Heavyweight judge, Charlie Simpson (left), a native of Stroma, chats to chieftain Lesley Riddoch and John “The Professor” Matheson. John, now living in Nairn, but a native of Spinningdale is a former chieftain.

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NO 108 - OCTOBER 2000

Invercharron Games

This year's Invercharron Traditional Highland Games, held on Saturday, September 16, were declared a resounding success by all involved,despite the fuel crisis which disrupted many other events that weekend. Although petrol shortages and this year's poor tourist season meant that numbers attending were slightly down on last year, the still substansial crowds enjoyed glorious weather, and what, according to secretary Morag Chalmers, was "one of the best days ever."

With the exception of the cycling events which, attracted disppointing numbers, the competitions were extremely well supported. The piping and Highland dancing competitions, in particular, attracted strong fields, with top honours in piping going to Niall Matheson of Inverness. Mr Matheson also enjoyed the distinction of being allowed to keep the the beautiful glass chanter trophy, having now won it on no less than three occasions.

Meanwhile, the heavyweight events, for many, the most exciting spectacle of the day boasted encouraging numbers of competitors, with nine novices taking part in the morning's events and sixprofessionals competing in the afternoon. These dedicated individuals spend much of their time travelling the Highland games circuit, and this year's worthy winner was bruce Aiken of Auchenblae. Meanwhile, overall winner in the noice competitions was Peter Whitehead of Fort William. The novices competitions were also boosted in an unusual manner by two Norwegian visitors who had travelled over especially for the games! This came about through judge Charlie Simpson who had met them when judging a competition in their native land, and suggested that they visit Scotland to compete at Invercharron; although neither were placed both are said to have thoroughly enjoyed their day out.

For many who were present, a particular highlight of the day was the appearance by this year's chieftan, the popular Radio Scotland personality, Lesley Riddoch. She was seemingly delighted to have been asked to perform the important task of opening the games and her enjoyment was apparant as she enthusiastically greeted competitors and committee members. She got the chance to meet the locals when she made her way around the field accompanied by her consort, Mr John, "The Professor" Matheson. As a former chieftan himself, Mr Matheson was an appropriate choice to escort Ms Riddoch and "show her the ropes."

It also proved a special day for young Lucy Ann Henderson — not only had the 12-year-old been selected to be junior chieftan, but only one of her large extended family was unable to attend the games.

A sucessful and enjoyable day was finally rounded off that evening with a dance to the excellent Fergie MacDonald and his band.

The games were made all the more memorable for games secretary, Morag Chalmers, when a presentations was made to her in recognition of her twenty years as games secretary, which she said she was delighted to receive. A presentation was similarly made to Carol and James Munro for their twenty years as committee members. Thanks to hardworking individuals such as these the Invercharron games are still as popular as ever and will hopefully continue to be for many years to come.

— Fiona Mackenzie

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