Aboyne’s Highland Games have been called off for a second year in a row as a result of the pandemic.
The annual August event usually kicks off the Highland Games season in Deeside and in 2019 attracted more than 10,500 people, will no longer be going ahead due to “continued uncertainties relating to the Covid-19 pandemic”.
It typically brings in an estimated £450,000 for the Deeside economy annually, and supports a wide range of businesses.
The directors and committee of the games believe that although a roadmap out of lockdown restrictions are in place, “many questions remain over potential caps on attendee numbers, and how comfortable people will be in attending outdoor events with large crowds by early August”.
Games day will still be marked on Saturday, August 7 when it was due to take place, and although details are yet to be finalised, two online music competitions have already been confirmed.
“Many uncertainties and concerns also remain”
Alistair Grant, chairman of Aboyne Highland Games, said: “We know that news of the cancellation of Aboyne Highland Games will be disappointing to the local community, competitors, visitors, partners and sponsors, all of whose support is invaluable to our success.
“It is not a decision the committee has made easily, particularly when it is for a second consecutive year and knowing the impact it can have on our event partners.
“As much as there is positivity around restrictions being eased and normality returning to our lives, many uncertainties and concerns also remain.
“The worries of our community must be listened to, any potential impact on wider public services considered, and with potentially fewer visitor the financial viability and long-term sustainability of the event accounted for.
“Games day will be marked on Saturday, August 7, albeit differently.
“The strong, positive response to last year’s online piping competition sees it return, while a virtual fiddle contest is being added. Both providing opportunities for musicians to compete in 2021.
“Just like our fellow Highland Games across Scotland, we are optimistic that in 2022 we will be back in our usual format, celebrating and continuing Scotland’s cultural heritage.
“That strong sense of community afforded by the games will be in abundance when we do welcome the world back onto Aboyne Green for Aboyne Highland Games.”
The Aboyne Highland Games were founded in 1867.
The committee has now started focusing its efforts on the 2022 games, which will take place on August 6 next year.