Swing, fling and cycling draw the crowds at Ceres Highland Games

Ceres Games president Madeleine Allen (right) is interviewed by a member of a German TV production company.
Ceres Games president Madeleine Allen (right) is interviewed by a member of a German TV production company.

The location may be small in comparison to other worldwide games but June 25 attracted an international crowd to one of the oldest free Games in the world.

Revellers not put off by intermittent showers gathered from over 20 countries to watch participate and enjoy the show.

Wrestling is always a popular attraction at Ceres Games.

Wrestling is always a popular attraction at Ceres Games.

The City of St Andrews Pipe Band roused the bumper crowds for the start of 702nd games with attendance up on previous years.

And it was officially opened by president Madeleine Allen, Chieftain the Reverend Jim Campbell and supported by the main event sponsor Douglas Boyce, chief operating officer, FNZ.

An integral and anticipated event in the village calendar Madeleine explained why each year the Games attracts so much well-deserved attention: “Ceres Games is iconic as one of the most historic – thought by many to be the oldest Games in the world, and one of the last to remain free to attend.

“It is also very special in that it holds all of the day’s events on a single field. At many other Games you may have to choose which arena to visit to see different events.

Ceres first-time fun competitor Alex Keen, from Germany, will have to put on a few more pounds and improve his technque before he challanges the usual heavies. He was making a film for German TV.

Ceres first-time fun competitor Alex Keen, from Germany, will have to put on a few more pounds and improve his technque before he challanges the usual heavies. He was making a film for German TV.

“The Games is by far the biggest event in the village’s calendar, and the population more than doubles on Games Day. It has also achieved a wide national and international following, with visitors this year from every continent.”

The Ceres Games is entirely run by volunteers with a small committee organising it all year round, supported by a larger team of volunteers on the day itself.

Adding to the international twist of the day was German TV broadcaster Prosieben who were at Bow Butts filming a lifestyle TV-Magazine for their One Show equivalent ‘Taff’.As well as documenting Ceres Highland Games – the kilts, the fun, the traditional food – they also sent a German reality TV personality Alex ‘Honey’ Keen – who became popular after appearing in “Germany’s Next Top Model”, to the Games to see what he needed to compete and see how tough the competition really is.

Madeleine said: “I was interviewed about his chances against the Scottish Heavies – slim to none!

Ceres featured a number of scarecrows in the village in the run-up to the games. Ewen Allan of Tidy Gardens is pictured handing over one of the awards to Barbara Elder, who accepted the prize in the over 60s category.

Ceres featured a number of scarecrows in the village in the run-up to the games. Ewen Allan of Tidy Gardens is pictured handing over one of the awards to Barbara Elder, who accepted the prize in the over 60s category.

“We’ve never done anything quite like that before, although we did have a film made of our 700th anniversary Games which was included in a BBC documentary about similar events. Also at the Games this year there were two other European film crews interviewing the spectators about their views on the Brexit decision!”

Richard Cleary, vice-president said: “It was overall a great family day out that remains free of charge and is supported by the village of Ceres, surrounding villages and local business without whom this would not be possible.

“We are always on the lookout for new volunteers to help run the games throughout the year, please email committee@ceresgames.co.uk if interested.”