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Cupar Highland Games organisers’ ‘considerable sadness’ as economic uncertainties force cancellation

The heavies take to the field and the 16lb ball during the Cupar Highland games at Duffus Park in 2019
The heavies take to the field and the 16lb ball during the Cupar Highland games at Duffus Park in 2019

Organisers of Cupar Highland Games have expressed “considerable sadness” after the decision was taken to cancel this year’s event.

Cupar Highland Games chairman Bill McSeveney said the decision, majority supported by the organising committee, was arrived at following consideration of returns received from vendors and traders – and in viewing the low uptake of online advance ticket sales.

The committee had hoped the event would return on June 19 following disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

However, with the cost of living crisis now increasingly a factor, it’s been concluded that it “may still be a year too early for things to return to ‘normal’.”

Financial climate

In a statement posted on social media, Mr McSeveney said: “Some traders may well have found other outlets during the pandemic, or may simply have ceased in business.

Highland dancers perform for the judges during the Cupar Highland games at Duffus Park Cupar in 2019.

“They, like so many others, may also be assessing the financial climate at the moment and be waiting for brighter days.

“Visits from tourists play such a big part in the income of the games and, here again, the economy both in this country and abroad seems too sensitive to guarantee even a reasonable attendance on the day.”

Mr McSeveney said that on behalf of the committee, he wanted to express their “sincere regrets” to all those competitors who so look forward to coming to Cupar each year.

He added: “We understand your frustration at training so hard for your event, only to have the opportunity to perform taken away from you but, in truth, we had little option if we are to preserve Cupar Highland Games for the future.

Cyclists take to the field for the 800m race during the Cupar Highland games at Duffus Park in 2019.

“And, in looking towards a brighter future, we would make an appeal to the townsfolk of Cupar to come and join us on the committee. (Please view the Facebook page or the games website for information).

“Let’s make the games of 2023 something the community can be proud of.

“Finally, I would wish to record my thanks to those committee members who invested their time and energy into the initial preparations for this year – you are a great team!”

Most games still going ahead

Ian Grieve, the St Andrews-based Royal Scottish Highland Games Association secretary, told The Courier that as well as Cupar, Thornton Highland Games, which was due to take place on Saturday July 2, had already cancelled “for a variety of reasons”

Rosneath and Carmunnock in the west have also cancelled.

As things stand, however, all other Highland Games are planning to go ahead, he added.

Highland Games training day invitation as summer events return following Covid-19 restrictions

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