Highland Games fans are being given the unique opportunity to become have-a-go heroes in the grounds of historic Glamis Castle this weekend.
In an innovative new venture to increase interest in the traditional spectacle as Scotland heads towards a season which will generate millions of pounds, visitors will be offered the chance to throw themselves into the range of sports which make the events so popular, all under the expert gaze of heavies and games officials.
The opportunity to have a fling will even be on offer through highland dancing instruction and among the sounds of physical exertion of taking on things like tug o’war, the skirl of Scotland’s national instrument might also ring out into the Angus air from those brave enough to grapple with a set of bagpipes for the first time.
Sunday’s event has been organised by the Scottish Highland Games Association, with support from Strathmore Highland Games, which is held in the Glamis Castle grounds.
This year is the 70th anniversary of the governing body, which works to promote and preserve highland games nationally and internationally, overseeing 61 of the 80 events that take place in Scotland between May and September each year.
The organisation received a major boost in advance of the 2017 season after The Duke of Rothesay agreed to take up the role of the association’s first ever Royal patron.
Strathmore Highand Games official Lorna Cochrane said: “This is SHGA day, supported by Strathmore Highland Games and Active Schools.
“The opportunity for those who come along is to try all aspects of events seen on a typical Highland Games day supported by today’s competitors.
“Heavyweight athletes/coaches and judges with equipment, and athletes from a running and cycling background will be at Glamis, and there will also be Highland Dancing, piping and drumming and tug of war,” added Lorna.
“SHGA officials will be on hand to explain the rules and a traditional kllt maker and bagpipe manufacturer will be there to give a display.”
SHGA president Charlie Murray, who is also chairman of the Strathmore event, said: “Each games has its own unique, vibrant atmosphere.
“Regardless of their size or location, all bring their local communities together and provide a positive contribution to them.
“Encouraging greater participation in highland games, whether as organisers, spectators or competitors, is important for the future of individual games, the communities in which they are held and indeed Scotland.”
Strathmore officials have already linked with Angus Active Schools to stage a come and try session for senior pupils at Webster’s High School in Kirriemuir and for the past couple of years have successfully staged a mini games for local primary school youngsters ahead of the Glamis gathering.