Perthshire Highland Games chief’s optimism for a brilliant 2022 season

Perthshire Highland Games Association (PHGA) recently released the dates for all 13 member Highland Games for the coming season.

Having seen a complete cancellation of all Perthshire Highland Games over the last two years due to the COVID-19 virus, there is now a real sense of enthusiasm to see Highland Games back on the events calendar – coupled with a genuine belief that this season will actually happen.

Ian Stewart, PHGA chair, told the PA: “We are not entirely out of the woods yet as far as the virus is concerned and there may be issues to overcome, however things don’t look as bleak as they have done.

“There is no doubt we have concerns surrounding possible restrictions, one of those being the possibility of vaccine passports still being a requirement to enter large-scale gatherings and this in itself would obviously bring a challenge to all our members.

Ian L Stewart, 2022 chair of the PHGA has been in Crieff all his life
Ian L Stewart, PHGA chair: “Organizers will be taking the utmost care to keep all our visitors and competitors safe while they attend our events.”

“We had hoped that the recent announcement of a lowering of restrictions would be a welcome one, however the lowering of attendance numbers to 1000 for events to require 50 per cent vaccine passport checks could prove difficult.

“Until the season actually gets under way, we are unsure what possible restrictions may still be in place. I can assure everyone though that all Perthshire Highland Games organizers will be taking the utmost care to keep all our visitors and competitors safe while they attend our events.

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This is Ian’s first year as PHGA chair: “I hope we will see the Perthshire Highland Games bounce back in 2022 with a real bang.

“Having stayed in Crieff my entire life, I have a real enthusiasm for Perthshire and all it has to offer but Highland Games are my passion.

“It has been said that Highland Games are basically men in kilts, they are what you see on the side of a shortbread tin and that once you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. However my answer to that is ‘you’ve never been to a Perthshire Highland Games then!’

“Besides the fact that all are traditional Highland Games with events such as Highland dancing, pipe bands, athletics and the iconic caber toss, there is so much more to see and do.

“From watching Military Tattoo acts, listening to music performers such as the famous Red Hot Chilli Pipers or taking in the World Haggis eating competition, screaming on the funfair rides or enjoying the many food and drink outlets available – we do it best in Perthshire.

“Many Highland Games now also offer hospitality packages where families or businesses can enjoy the whole spectacle from the comfort of a marquee.”

Ian enthused more: “There is no doubt that for many towns and villages throughout Perthshire, the Highland Games can be their biggest social event on the calendar and one that many people use as their annual gathering for friends and family.

“There is a real community spirit surrounding Perthshire Highland Games, something that can be very easily and quickly lost should these events be allowed to diminish, however this year, with the help of the people of Perthshire, the many visitors from here and abroad, the musicians and competitors, we hope to see a triumphant return of 13 of Scotland’s most loved Highland Games.”

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The 2022 season begins on Saturday, May 28 with Blackford, ending in September with Pitlochry Games on the 10th.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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