Excellent Skye Games attracts big crowd

A poor weather forecast was no deterrent to the hundreds of people who attended the annual Skye Highland Games in Portree last week.

Although numbers were down on last year a “very good turnout” was still recorded, according to Sandy Gray from the games organising committee who did however blame a poor forecast for putting some people off.

Mr Gray said: “There was an excellent level of entry and competitiveness in the heavy events. The crowd really got behind the competitors and offered lots of support. There was also a good number of local entries for the athletics competitions.”

When the rain did arrive on the Wednesday afternoon it forced the transfer of the Highland dancing competitions from the games field on The Lump to the nearby Skye Gathering Hall.

The piping competitions, held on Tuesday, saw Callum Beaumont from Bo’ness pick up the Dunvegan Medal, the Colonel Jock MacDonald Clasp, the Dr Allan MacDonald Challenge Cup for best all-round open piper, the Alan Torrance Associates Cup for 6/8 March and the Highland Society of London cash prize of £250.

Kyle was well represented in the piping competitions, with Niall Stewart receiving the MacBeath Parr Associates Cup for jig while teenager Brighde Chaimbeul won a clutch of trophies — the Col Jock MacDonald Viewfield Cup for local piobaireachd, the Donnie MacKenzie Cup for local march, the Toronto Cup for best all-round local piper, the Dougie MacLeod Cup for best all-round local piping under 18 and the Nicol Campbell Memorial Trophy for the overall local winner of the light music, Strathspey, reel and jig.

Seamus O’Baoighill from Sleat in Skye picked up the Clan Donald Quaich for under-18 piobaireachd and Portree’s Frieda McKiggan was presented with the Peter Beaton Memorial Cup for the highest-scoring pipe band member in local competitions.

Meanwhile, the Vice Admiral Sir Roderick MacDonald KBE Memorial Sailing Cup was won by Portree’s John MacKenzie.

The heavy events saw athletes from as far afield as Australia, Poland, Austria and Romania competing, with Damian Birkenhead of Australia setting a new games record for putting the stone (heavy) with a distance of 51’5 1/2”.

Games evergreen Deb Bradley received the Robertson Memorial Cup for best all-round local athlete, and the MacDonald of Seafield Cup as winner of the local eight-lap race. Shane Steele won the hill race overall, with Allan MacKinnon of Portree and Christina Rankin of Uig the first local man and woman to cross the line.

The tug-of-war competition was won by ‘Sligbost’ with Kilmuir runners-up, while the women’s competition saw the ‘Bootcamp’ team retain their title with a win over ‘Staffin on the Pull’.
“All in all it was an excellent day,” Mr Gray said. “There were lots of foreign visitors and all I spoke to throughly enjoyed it.”