Thousands of enthusiasts braved the rain on Speyside at the weekend to enjoy the 126th Dufftown Highland Games.
Spectators travelled from across the north-east and further afield to the malt whisky capital for the spectacular display of traditional athletic events and dancing.
The anticipated thunderstorms and flood warnings proved contributory factors to the attendance dropping from last year’s 6,000.
However, yesterday organisers praised the show of support from the 5,000 people who packed the games field throughout the day.
Massed pipe bands gave the event a rousing start as they marched from Dufftown’s celebrated clock tower through the town during the opening ceremony.
Spectators joined the ranks as the musicians, headed by chieftain Alex Grant, trooped through Balvenie Street with flags fluttering in the wind.
Saturday’s games were the 25th anniversary of the Ben Rinnes Hill Race – which scaled the five summits on the Speyside range as part of a course encompassing about 14 miles.
Eoin Lennon set a new course record for the endurance event, which was recognised as part of the Scottish Hill Runners Championship for the first time, amid a record field of 176 runners.
Last night, Linda Brown, chairwoman of the organising committee, paid tribute to the complement of about 40 volunteers who had worked tirelessly during the week in the run-up to the event.
She said: “There was a really good crowed out for it, which was excellent considering the forecast that we had for it.
“All of our events were very well supported with some people travelling considerable distances.
“There was a fantastic atmosphere through the day and the crowd was extremely enthusiastic.”
Highland games regular Lukasz Wenta, from East Kilbride, won the popular heavies category in the main ring. Meanwhile, Dan Troy, from Ireland, was the most impressive competitor in the youth category.
Moray MSP Richard Lochhead said: “I was struck by the sheer number of international visitors this year who were attracted by the great entertainment as well as the heritage and traditions showcased by the games.
“There is no doubt that the event has contributed to our current tourism boom, bringing a massive boost to the Speyside economy.”