One of the largest Highland Games events in the north-east will return next month for the first time in two years.
Families will once again have the opportunity to gather at Gordon Castle in Fochabers for a day of traditional Scottish entertainment and country sports performances.
Sponsored by Highland Fuels, the event showcasing Scotland’s treasured heritage will kick-off the Highland Games season in the region on May 15.
The historic grounds of the castle will again host the Scottish 28lb Weight for Distance Championships as well as the ever-popular caber toss and tug o’ war.
With a packed schedule of activities, visitors will be able to enjoy pipe band displays, traditional sports, stilt walkers, wood turning, army demonstrations and falconry display.
Meanwhile, the Country Sports Arena will welcome back Mordor Gun Dogs, Drakes of Hazzard and the much-loved Gordon Setter gathering.
To mark the long-awaited return, organisers have introduced a number of new attractions for children this year – including bouncy castles, face painting, sand art and races.
The Tower Hall events space has also been transformed into a shopping boutique showcasing more than 40 small businesses, while a wide variety of traders will be offering their goods throughout the grounds.
Fresh start for Gordon setters campaign
As the Highland Games swing back into action, organisers are relaunching their drive to save the area’s native dog breed, which has been in decline in recent years.
The Gordon setters were developed at Gordon Castle in Fochabers during the late 18th century by Alexander Gordon, the 4th Duke of Gordon, as a traditional hunting dog.
However, figures gathered by the Kennel Club UK in 2019 revealed there has been a 60% drop in the amount of breeding registration of the distinctive animals in Scotland.
Gordon Castle owners, Angus and Zara Gordon Lennox, then launched a campaign to raise awareness of the breed’s plight and ensure its future.
A Gordon Setters gathering has now become a key feature of the games, with a parade of more than 120 of the creatures having trooped around the arena in 2019.
After boosting breed registrations by 40% with the last event, Gordon setter owners will once again be invited to join the festivities with their dogs and highlight how amazing the breed is.
For more information about the event and how to book tickets, visit the Gordon Castle Highland Games website.