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Girl power! Record number of female heavies at Inverness Highland Games as weather fails to dampen spirits

Crowds turned out in force for Inverness Highland Games - where more women than men took part in the heavies for the first time. Full results included below.

This year's Highland Games was marked by morre women competing in heavy events than ever before. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.
This year's Highland Games was marked by morre women competing in heavy events than ever before. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

Heavy rain and rumbles of thunder failed to deter competitors and visitors at the Inverness Highland Games.

The event showed off the finest talents in traditional Scottish sporting events, including the caber toss, tug of war and hammer throw.

This year’s games marked a milestone as more women participated in the heavy events than men, with a record 15 competing.

Among them was Mhairi Porterfield, who came out tops in four of the five events.

Thousands braved Scotland’s unpredictable weather to descend on Bught Park, many donning coats and umbrellas to watch events unfold.

The atmosphere was joyous with other attractions, including local food vendors, a prosecco bar, fun fair rides and a clan tent to keep visitors occupied.

The Stoltman Brother took centre stage at this year’s Inverness Highland Games. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

Also at the event were Tom and Luke Stoltman, the famous strongmen from Invergordon, there to meet fans and entertain the crowds.

Having the Stoltman brothers at the games for a second year, attracted Angela Elphinstone and Carol Brebner from Peterhead and Inverurie, who describe themselves as “superfans”.

Wearing “Spicy Stoltman” T-shirts, they keenly waited in line for a photo with the brothers.

Angela Elphionstone, Carol Brebner.
Angela Elphionstone and Carol Brebner, Stoltman brother superfans. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

Just as the brothers were due to step onto the field at 2pm, the heavens opened, and heavy rain accompanied by thunder and lightning put a stop to proceedings.

However, after the rain stopped, the brothers were back out competing to toss a 26kg weight over a high bar, alongside Rongo Keene from New Zealand.

Heavy rain, thunder and lightning throughout the day

Both brothers, who have a healthy rivalry, were cheered on by the crowd as they easily passed 12ft and 15ft only to fail to beat the record of 17ft.

Inverness Provost Glynis Campbell-Sinclair was pleased to see so many people remain at the Inverness Highland Games despite the downpour.

She said: “Everything was going to plan, but it was forecast, so we expected it, but because we have so much entertainment in the outfield, people are still happy to be here. It’s been a great crowd today.

Heavy downpours forced people to take shelter. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson.

“We are all programmed to expect rain, we are all born with a pair of wellies in Scotland, and it is disappointing that it’s wet, but most of the people still have a smile on their faces and are enjoying the games.”

The event has hampered by several downpours, which left the field sodden, however, events such as the caber toss and long jump went ahead during dry intervals.

Lena Best and her partner Trevor Clark came all the way from Oregon and were impressed by their first games.

“It’s been fun and super exciting despite the rain,” she said.

“It doesn’t stop anyone from having fun at an event like this. Watching the feats of strength out on the field has been really exciting to see.”

Lena Best and Trevor Clark came from Oregon to visit the Inverness Highland Games. Image: Ross Hempseed/DC Thomson.

Ms Best says they don’t have anything like the Highland Games in the USA, but it shares similarities with an American track meet, although much more “intense”.

Not only were the adults taking part, but kids also had their shot at glory in the Junior Highland Games, competing in events like the 100m dash, shotput, long jump and relay race.

Harry MacLeod, 13, triumphed in the long jump and 100m dash at the Junior Highland Games. Image: Ross Hempseed/DC Thomson.

For Harry MacLeod, 13, from Inverness, this was his first event and he decided to take part in all the events coming first in both the 100m dash and the long jump.

He said: “There are lots of events you can take part in so it’s a really fun day. I want to eventually compete in adult competitions.

“It’s a wonderful atmosphere, with lots of tourists who don’t know you but who are cheering you on, so it’s nice to have the support from the crowd.”

‘An authentic Scottish experience’

Jane McLelland from Alness brought her husband Shug and daughter Eleanor Leiper to the games and was blown away by the performance from the pipe band.

She said: “It’s something you look forward to every year and there is always something for everyone, it’s a great family day out.

“It’s amazing to see so many people from around the world come together at things like this, showcasing the best of Scotland and the Highlands. It’s truly an authentic Scottish experience.”

L-R: Eleanor Leiper, Shug McLelland and Jane McLelland who came from Alness to watch the games. Image: Ross Hempseed/DC Thomson.

Sonya Coles, from Devon, stayed in Inverness for an extra day especially for the games.

She said: “The day has been amazing, the highlight of course was meeting the Stoltman brothers. I’ve never been to a Highland Games before and so was so happy to be able to see the caber toss and other sports. I love the bagpipes as well.”

Highland Dancing also featured at this year’s games. Image: Jason Hedges/DC Thomson

Her daughter Ellie Coles lives much closer in Dingwall, and this was her first visit to the Inverness games.

She is cheering on her seven-year-old daughter who will be competing in the Highland Dancing.

She said: “It’s a lovely family atmosphere and it just shows how important the Highland Games are for Scotland with so many people here.

“It also has a lot of community spirit and showcases the best of Scotland, so it makes for a very traditional Scottish day out.”

The results

Female heavies:

Inverness Stone; Scots Hammer; Weight for distance (14lb); Weight over bar (28lb) –  Mhairi Porterfield

Caber – Juliet Ramsay

Male heavies:

Scots Hammer (16lb); Weight for distance (28lb); Weight over bar; Caber – Pieter Bouma

Inverness Stone – George Evans



100m (girls) – Katie MacRae; 100m (boys) – Oscar Jesionowski

200m (girls); Shot putt (2.72kg, girls) – Lucy Gunn

200m (boys), long jump (boys) – Riley Davidson

Long jump (girls) – Hope Handley

Shot putt (2.72kg, boys) – Rhys Poterfield


100m (girls); 200m (girls); long jump (girls) – Faith Cameron

100m (boys), shot putt (3kg) – Quentin Fowlie

200m (boys); long jump (boys) – Callum Gunn

800m (girls) – Hannah MacKay; 800m (boys) – Euan Steel

Shot putt (2.72kg) – Mischa Allan


100m (girls); 200m (girls) – Ruby Ferguson

100m (boys) – Harry MacLeod

200m (boys); 800m (boys); long jump (boys) – John Scott

800m – Lucy Beastall

Long jump (girls) – Gemma Forgie

Shot putt (3kg) – Olivia Cooper

Shot putt (4kg) – Harry MacLeod


100m (women); 200m (women); shot putt (4kg) – Marvellous Igbinidu

400m (women) – Tamsin Fowlie

800m (women); 1500m (women) – Layla Todd

Long jump (women) – Lexi Grant; long jump (men) – Cameron Jones

100m (men); 200m (men), 400m (men) – Liam Daly

800m (men) 1500m (men) – Murray Pearson

Shot putt (7.26kg) – Dylan Morrison


100m HCP (female), shot (3kg) – Laura Aitkin

200m HCP (female) – June Mundie

100m HCP (male); 200m (male), shot (4kg) – Finlay MacLennan