AN ESTIMATED 10,000 people flocked to a Moray Castle estate on Sunday to ignite the start of what is hoped to be a long and successful summer season.
Having revived the Gordon Castle Highland Games and Country Fare six years ago, organisers were thrilled at the public reaction to the event which has saw attendances soar each year.
Sunday’s event at the Fochabers estate were hailed as the best yet – with the variety of traditional Highland events mixed with more up to date pursuits proving a winner.
“We are thrilled that so many people came out to enjoy our country fare and games,” estate owner Angus Gordon Lennox said at the end of a day that saw a steady stream of spectators arrive at the Castle grounds.
He added: “We probably had a record turnout – there were 8000 last year and while it still has to be checked we believe we had around 10,000 through the gates this year.”
Overall games champion once again went to Polish athlete Lukasz Wenta from East Kilbride, while the novice title went to Kyle Randalls from Grangemouth. The Tug o’ War meanwhile was taken by a local Elgin team.
All around the Castle grounds, however, it was the variety and depth of entertainment on offer that attracted huge acclaim – from traditional pipe bands to rock music and folk music, BMX stunt riding and a Falconry demonstration in the main arena. There was also a performance from the Kinloss Military Wives Choir, hot from their stage appearance in support of Lulu at Inverness.
The international flavour of the day was also upheld with Mr Lennox adding that visitors from as far afield as Australia and the United States had once again visited the “historic asset” for Moray.
He said: “This is not a profit-making exercise – it costs a lot of money to put the games on, but it is really important that this historic asset is opened up to the world.”