Glorious sunshine a boost to Airth Highland Games

Organisers of Airth Highland Games have hailed the 2013 event as one of their biggest success stories.

The event hit the headlines last year after atrocious weather forced bosses to cancel the show for the first time in its 140-year history.

Games chieftain Tony Ford

Games chieftain Tony Ford

But on Saturday the blue skies and programme of events attracted over 3000 spectators and competitors through the gates at The Wilderness.

David Tait, secretary of the Airth Highland Games committee said: “It was a fantastic day.

“The sun was definitely shining on us on Saturday, and, counting everyone, we had over 3000 people there.

“Two years ago we had 2500, so it was a pretty special day.

“We had a great amount of international interest, too. We had 50 Scouts from Belguim and tourists from as far a field as Australia.

“The car park was completely rammed, and the charities who had stalls there were really happy with the turnout.

“It was a very successful day.”

Founded in 1871, Airth is the only Highland Games event to run in the Falkirk Council area.

As always, the games held a range of competitions including international pipeband championships, caber tossing, hammer throwing, the Smiddy Stane Carry, and track and field.

Saturday’s event also brought a first for the games - a female overall winner of the solo piping championships.

Margaret Dunn from Ireland took the accolade against a strong field of competitors, including two gold medallists.

Also for the first time this year, the committee sold branded merchandise such as mugs, polo shirts and kids t-shirts.

And sales exceeded expectations.

David said: “We’re not looking to make a profit from the games, but we still have costs, and to keep the games sustainable we have to have some steady income.

“The aim is to keep the games going for another 142 years.

“The merchandise sold much better than we thought, and there was a high level of interest.”

David added: “I think one of the things that makes the games popular is our location - we’re slap bang in the middle of Glasgow and Edinburgh.

“We’re easily accessible from the motorway, and the whole Falkirk tourist brand is really picking up.

“People can also see the Falkirk Wheel and there’s a lot of excitement about the Kelpies.”

Picture of Tony Ford courtesy of Ewan McTaggart.