Many readers of this page will remember Blantyre Highland Games at Bardykes Farm in the late 1980’s. People look back fondly to those well organised, popular events which gathered many thousands of spectators.
However, you may be surprised to know that the 1980’s weren’t the first Highland Games to happen in Blantyre.
On the last Saturday of June, 1907 the annual Highland Games took place at Castle Park, on Forrest Street, Blantyre. It wasn’t the first event which was known to have been taking place since at least 1903.
Organisers were Lodge Livingstone 599 and with good weather favouring the gathering, it was certainly a factor in its success and so many attendees.
For weeks before the Games, Secretary John Muir had been working hard to sign up local competitors for the various races and events. By the big day, competitors took place in 100 yards, Half mile, Piping Marches, Highland Fling, Piping, 200 yards, Putting the Ball, Five Mile race, Highland Dancing, Sword Dance, Sailors Hornpipe, Tug of War, Team Races Obstacle Race and 12 stone wrestling (which lasted 6 minutes!)
Prizes were given out with refreshments available to the crowd. By all accounts a marvellous success which had local people talking about their “good day out” for weeks afterwards.
Photo: For illustration only. Not Blantyre.