

Earlier pipers marched with officials to the games up from the Main Street, joined by a visiting scout troop from Brussels in Belgium.

The Belgian scouts were allowed a lap of honour of the race track, cheered on by the big crowd and there was plenty of opportunities for other international visitors, from as far as Texas to the Netherlands, France and Glasgow, to join in the games too – including the kiltie dash.

Jude Mezger, 69, from Winchester took home a half bottle of whisky for being first over the finishing line in one of the open sprints. Her 73-year-old husband Theo also competed in a race.

The only woman competitor in the light and heavy events was Karina Benish Alexander who only took up the sport in her early fifties while living in California.

Karina, who first visited Scotland with friends fell in love with the country, its Highland Games and her future husband here in 2017 and now lives in Tobermory.

Now she is on a mission to encourage other women and girls to flex their power and take up eventing, just like her.

‘I want to show other women and girls that they can do it too. At some events I’m the only woman. It would be great to see more take up the sport,’ she said.

Giant Czech athlete Vlad Tulacek was just one of the heavyweights making their mark at the games. He smashed his own 2019, 16ft 7ins record for throwing a 56lbs weight over the bar – higher than a doubledecker bus!

This year the Games hosted the Scottish Highland Games Association Jumps championship which attracted some of the country’s best athletes.

Mull Highland Games Honorary Chairman Willie Hume said: ‘It’s great to be back at square one again after Covid and have the games in all its full glory. We’ve had a spectacular day. Thank you to everyone for their support and see you all again next year.’

The invite is out to join them for the next special games on Thursday July 2023, marking the 100th anniversary of the games restarting after the First World War, as well as the 150th anniversary of a record games in Tobermory.