Spectators enjoy excitement of annual St Andrews Highland Games

St Andrews Highland Games
St Andrews Highland Games

Near record crowds turned out for the 27th annual St Andrews Highland Games and were treated to an afternoon of exciting competition in the main arena at Station Park.

An added attraction was an appearance by the BBC Television Have I Got News for You star Paul Merton, who was filming a part of his new Channel 5 series and an episode entitled The Great Outdoors focusing on Scotland.

The comedian and writer is fronting the new travelogue series — Paul Merton’s Great Escapes — and according to him, he is discovering some “unusual retreats” in the six one-hour long programmes which will be screened this autumn.

At the St Andrews gathering, he interviewed several of the competitors, including the husband and wife athletes, Sam Grammer and Kate Mason, who were taking part in the heavyweight championship.

He was also presented with a Scottish Highland Games Association tie by the immediate past president of the SHGA, Ian Grieve, who is secretary of both the St Andrews meeting and the association - and promised he would wear it when he presents his new show on Channel 5.

HONEYMOON

Recently married, Sam and Kate are spending their honeymoon in Scotland having previously been in St Andrews and enjoyed it so much they were keen to return, as they told the Citizen.

However, Sam could only take third place in the overall championship, the winner being fellow American Rusty Price — the current SHGA world champion — with Fifer Bruce Robb in the runners-up slot.

On the track, cyclist Gordon Murdoch had a successful games, scoring a hat-trick of wins, while Moffat carried off the tug of war title.

There was also keen competition in the open and youths’ athletics where Fife runners figured prominently in the prize list, and also the solo piping.

Meanwhile, Scottish international hurdler Francis Smith (Pitreavie) was the inaugural winner of the Jim Wallace Memorial Trophy for the Best Athlete of the Day when he won both the 200 and 400 metres, while the Jim Wallace Memorial Quaich for the winning tug of war team went to Moffat.

Both the special awards were added this year in memory of the chairman of the St Andrews Games, Jim Wallace, who died earlier this year. He was a founder member of the gathering.