Great day for all as sun shines on Burntisland Games

The reception for Burntisland Exiles and invited guests. Pics: Fife Photo Agency
The reception for Burntisland Exiles and invited guests. Pics: Fife Photo Agency

Organisers have hailed the success of the 362nd Burntisland Highland Games as hundreds headed to the town to celebrate the annual event.

Burntisland was busy on Monday as the parade, of Exiles, invited guests and organisers, headed along the High Street led by Burntisland Pipe Band.

They left the Burgh Chambers at 11.45 a.m.and made their way down to the Links for the official opening of the Games at noon in the main arena.

Speaking after the event, David Jeffrey, president and Games chieftain, told The Press the organising committee was really pleased that it stayed dry for the second oldest Highland games in the world.

He said there were around 30 volunteers who came to help set up on the Sunday night.

He said: “It’s been another successful year for Burntisland Highland Games. The number of people who came along on the day was fantastic. A tremendous amount of work was done by the committee beforehand to prepare.

“There were 17 runners in the Binn Race this year and four entries in the heavy events.

“Overall, there must have been around 1000 people at the event, including those in the arena, but it’s always difficult to get an accurate figure on the numbers.”

The Binn Race saw Ben Potrykus retain his title in a time of 24 minutes 59 seconds, while Jim Stevenson and John Christensen followed him home in second and third.

David said there was the usual mix of dancers from the UK, Canada and Australia, as well as good participation in the running and cycling events: “The weather was fantastic and we could not have asked for a better day - everyone enjoyed themselves,” he added.

Local councillors George Kay and Peter George also praised the event’s success. Cllr Kay said: “It was wonderful to see so many happy people in Burntisland attending both the Games and the funfair.

“It brings back memories of former days in the town and I hope to see many more days like this in future.”

Cllr George added: “The Exiles reception was first class and the hospitality was paid for by the Burntisland Fairgound showmen.

“The committee has done a fantastic job and we couldn’t have asked for a better day for the Games.”

Exiles from far and near at reception

Exiles from far and wide gathered in the town’s Burgh chambers on Monday before the start of the Highland Games where they were treated to a special reception to mark their return to Burntisland.

Those attending included David Leuchars and his wife Arlene, who are both originally from Burntisland and now live in South Africa. Dave (66) left Burntisland over 30 years ago but enjoys coming back. He said: “We still know a lot of people in the town and we like to come back and enjoy the games, it’s a nice atmosphere.”

Stuart Booth also returned for the event - he now lives in Ernsgarden near Ingolstadt in Germany. He left Burntisland in 1992 to work for the Airbus company, building planes. He said: “I used to go to the Games when I was younger.

“I still have family and friends here so I like to come back and enjoy the day.”

Ray Keane (48) also made his regular appearance. He now lives in County Durham and returns each year to work at the shows.

He said: “I have been away for 25 years but I like coming back for the Games. I work for the one day at the fairground but it’s always a lot of fun.”

Special guests included Burntisland Citizen of the Year, Frances Allan, as well as Gordon Brown MP and Provost Jim Leishman.

Mr Brown told the reception: “It’s good to be here in the great tradition of Burntisland Highland Games and thanks has to go to the community council for making this possible.

“It’s great to see people back in Burntisland who have moved thousands of miles away but still think of Burntisland as home.”

Provost Leishman added: “This is my third year here as Provost. I have been coming here since I was a wee boy and it was always special when my father said we were coming to Burntisland for the games. I hope everyone has a great day.”