Chieftain Walter Paterson on stage with the 2021 court, who had to wait almost two years for their moment in the spotlight!

Picture special: Lesmahagow Highland Games

Despite the rain, there were plenty of reasons to smile in Lesmahagow on Saturday, August 21.

Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 1:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 1:53 pm

For the town’s traditional Highland Games made a very welcome return and around 1000 people were more than happy to enjoy the occasion.

It was only the second such event to be held in Scotland since 2019, Braemar just pipping Lesmahagow to the post with its event on August 14.

It’s been a long time coming for the court, who were first chosen back in November 2019, but it was definitely worth the wait.

There were changes, of course; the procession followed a different route to allow for the venue change from the Glebe and there were no motorised floats or heavy events.

However, around 200 joined the alternative procession with each boy and girl who took part receiving the customary £5 for doing so. And with free inflatables to enjoy, instead of the usual funfair, the kids had a ball!

Parents could also take time out to enjoy some refreshments in Harris & Ollies, which had kindly lent its car park for the festivities.

The 59th Lesmahagow Chieftain Walter Paterson opened the Games, which saw performances by Highland dancers from Motherwell's Funtastica dance group and three pipe bands – namely Coalburn IOR, Strathaven and District and East Kilbride.

Spectators were also entertained by three local guest singers – Drew Gupwell, Craig Fullerton and Steffi Rollo.

Chieftain Walter was chosen as a long standing member of Lesmahagow's Male Voice Choir, which celebrated its centenary year in 2020.

The Chieftain's Procession was followed by the Crowning of Tartan Queen Lexie Donald, accompanied by Tartan Princesses Beth Canning and Eilidh Capmbell and Clansmen David Gardiner and Leon Davis.

Games chairman David Abercrombie said: “In spite of the rain, a great turnout was seen in the village for the procession, followed by the crowning event at the village's newest licensed premises Harris & Ollies.

"It was just fantastic to see the return of spectator events of this kind, and for each of the pipe bands and dancers – this was their first engagement in almost two years so it was quite an occasion

"Everyone had a great day and there were no Covid restrictions, which added to the sense of freedom!"

It’s been tough for the organisers, who had to plan for a Level 2 and Level O event, before being given the green light for no restrictions. It’s for this reason that the procession route was altered and the venue changed.

However, with the 60th Games now being planned for 2022, the small committee of seven which organises the annual event felt it was important to stage it.

David said: “We couldn’t hold the heavy events and didn’t have the usual support we receive from the council, which resulted in the venue change.

"We’re very grateful to Harris & Ollies for its support in enabling us to stage this year’s Games and to everyone who took part.

"We’re now looking ahead to next year which will be a massive celebration for our 60th staging. Hopefully by then, things will be completely back to normal!”

Page 1 of 6