Sun shines as Brodick Highland Games pulls in record crowds

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Record crowds and a sunny afternoon turned the Brodick Highland Games into a fantastic day of fun at the Ormidale Park last Saturday.

It was 20 years, almost to the day, since the Queen came to Arran to open the Highland Games, which was the first event at the new playing fields. So it was fitting, then, that the 2017 games saw a record crowd of 4,108 beating the previous record set two years ago.

And what a day of sight and sounds the large crowd had to enjoy. Four pipe bands this year gave the traditional opening to the games with the march along the shorefront led by Arran’s own pipe band followed by Kilbarchan, Kirkintilloch and Maybole pipe bands.

But it was to prove a year of departures. After many years, Rosie Cooke, who always led Maybole Pipe Band back in wearing the most outlandish of costumes, has retired. To mark her commitment to the games she was presented with the MacMillan Trophy in the centre of the field, handed out at the discretion of the secretary Sheila Gilmore. Rosie accepted the cup and a big bunch of flowers as she waved to the cheering crowds.

It was the last competitive games, too, for Scott Clark who, are reported in last week’s Banner, is calling time on the heavy eventing which has taken him all over the world. However, on the day, the strong events champion was Daniel Carlin from Barrhead who cleaned up in all the heavy events, lifting the Rev James Currie Cup for the highest overall score.

This year there was also a strongman contest which saw four competitors take part in a series of challenges culminating in the lifting of the four McGlashan Stones weighing from 110kg to 150kg, first seen on Arran last year. Only Edinburgh strongman Ewan Cameron completed all four, although some of the heavy event contestants also had a go.

The various charity and food and drink stalls did a roaring trade as the traditional races and events were held around the field. Unfortunately the Highland dancing had to be moved to the village hall as the only shower of the day occurred just as the dancing was starting, but they enjoyed a successful event.

Ahead of the last ferry the pipe bands made their traditional march back to the ferry and held their play-off before the visiting bands boarded the ferry back to the mainland.

The mass pipe bands in their traditional play-off at the pier at the end of the games. 01_B32games01

Ernie Weir throws the 28lb weight for distance. 01_B32games02

The entrants in the fancy dress competition. 01_B32games03

Scott Clark in action in the throwing event. 01_B32games04

Andrew Earle from Sliddery puts everything into the throwing event. 01_B32games05

The four pipe bands entertain the crowds at Ormidale Park. 01_B32games06

Derek Shand takes charge of the big drum for Maybole. 01_B32games07

Strongman Jamie Barr flips a heavy door. 01_B32games08

One young contestant has time to check where her nearest opponents are during a race. 01_B32games09

Tia McKinnon crosses the finishing line first to win her race. 01_B32games10

Strongman Euan Cameron carries a huge rock with encouragement from Jamie Barr. 01_B32games13

Arran Ladies hockey team raise funds at their human friut machine stall. 01_B32games15

Highland Dancers bow after picking up their medals at the end of the competition which was forced by the rain into Brodick Hall. 01_B32games16

Ewan Cameron successfully completed the lifting of the four McGlashan Stones here seen tackling the heaviest 150kg weight. 01_B32games17

Tom Gilmore successfully lifts one of the stones. 01_B32games18

Andrew Earle gets some encouragement as he takes on the McGlashan Stone challenge. 01_B32games19

Scott Clark gives a huge heavy to the caber but he could only manage second place. Inset: Scott acknowledges the crowd. 01_B32games20 and 01_B32games21

Two youngsters battle it out on the pillow-fight bar. 01_B32games22

No prisoners taken in the pillow-fight. 01_B32games23

Former heavy events contestant Charlie Tod takes up the beer barrel challenge. 01_B32games24

A host of children take on the might of the Ormidale heavy events team. 01_B32games26

Rosie Cook gives a final fancy dress farewell to Maybole Pipe Band. 01_B32games27