News

One of Scotland’s most respected sportsmen has been unveiled as Chieftain of Stirling Highland Games. Olympic silver medallist and lifelong Stirling resident, Michael Goodfellow, will officially open the event at 12 noon on Saturday 15th August 2015.

Michael was first introduced to curling by a family friend and since then has had much success as both a junior and a senior. He was a member of the successful British team that won silver medals at the World Championships in 2011, 2012 and a bronze in 2013. In February 2014, the men’s curling team, of which Michael was a member, won the silver medal in the Winter Olympics, the result confirming Great Britain’s most successful Olympics for ninety years.

Event organiser, Matt McGrandles said, “The position of Chieftain of the Stirling Highland Games is a fantastic way of recognising the achievements of a Stirling resident and Michael fits the criteria perfectly. The games field behind Stirling Sports Village is a fantastic venue for us just now and as part of our commitment to celebrating the Year of Food and Drink we will be showcasing quality produce within our new Visitors Marquee.”

Tickets are available from the gate on the day or can be bought online at a discounted price from the Stirling Highland Games website here.

Stirling Highland Games are delighted to be part of the Junior Games programme next week over at Stirling Sports Village.

The Junior Games give opportunity to 1000 S1 pupils from all of Stirling Council’s secondary schools to try a sport and we are delighted to hear there is huge interest about our activities. Event Organiser, Matt McGrandles explained, ‘Its great to get involved with a sporting legacy event like this that gives opportunities to young poeple to try a different sport whilst encouraging them to think about a healthier lifestyle.’

Stirling Highland Games takes place on 15th August this year. If you would like to volunteer for us please contact us and use the word ‘volunteer’ in the subject line.

Stirling Needs its Highland Games!

After 2 year’s of cancellations, the new organisers were delighted to welcome visitors from 18 countries around the world to this year’s Stirling Highland Games. We believe its paramount importance that the Stirling Games continues to grow year on year as it attracts visitors to the area which not only benefits the local economy but culturally is of great interest to our visiting friends from overseas.

As one of the few Games that provides online ticket sales, which guarantees you entrance when you arrive we envisage more and more visitors will expect this kind of option in year’s to come. As the most centrally based Highland Games in Scotland we have great transport links to and from all the other cities making it at great day out if you booked your accommodation outwith the area.

Countries that were flying their flag this year were from Scotland, Ireland, Taiwan, Netherlands, US, England, Germany, Canada, Malta, France, Australia, Cyprus, Austria, Italy, Belgium, Luxemburg, Sweden and Spain.

Some of our young people who attended Forth Valley Social Enterprises Core Skills in Events training prior to the Stirling Highland Games event.

Developing an understanding of events was a key part of this year’s taster training programme for young people, supported by Stirling Council Youth Services and delivered by Forth Valley Social Enterprises CIC.

As part of the training programme Young People learned about communication, problem solving, working with others, numeracy and IT – all essentail soft skills needed for an effective events team.

Stirling Highland Games will be looking to offer more young people the opportunity to be part of our team in 2015. If you are interested then please email enquiries@fvse.org.uk

VisitScotland produces ultimate guide to country’s Highland games

Ever wondered who holds the world record for haggis hurling? Or which Highland games can lay claim to the biggest bowl of porridge?

To answer these and many other fundamental questions, VisitScotland has produced its first ever Highland games guide, which details 72 events taking place throughout the country between June and September 2014.

The free 98-page guide contains event history, as well as locations, timings, prices and what visitors can expect this year. There are even details on how to research a family tree.

The national tourism organisation’s guide, which describes the history and passion behind such events as the hammer throw, caber toss and tug o’ war, also includes 14 fast facts on Highland games, 12 uniquely Scottish things to explore and seven clan-associated Highland games.

VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead said: “Never before have we produced such a detailed and inspirational document on all things Highland games.

