The Royal family annually steal the show at one Aberdeenshire highland games – but this year the limelight will shine on a local athlete.
Highland games heavy, Craig Sinclair, 28, of Drumoak, will clinch his first ever Glenfiddich championship after more than a decade competing in his beloved sport.
Joiner, Mr Sinclair, hit the ground running this season with seven victories across 11 highland games in the Grampian region.
Mr Sinclair has won Drumtochty, Stonehaven, Aberdeen, Lonach, Dufftown, Cornhill and Oldmeldrum highland games, garnering more than 420 points, a feat which will secure him this year’s title.
He has also performed well in enough in Tomintoul, Drumtochty, Grantown-on-Spey, Aboyne and Ballatar to give himself a huge lead in the championship.
This tally puts him 140 points above his nearest rival, Lorne Colthart, and 200 points above 2013 Glenfiddich champion, Bruce Robb.
And win or no win at this Saturday’s Braemar Gathering, he will be delighted at finally achieving one of the highest achievements in the sport.
Tonight, Mr Sinclair said that winning the championship on his home turf would be one of the biggest moments in his sporting career.
He said: “I have won the juniors before, but this is the first time I will have won a major championship, and that being in the presence of the Queen will be a big thing, along with the fact it’s in Deeside and I’m from Aberdeenshire. It’s took a long time to win it.
“Bruce Aitken is from down near Laurencekirk, he won it 10 years in a row and Bruce Robb won it five years in a row, and he’s from Fife.”
Mr Sinclair’s younger brother, Grant Sinclair, 25, is also a competitor.
More than 5,000 people are expected to attend the Braemar Gathering on Saturday.
The event, which has ran since 1832, will celebrate Highland culture and include highland dancing competitions, a hill race up nearby corbett, Morrone, and track and field events.