The Mey Highland Games is an annual event celebrating the sportsmanship, culture, heritage and produce of the far north Highlands. The Games were first held in the small Caithness village of Mey, to celebrate the 70th birthday of HM The Queen Mother, who was in residence at her beloved Castle of Mey. The Queen Mother was so delighted with the event that she encouraged organisers to hold it every year. The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, the event has grown in size and popularity, and now takes place at the Show Ground fields in John O’Groats. The Mey Highland Games includes all the favourites of a traditional Highland Games, including throwing and lifting contests such as the shot put, tug-o-war, caber toss and hammer throw. In 2018, Mey Highland Games became the first in Scotland to introduce an adaptive element, inviting para athletes to take part. With full Adaptive and Women’s categories, Mey Highland Games is considered the most inclusive Games in the world, a commitment that has earned the support of the Invictus Games Foundation. One of the highlights of recent years has been the incredible sportsmanship demonstrated by Help for Heroes competitors who travel to Caithness each year and draw huge crowds.
In addition to the sporting element, the Mey Highland Games is an inspirational celebration of Highland culture, featuring performances of traditional Highland Dancing, massed Pipe Bands, stalls selling the finest local produce (including of course a wee nip o’ whisky!) and local crafters showcasing their talents. It’s a day for all the family, with music, entertainment, games and a bouncy castle to keep the little ones amused.
The Mey Highland Games is proud to continue to enjoy royal patronage almost five decades after the Games were first held. HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, attends each year, and is always delighted to get involved, judging the Tug-o-war contest and mingling with the crowds.
Today, the Mey Highland Games is run by a small community charity, which raises sponsorship to cover the cost of the Games and donates profits back to military and local causes.
Image: Copyright Gavin Paul Bird, with sincere thanks.