THE gates to a Moray castle will be flung open this weekend for a family celebration of Scottish sport, games and produce.
The 2014 Gordon Highland Games – the fourth since their reintroduction in 2011 – get underway at 10.30am on Sunday.
Organisers promise the biggest and best spectacle to date, with a wide programme on offer for people of all ages at the historic Fochabers site.
Owner Angus Gordon Lennox said: "We are very much looking forward to welcoming everyone to Gordon Castle this Sunday. This year we have even more attractions for all to enjoy.
"The event has grown over the last few years, and we hope there is something exciting to see, enjoy and take part in for every member of the family, whether it be traditional heavy events, stirring music, stalls to suit every taste, a dramatic aerial display, children’s entertainments, ‘have a go’ activities or the new food court and country sports arena. And there’s lots more!
"I don’t want to tempt fate, but the weather forecast is looking great for Sunday, so come and join us for a great family day out."
The main arena will be the showcase for the premier heavy events championships, where top athletes will compete across a range of traditional games.
There will be massed pipe bands, a solo piping contest, as well as Highland dancing and the tug o’ war.
The country pursuits arena will feature falconry flying, gun dogs displays, fly-casting, clay pigeon shooting, a dog show, sheepdog handling with the quack commandos, archery, rifle target shooting and more.
Over 100 stalls are expected, while the new food court – chosen to be part of Homecoming Scotland’s Signature Events programme during Whisky Month – has been developed to offer visitors the finest food and drink from a wide selection of retailers. Demonstrations and tastings are also scheduled.
Further attractions include a classic car display, the Gordon Castle 10K race, and an ‘equipment avenue’ showcasing a variety of vehicles, agricultural and gardening equipment.
For children, there are races, ‘have a go’ events like wellie-throwing, a funfair, face-painting, giant bubbles, stalls and more.
On the east lawn, there will be Segway gliders and miniature John Deere tractors, a children’s assault course, archery and target shooting. And a new icing competition will enable youngsters to put their artistic skills to the test by decorating Walkers Shortbread rounds.
The concert corner – situated in the rose garden – will form a major part of the 2014 games, featuring The Fochabers Fiddlers, the Milne’s Jazz Band, the Speyside Reelers, a folk group from Speyside High School, the Keith Silver Band, and more.
Artists and photographers will display their work, with woodcarvings, pottery and other crafts demonstrated, while local associations and community businesses will be providing details and information throughout the day.
Tickets are available at a discounted price online – www.gordoncastlehigh landgames.co.uk – until tomorrow morning (Saturday) at 10am, and are thereafter available at the castle gates. The games will run until 5.30pm, and entry is £8 for adults, £6 for concessions, £3.50 for children under 14, and children under five are free. A family ticket, for two adults and up to three children, is £25.