Prince Charles is poised lead a new initiative to encourage school pupils in the north to compete in their local Highland games.
The Duke of Rothesay, who is due appear at today’s Mey Games in his role as chieftain, could help launch the programme in Highland schools.
The idea is being developed with the help of the Scottish Highland Games Association, Captain Richard Ottley, chairman of the Wick, Canisbay and Latheron branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland, and the local Cadet Corps.
It is hoped that established young heavyweights in the region will also come on board to train any enthusiastic youngsters.
A small fund could be created to purchase equipment and pay for expenses, with the ultimate aim of encouraging youngsters to enjoy traditional highland sports at an early age and increase the number of competitors at Highland games events.
Talks have already begun with High Life Highland, operator of local authority leisure facilities across the north.
The initiative was revealed as Caithness prepared to celebrate the annual Mey Games, which was due to be held today.
Barry Butler, chairman of the Mey Games committee, said: “This year, Mey Games is going to be much larger than previous years, with 50 stalls.
“With the assistance of HRH the Duke of Rothesay, North Coast 500, and Highlands and Islands Enterprise, it will provide a great day for all the family, with a dog show, craft, food and charity stalls, children’s races, pipe bands, heavy display, local live music and, of course, the traditional tug o’ war.”
Prince Charles has been attending the games for years and traditionally umpires the tug o’war competition.
Charlie Murray, president of the Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA), said: “The Mey Games like so many others around Scotland survive through the hard work and good will of so many people.
“They are a vital part of local tradition and remain a key asset to local tourism.
“The SHGA is very proud to be taking a supportive role for the very first time this year to assist our new patron HRH the Duke of Rothesay to develop the games at Mey and retain the small friendly feel they have had for so many years.”