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Glenbuchat Heritage

18 Glenbucket Games 1852 to 1864
The Glenbuchat Image Library
18 Glenbucket Games 1852 to 1864

The Glenbucket Games

Above are depicted some newspaper articles about the Glenbucket Games 1852 to 1887
For a larger version click on the link at the end of the article.

Click for articles about the Games 1902 to1938

Highland Games

Gatherings of highlanders to demonstrate their athletic prowess dates back into the distant past. The first probable recorded event was, in the 11th century, when King Malcolm III of Scotland summoned contestants to a foot race to the summit of Craig Choinnich (overlooking Braemar). King Malcolm created this foot race in order to find the fastest runner in the land to be his royal messenger. Some have seen this apocryphal event to be the origin of today's modern Highland games

To understand the resurgence of modern Highland Games it is important to note the effect of the Jacobite Rebellions of 1715 and 1745 on Scotland.

From 1746 on the British government passed laws to dismantle the clan system ending most Jacobite support in the Highlands. Wearing of Highland dress and bearing arms were forbidden. More importantly for the long-term social structure of the Highlands, the feudal relationships and heritable jurisdictions which underpinned the power and authority of clan chiefs over their clansmen were abolished. Pro Government forces were garrisoned in the Highlands e.g. at Corgarff Castle until the early 1800’s. The Clans of the uplands of Aberdeenshire were closely involved in the rebellions (Old Glenbucket – Bonnie Prince Charlie’s Lieutenant general came from Glenbucket just behind the site of the future Castle Newe) and thus suffered in the post rebellion repression.

Many of the harsh laws imposed on the Highlands in the aftermath of Culloden were repealed in the 1770’s and 1780’s. A new idea of ‘Highlandism’ was reached when King George IV made a state visit to Scotland in August 1822. Despite being grossly overweight, George paraded in a Highland costume of his own design, complete with a kilt in a specially-designed Royal Stewart tartan - a spectacle that was ruthlessly caricatured in the popular press. Sir Walter Scott the writer, in his novels of Scotland also added to the public interest, so much so that tourism to Scotland was greatly increased.

Wealthy Scottish expatriates, who had made their money in the Empire, also returned to Scotland and wished to encourage Scottish culture. No one did more for this than Sir Charles Forbes of Newe who was Treasurer of the Royal Highland Society in London and whose patron was the Prince Albert. In 1823 The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society was founded by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie (1773-1849). Membership is drawn from the inhabitants of Strathdon, who continue to fulfil the society’s original mission of preserving Highland dress, the Gaelic tongue, and “supporting loyal, peaceful, and manly conduct; and the promotion of social and benevolent feelings among the inhabitants of the district.

Sir Charles inaugurated the Lonach Highlanders and the local Highland games in Strathdon but other groups of Highlanders were started by other landed gentry and Highland games became the norm for even the smallest village. Sir Charles also encouraged and supported Scottish dress, music and poetry

A great boost to Scottish culture was given in 1858 by the arrival of Queen Victoria and Albert at Balmoral Castle on Deeside, 15 miles from Strathdon. They both loved the Scottish countryside, the people and the freedom they gained there. Victoria loved the tartan, the bagpipes and the Scottish dancing. She was a regular attendee at the Braemar Games

Highland games spread rapidly to many, even small communities. In Strathdon as well as the Lonach Highland Games, there were Games at Glenkindie, Corgarff and Glenbucket.

Glenbucket Games

The Newspaper articles noted above give a sample of the reports of the Glenbucket Games between 1852 and 1887. It is not known when the games began but in 1852 they had obviously been going for a few years. The following page is about the Games 1902 to 1938

You will note that about 1857 the games would have been at their peak with attendance at the Games by Sir Charles Forbes, and the Duke of Buckingham and the music for the dance after was supplied by Alexander Walker of the Newe and Balmoral bands.

Note also that the games were held in the fields between Sunnybrae farm and the river and the dance was held in the barn at Sunnybrae. In the 20th century the games were held at down by the castle and the party after in the new Glenbuchat Hall.

By 1887 the games were getting less adventurous being called ‘Games and Picnic ‘although they were still getting an attendance of 600-700 people.

The last recorded games seem to be in 1939 just at the onset of World War 2. Click for picture ticket for the games of that year

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Picture added on 19 May 2016 at 14:33
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Glenbuchat Games
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Glenbuchat Games

46 Grassick Decendants visit Glenbuchat182 Ticket for Glenbuchat Games 1939117 Glenbuchat Games Cup143 Alex Shand Wnm Thowson Glenbuchat Games142 Glenbuchat Games141 Glenbuckat Games Medal 190222 Glenbuchat Games 221 Glenbucket games 1920-1930.s19 Glenbuchat Games 1902 to 1938