“With the busy summer season already upon us and various Highland games taking place, from the Glenmorangie Field at Tain to the links of Burntisland, there are countless opportunities to experience the pride, passion and buzz of these unique events.

“As Scotland welcomes the world this summer with the upcoming Commonwealth Games, Homecoming and The Ryder Cup, I would highly recommend taking the time to go along and experience first-hand some truly authentic Scottish culture and heritage.”

Ian Grieve, Secretary of the Scottish Highland Games Association said:

“This Highland games brochure looks like a very useful tool for overseas and home visitors who may be planning a visit to Scotland and looking to see a range of traditional sports events during the summer season. A really comprehensive account of individual games will aid visitors to make their decision on what events to attend.”

Scotland’s Highland games date back almost 1000 years. Held across the country from May to September, this national tradition is said to stem from the earliest days of the clan system but games have been held in their modern format since the 1800s.

To download the free guide, go to www.visitscotland.com/highlandgamesguide

With thanks to VisitScotland for the article.

In what is a high profile year for Stirling and Scotland the event team at Stirling Highland Games were keen to showcase one of Stirling’s own as this year’s Chieftain.

There are many different ways a Chieftain is appointed dependant on the highland games and the area you are visiting. In this Honorary position Stirling’s format looks for a high profile son or daughter of the area and along with Provost Mike Robbins, our Games Host Ambassador they will reside over what will be an action packed day for all the family on the 16th August.

‘I had no hesitation’ explains event organiser Matt McGrandles, ‘in putting Ally Hogg forward to our committee. He is exactly the kind of person we are looking for to help showcase our games’. The Scottish Rugby star mentions it’s a great honor to be involved and is looking forward to taking some time out of his pre-season training to reside over the event.

Ally first picked up a rugby ball when attending the High School of Stirling and also represented U16 Scotland level at Basketball. He even made his 1st XV debut at Stirling County during the 2 season’s Matt was captain. He then signed as a professional rugby player with Edinburgh Rugby in 2002 and played 127 times for the capital club before moving over the border in 2010 to play for his current club the Newcastle Falcons.

Ally won his first Scottish cap in 2004 against Wales in Cardiff and played for his country 48 times, including the 2007 IRB Rugby World Cup in France, and is well known for his prowess at sevens.

Matt outlines: “I am delighted that Ally has accepted the role of Games Chieftain as he is very well known in the area and being such a fit guy could probably hold his own in the heavyweight’s competition if he entered.”

As well as the traditional games events like Highland Dancing, Running, Youth Running, Cycling, Heavyweights, Light Field, Tug o’ War and piping performances there is also the Traders Village. It will be packed with food stalls serving steak burgers, BBQ and a hog roast as well as arts and crafts stalls and there will activities including face painting, smoothie bikes and a bike doctor clinic to give your bike a clean bill of health.

Stirling Highland Games are proud to donate all monies raised on the day to the Forth Valley Social Enterprises CIC programme which support the development of employability and enterprise skills for young people in the area.

This year Stirling Highland Games is being held on 16th August at Stirling Sports Village and the team behind this community event are searching for a couple of local good causes they can offer support to.

The organisers have been working hard to bring Stirling Games back after being cancelled for the last 2 years and Event Organiser, Matt McGrandles explains, ‘We have been concentrating since last year on not only attracting new business support but also overseeing  the development of the new games field at Stirling Sports Village. I can’t thank Active Stirling enough for the work being put in to support us and I am sure that when people visit us in August they will be impressed with what was waste land and is now a great outdoor area for our highland games.’

Even though the highland games has its own social aims to support the development of young people in the area they are also looking to extend their own social responsibility by offering trade space to 2 local good causes for free. ‘There is great opportunity here,’ Matt outlines, ‘where we want to commit each year to supporting 2 local good causes that would benefit from having a trade pitch space to promote their service or brand.’

