Highlands & Islands

Dry weather forces cancellation of Highland Games

Highland Games Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Highland Games were due to take place next month

The summer's long spell of dry weather has forced organisers of a Highland Games to cancel this year's event.

Invercharron Highland Games in Bonar Bridge has its roots in a gathering first held in 1888, and has been held in its current format since 1981.

The dry conditions have slowed the growth of grass and in turn the cutting of hay in the field used for the games.

Organisers said they regretted having to cancel, but understood the farmer's position.

The games in Sutherland were due to be held on 15 September.

Image caption A farm at Bonar Bridge provides the venue for the Highland Games

In posts on social media, the games organisers said: "It is with severe regret that the Invercharron Highland Games has had to be cancelled this year.

"The farmer, whose field we use, grows his winter feed hay crop in the field and because of the exceptionally dry weather we have had, the crops are growing too slowly and as a result he will not be able to harvest before the games and the feed is urgently needed.

"There is not enough time for us to find another field nor apply for a new public entertainment licence so we have no alternative other than to cancel this year."

Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Dry conditions this summer have affected grazing and farmers' growing of fodder

Farmers and crofters have had to deal with different extremes of weather this year.

It began with a prolonged spell of wet and cold conditions, followed by little rain which has affect grazing and the growing of fodder.

Highland Games are famous for their Heavy events, such as tossing the caber, shot putt and hammer throwing.

WWF Scotland said it was not uncommon for events in Scotland to be cancelled because of rain, but "very unusual for them to be called off due to hot weather".

Dr Sam Gardner, acting director, added: "We have seen the devastating impacts of a runaway heat wave in many parts of the world this summer, and Scotland's own very dry weather has started to bring home the reality of climate change."

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