Back to Bowhill for Highland Games

After a gap of 69 years Highland Games returned to Bowhill and the crowds who turned up in good numbers were able to enjoy all the action in leisurely fashion.

By Shane Fenton
Monday, 13th September 2021, 10:45 am
Updated Monday, 13th September 2021, 11:00 am
Glenrothes' John Thomson received his prize for winning the Open 1600 metres handicap from Games Chieftain John Gilfillan (Pic: Ian Grieve/RSHGA)
Glenrothes' John Thomson received his prize for winning the Open 1600 metres handicap from Games Chieftain John Gilfillan (Pic: Ian Grieve/RSHGA)

Apart from the Argyllshire Games at Oban last month they were the only games to have taken place anywhere in Scotland over the past two summers.

Following the laying of flowers at both the war memorial and cemetery, the Chieftain’s parade, led by the bands of Lochgelly HS and Burntisland & District, made their way to the Wallsgreen Park where an afternoon of running, cycling, heavy events and Highland dancing ensued.

There was also a full programme of fun races for children as well as their parents while midway through the proceedings solo piper Greig Canning played a salute to the Chieftain John Gilfillan.

When the action on the track got underway the first event was the 800 metres cycle handicap, for the grass track starved bikers this was their first event in two years owing to all the games having been cancelled due to the Covid pandemic.

Victory went to Craig Hamilton (Edinburgh) who came home ahead of Paul Anderson (Perth) and Paul Gallacher (Kirkcaldy).

The latter then went on to triumph in both the 1600 and 3200 metres handicap before Hamilton took out the concluding event, the Deil tak the Hindmost.

There was some quality competition in the running events, two time New Year Sprint winner Greg Kelly (East Kilbride AC) was the scr man in the 70 metres handicap.

He made it through to the final but just missed out on a podium place with victory going to the impressive Douglas Young (Kelso) who powered home ahead of Kieran Kivlin (Lasswade AC) and Scott Tindle (TLJT) in 7.31 from the 1,5 metres mark.

Young completed a sprint double by winning the 70 metres all scr Invitation event with on this occasion Kelly and Kivlin filling the minor places.

There was a thrilling finish to the Open 200 metres handicap with Jacob Aubrey making the long journey North from Kendal a fruitful one by getting up in the shadow of the winning post to deny double New Year 90m winner Nina Cessford (TLJT), with the rapidly finishing Greg Kelly in third.

In the Open 400 metres Rory McDonald (TLJT) produced one of his best ever performances to snap the worsted ahead of Natasha Turnbull Stirling Uni who edged out Selkirk veteran Colin Bruce for second place.

It was veterans to the fore however in both the 800 metres and 1600 metres handicaps.

The evergreen Donald Bradley (Inverness) took out the 800 from Jacob Aubrey and Rory McDonald while in the 1600 Juhn Thomson (Glenrothes) reeled in long time leader Angela Bell (Forfar) with 100 yards to to run to claim the win.

Bell held on for third place with backmarker Sam Aitken (Edinburgh AC) coming through for third place.

There was a Borders 1-2 in the 3200 metres with Tam McCaskill (Hawick) turning in a polished performance to come home a clear winner from Dean Whiteford (Innerleithen) with Angela Bell again on the podium in third place.

There was female domination in the Youth events winning all four races. In the 70 metres.

Tess Renwick (TLJT) held off the late challenges of both Daniel Lawson (Kelso) and Evie Renwick (TLJT).

There was front marker success in both the Youth 200 metres and 400 metres with nine-year-old Evie Leonard (Kelso) landing a double.

In the 200 she came home comfortably ahead of the chasing pack headed by Lewis Fleming (Kelso) and Ava Lewis (TLJT).

Despite running from a reduced start in the Youth 400 she was not for being caught and hit the line ahead of Evie Renwick and Rachel Barrett (Dunfermline Track & Field Club).

The latter turned in the Youth performance of the day with an impressive run to win the Youth 800 metres with Harry and Mattie Fleming taking minor honours.

In the centre of the field the trio of Kyle Randalls, Craig Winslow and Stuart Anderson entertained the crowds with competitions in Shot Putt, Weight for Distance and Tossing the Caber.

Outwith the main arena the Fiona Gallagher’s Highland dancers entertained the crowds throughout the afternoon.

It may have been 69 years since the previous Bowhill Games but competitors, officials, spectators and traders alike were all happy to get back doing what they enjoy doing.