The trade area of the games will be bustling with visitors as it can already boast some mouthwatering food options including Frankie and Benny’s, craft and clothing stalls including Scottish fayre, a refreshments marquee and hospitality area. If you wish your local good cause to be considered please get in touch with the Event Organiser through our contact us page outlining your local good cause and they will be in touch.

We have been getting a steady flow of varying enquiries about this year’s games and we are delighted to have confirmation that highland dancers from The Gardner School of Dance in Calgary, Alberta will be making the 7000 kilometre trip to visit us in Scotland this summer.

The dance school is a competitive highland dance studio located just outside the heart of Calgary, Alberta and focuses on teaching the art of traditional Highland Dance in a fun, easy-going environment.

Their instructor Katie Gardner is known throughout North America and Scotland and has had a successful career in dancing.  She began Highland dancing at the age of three.  From this early start, Katie progressed quickly to championship level dancing.  Under the instruction of Bill Troock and Kelly Abrahart, she has won the Alberta Provincial Championships a record 13 times and represented Alberta in the Canadian Championships 15 consecutive times.  Katie has been first runner-up at the Canadian Championships three times and was second runner-up at the World Championships in 1998.  Other highlights of Katie’s dancing career include winning the British Overseas Championships, the North American Championships, the Western Canadian Championships, and the Western North American Championships.

We look forward to welcoming the Gardner School of Dance in August and wish them well in the competition.

If you are looking for highland dancing entry forms for Stirling Highland Games please visit McKay School of Dancing

Read 14492 times

They might not be in a position to take part in the Stirling Highland Games Heavyweights competition this year but on a beautiful sunny day, one the events team is hoping for more of the same on games day later this year, The Provost of Stirling and current business supporters met up on the new games field to put their weight behind this community event.

Event Organiser, Matt McGrandles explained: ‘A huge amount has changed since I took over last year as event organiser including the month, day and location of the Games. We have now aligned the Games on the last weekend of the Scottish school holidays so as we can attract a more local audience as well as encouraging more visitors to Stirling from the rest of the UK and further afield.’

Matt added, ‘We are also attracting local businesses on board who share our values in community engagement and supporting young people. To date we have Edinburgh Woollen Mill, Specsavers, Maxxium UK, Stirling Council, Eat Balanced, Stirling Chamber of Commerce, GCM Services, Scottish Youth Hostel Association and Active Stirling on board.’

One of the first matters the organisers had to deal with last year was finding a home for the Games as previously it had been held at 5 different locations over a 12 year period. After a 3 month search the organisers agreed the future home of the Games with Active Stirling’s, Chief Executive, Andrew Bain adding: “On behalf of Active Stirling, we are delighted to be supporting the Stirling Highland Games 2014 event and help with preparation of the outdoor area where the games will take place at Stirling Sports Village.”

The event is growing in interest with enquiries coming weekly from the US, Canada, Germany and Ireland and as one of Stirling’s key annual events as well as a Homecoming Scotland 2014 event the organisers are still looking to speak with more businesses on how they can be part of it.  Susanne Akil, store director of Specsavers Stirling, added: “Specsavers Stirling is committed to supporting the local community and over the years we have been involved with a number of community groups and events. We are proud to be associated with Stirling Highland Games – it’s going to be a great event which people from the city and beyond will be able to enjoy. I do hope other local businesses are able to join us in sponsoring this fantastic community project.”

With the event looking to grow its overall reach the organisers have some great ideas on how to market it both locally as well as further afield. Look out for a camera crew heading your way in Stirling! Its not just down to some of these enterprising ideas and collaborative marketing campaigns that entice some of its supporters on board but the historical nature of the event as Maxxium UK’s Managing Director, Huw Pennell commented “As a local employer, Maxxium is delighted to support these popular and historic Highland Games which continue to go from strength to strength and remain a key date on Stirling’s busy events calendar.”
If your business would like to know more about how it can get involved then please contact Event Organiser, Matt McGrandles on matt@stirlinghighlandgames.com for more details. Or visit their web site at www.stirlinghighlandgames.com