They marched into the arena in their regalia with their eight-foot long pikes.
So it’s hardly surprising the Lonach Highlanders were the star attraction at one of the most iconic Highland Games.
As the protagonists in one of the north-east’s outstanding events, the Lonach Highlanders set out early on Saturday morning from Bellabeg on their traditional six-mile march through Strathdon over the weekend.
The highlanders continued a tradition which stretches back nearly 200 years as they visited six local properties, toasting the health of each property’s owners.
This year’s procession culminated in 169 members, among which were three youngsters who were taking part in their first Lonach march.
The spectacle drew a crowd of nearly 8,000 locals and visitors from across Britain and further afield, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada to attend the games.
Following the march every step of the way, pulling the cart, was Socks, the renowned Lonach horse.
This was the 10-year-old Gypsy Cob Cross’s fifth year fulfilling the role.
Owned by Derek Gray of Kildrummy, the resplendent gelding once again received plenty of attention from visitors.
There was close competition across the piping, dancing, tug o’ war and athletics disciplines.
In the piping, Calum Brown from Peterculter won the open Piobaireachd event, while Campbell Wilson from New Zealand claimed the under-18s Piobaireachd title and collected the Thomson Family Trophy.
The Highland dancers mesmerised the crowds with their energetic displays.
Joining the Lonach Pipe Band to play for spectators throughout the day were the pipe bands of Ballater and District, Huntly and District, Towie and District and Robert Gordon’s College.
Returning for its second year, the gathering again hosted The Daily Mile Lonach event for primary age schoolchildren.
Around 40 youngsters took part in the non-competitive event that aims to improve health and fitness, and inspire people to adopt more active lifestyles.
It was held in conjunction with The Daily Mile and Active Schools Aberdeenshire.
Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “What a day. Everyone’s hard work over recent weeks to prepare for the 178th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games has paid off.
“There has been a great atmosphere all day and the weather was warm and dry, and not too hot for marching. Each year, the march never disappoints.
“Seeing the Lonach Highlanders wend their way through Strathdon in their kilts, shouldering their pikes in step to the strains of the pipes and drums and following in the footsteps of their forebears is stunning.
“The history, heritage and traditions associated with Lonach continue to appeal to visitors from around the world.
“It was great to hear so many different languages around the games field.
“All of the events have received plenty of encouragement from the sizeable crowd, while the trade stand aisles have been bustling all day.
“Staging the gathering is a collective effort that involves the support of sponsors, caterers, traders, volunteers, competitors and locals.
“The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is hugely grateful to everybody for all of the support it receives.”