Burntisland Highland Games: Huge crowds expected for return of world’s second oldest games

Huge crowds are expected to descend on a Fife town as the world’s second oldest Highland Games make a return on Monday after a two-year pandemic enforced absence.

Sunday, 17th July 2022, 11:05 am

Burntisland’s historic gathering, which dates back to 1652, has not been held since 2019.

And that absence, plus the prospect of great weather, could see a bumper attendance.

And with limited parking in town, the organisers have already appealed to visitors to use public transport where possible to minimise congestion.

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Burntisland Highland Games are set for a long-awaited return

The day begins with the traditional reception for the Exiles at the Burgh Chambers, followed the parade to the Links where the games will be formally opened by David Adamson BEM, Games Chieftain, and Tom Courts, Honorary Games Chieftain.

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Crowds can then enjoy a whole afternoon of action involving the heavyweights plus athletes, cyclists and dancers.

Don Campbell, event vice-chairman said: “A full programme of athletes, bikers, heavies, dancers and runners from the length and breadth of the country have entered.

"They are desperate for the Games to get back and there’s an indication of good support for Games in general in Fife and around Scotland.”

“Because of Covid over the last couple of years, the heavyweights could not get over from Czechoslovakia but they are here just now, so we will have an international field

“We have all their traditional events – the hammer, caber, weight over the bar – and the guys have cabin fever. They have been performing very well and I think they are just dying to be on the park.”

The games are run entirely by volunteers who will spend Sunday finalising all their plans before the gates open on Monday.

Fiona Sword, co-secretary said all indications are it could be a bumper turnout.

“Other Highland Games in Fife have gone very well - Ceres had its best turnout in years.

There is also great support from across the town,. Whenever we put out posters or tubs for fundraisers, businesses are really, really keen to support us. It’s great to see so many people offering their help.”

The 2022 event has been pulled together by a new look committee after some members stood down after lengthy service.

Added Fiona: “Some have stood down but they have been more than happy to share their expertise. Everyone is pulling together to make this the best day possible.

“A lot of prep work will be done on Sunday, and then it is a full on day on the Links on Monday.

The town is really proud of the fact these games are the second oldest in the world,and it takes a huge effort from a group of volunteers to make them happen.

It is a big event to stage, and we are expecting a big crowd - particularly if the weather is good.”

The organisers have appealed to visitors not to descend on the town by car.

While there are overflow car parks, they have appealed to people to use public transport.

Buses can drop people off at the door - the number seven bus stops beside Burntisland Links and the High Street -, while the train station is a short walk away - and anyone who fancies walking can use the Fife Coastal Path.