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Here are all the events returning to the north and north-east in 2022

Lonach Highland Gathering & Games in 2019. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

“This event has been postponed” was an all too frequent phrase heard throughout  2020 and 2021.

Here’s hoping that events and festivities will soon begin to make a very welcome reappearance.

Whether you were gutted to miss out on the Highland Games or shed a tear when you didn’t get to take your new tent to a festival, 2022 will hopefully make up for it.

Here’s when all your favourite events will be returning to the north and north-east in this new year:

February

Spectra – Aberdeen, February 10-13

Aberdeen’s festival of light will be returning in 2022, this time with the theme Scotland’s Year of Stories. Artworks and activities will be spread across the city centre for all to enjoy.

Spectra illuminations from 2020. Picture by Scott Baxter.

Fort William Mountain Festival – Fort William, February 16-20

The Fort William Mountain Festival aims to showcase the potential for adventure and getting outdoors in Fort William and the surrounding areas. More information on the 2022 programme can be found here.

The Fort William Mountain Festival.

March

Snowman Rally – Black Isle Showground, March 5

The “world class” Snowman Rally will roar into the Highlands for the first time in two years, with thousands expected to come along and spectate.

Snowman Rally 2018. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Inverness half marathon and 5k – Inverness, March 13

The Inverness half marathon and 5k were cancelled for the first time in 36 years in 2021. This year, organisers hope to bring it back bigger and better.

The start line of the 5k race in 2020. Picture by Sandy McCook.

April

Run Balmoral – Balmoral Estate, April 23-24

There are multiple events and races taking place as part of Run Balmoral in 2022, the full timetable can be found on their website.

Run Balmoral in 2019. Picture by Heather Fowlie.

May

Scottish Six Day Trial (SSDT) – Lochaber, May 2-7

Organisers made the decision to cancel the SSDT motorcycle event in 2021 months before it took place. They hope it will go ahead in 2022, but their website does warn that it depends on the Covid situation at the time.

Scottish Six Days Trial 2022 Dates AnnouncedFollowing the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 Scottish Six Days Trials,…

Posted by SSDT on Monday, 23 August 2021

Skye Live festival – Skye, May 13-14

This popular festival is already sold out after announcing it would return to normal following last year’s virtual offering. Artists performing include Blazin’ Fiddles, The Islands and Ceilar Ceilidh Trail.

It's official! 💥🤯 Thank you for your incredible enthusiasm for Skye Live 2022, what a weekend it's going to be!For…

Posted by Skye Live Festival on Monday, 1 November 2021

Run Garioch – Inverurie, May 15

Around 3,000 runners take part in the event each year. In 2021, Run Garioch was first postponed then held as a virtual event.

Run Garioch 10k in 2019. Picture by Jim Irvine.

Mountain Bike World Cup – Fort William, May 21-22

The Mercedes-Benz UCI Mountain Bike World Cup will return to Fort William in 2022 following a three-year absence. More than 250 of the world’s top riders are expected to attend.

Greg Minnaar competing in 2017.

Grampian Pride – Aberdeen, May 28

Four Pillars hopes their Grampian Pride will provide a safe space for all LGBT+ people and their straight allies. They were able to host Winter Pride in October.

Winter Pride in October 2021. Picture by Wullie Marr.

Kiltwalk – Aberdeen, May 29

For the first time in three years, Kiltwalk will return to the Granite City. People from all over can don their tartan and raise money for charity.

The 2019 Kiltwalk in Aberdeen. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

June

Piping Inverness – Inverness, June 25

Piping Inverness incorporates the European Pipe Band Championships and will bring Highland dancers, pipe bands and fans to Bught Park in June.

Piping Inverness will take place in June 2022.

July

HebCelt – Stornoway, July 13-16

HebCelt did take place in 2021, but in a limited capacity. In 2022, the festival will be going bigger than ever to belatedly celebrate its 25th anniversary. 

HebCelt festival in Stornoway.

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival – Belladrum Estate, July 28-30

A star studded line-up has already been announced for the 2022 Belladrum festival. This year’s theme is myths and legends, and performers include Emeli Sande, The Fratellis and Van Morrison.

2022 LINE UP ANNOUNCED FOR BELLA FEATURING HEADLINERS Nile Rodgers & CHIC, Van Morrison (Official), & Emeli Sandé, PLUS…

Posted by Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival on Monday, 20 September 2021

August

Ride the North – Moray, August 27

Ride the North, a cycling event that has attracted up to 1,000 riders in the past, is usually held across Aberdeenshire and Moray. However, organisers have announced it will only take place in the latter in 2022.

Cyclists during Ride the North 2019. Supplied by Alex Hewitt

September

Kirking of the Council – Inverness, date not confirmed

In 2020, the Kirking of the Council was cancelled for the first time in 400 years. It was cancelled again in 2021, but officials hope it will go ahead in the new year.

Kirking of the council in 2016. Picture by Sandy McCook.

Braemar Gathering – Braemar, September 3

Along with other Highland games across Scotland, the Braemar Gathering is due to make a return after two years of cancelled and amended events.

Braemar Gathering in 2019. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

Tour of Britain – Aberdeen, September 4

After the success of 2021’s event, the Tour of Britain will be returning to Aberdeen. Thousands of people lined the Beach Esplanade to watch the cyclists whiz past back in September.

Tour of Britain in Aberdeen 2021. Picture by Wullie Marr.

November

Bonfire night – November 5

After Covid cancelled most fireworks displays in 2021, including the much-loved display at Aberdeen beach, it is hoped that they will be able to run as normal once more in the new year.

Fireworks at Beach Boulevard in Aberdeen. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

December

Boxing Day Nippy Dip – Aberdeen, December 26

For the second year in a row, the Boxing Day Nippy Dip was cancelled in 2021. Fans of the North Sea swim should be able to get their frosty fix later in 2022.

Nippy Dip in 2018. Picture by Darrell Benns.

Stonehaven Fireballs – Stonehaven, December 31

Organisers were forced to cancel the Stonehaven Fireballs ceremony just weeks before it was due to take place on Hogmanay. They hope that it can safely return next year.

Stonehaven Fireballs. Picture by Kenny Elrick.

2023

Up Helly Aa – Shetland, January 31

Up Helly Aa organisers have already made the decision to push their Lerwick event back yet another year to give them more time to prepare.

Up Helly Aa. Picture by Andrew Milligan/PA Wire.

Speaking of the decision, committee secretary Robert Geddes said: “Up Helly Aa as an event relies on numerous factors coming together at one time to be able run smoothly and safely.

“Planning for the event takes place a full year ahead of each festival and despite the best efforts to continue organising the festival through the various restrictions that have been in place to date this year, it is clear now that despite the release of further restrictions there isn’t sufficient time to run the event in its normal format.”

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