Published: 15/07/2017 05:53 - Updated: 14/07/2017 14:33

Tomintoul Highland Games today

TOMINTOUL is gearing up for its 176th Highland games.

Events will get underway today from 11am when the Highland dancers take to the stage and the young heavy athletes enter the arena.

At 1pm chieftain Jim Fraser will lead the pipes and drums from The Square to the games park marking the official opening of the event.

With the weather forecast predicting a dry day with temperatures in the high teens, a crowd of around 3000 is expected.

Those attending will be able to watch the heavy athletes go head to head in the hammer, throwing a 56lbs weight over a bar and tossing the caber, as well as some more unusual activities including tilt the bucket and barrel racing.

Competitors can take part in the Tom na Bat Hill Race which starts and finishes at the park.

There will be junior and senior piping competitions in the light music section with categories including march, Strathspey and Reel, hornpipe and jig.

Pipers can also take part in the Pibroch, playing a classic piece of bagpipe music with precise and complicated notes.

The village’s oral history group will have a display on the Tomintoul and Glenlivet Development Trust’s stand at the park, showing photos of the event from the past.

This evening there will be dance in the Richmond Hall, and on Sunday there will be a service in Tomintoul Church from 11.15am, which will include traditional Scottish music.

Patricia Grant, games secretary, said: "We have Ballater and District and Huntly and District pipe bands.

"We introduced a drumming competition last year so there should be a good entry for that.

"There’s also the tug o’ war competition so we’re hoping for a good turn out for that."

She added: "The weather is something we can’t do anything about, we just have to get on with it.

"However, we are very lucky with the amount of sponsorship we get.

"If it wasn’t for that we wouldn’t be able to hold the games that we do."

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