NEWFLASH - Have a look at this wonderful video which has been produced by the City Marketing Group. Nice job folks - we love it!
In addition to the events below, you can find details of many of the numerous other events taking place in the Highland Capital in our What's On Section which is edited and updated every day by our friends at the Inverness City Advertiser.
2013 Major Events Programme
17 March Inverness Half Marathon and 5K Bught Park
29-30 March 2013 BID Easter Treasure Hunt City Centre
11 May 2013 BID Classic Car Show City Centre
17 May Highlands and Moray Food and Drink Festival Eden Court
1 June Scottish Golden Oldies Rugby
5-6 June Go North Festival
7-9 June Rock Ness
8-9 June Highland Homes Show Bught Park
29 June 2013 Armed Forces Day NM Park
12-13 July Bunkers Festival City Centre
12-15 July Scottish Open Golf
20 July 2013 Highland Games NM Park
8 September 2013 Kirking of the Council Old High
23-27 September Highland Business Week Various
10-12 October 2013 BID Street Theatre Festival City Centre
25 -26 October 2013 Halloween Show Ness Islands
5 November 2013 Fireworks Display Bught Park
6-10 November 2013 Inverness Film Festival Eden Court
10 November 2013 Remembrance Day War Memorial
17 November 2013 Christmas Lights Town House
13 -15 December 2013 Winter Wonderland Whin Park
31 December Wee Hot Highland Fling City Centre
31 December 2013 Red Hot Highland Fling NMPark
For further information please contact:
The Inverness Festivals Team
c/o Gerry Reynolds (Events and Promotions Officer) 01463 724216
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Inverness has a long tradition of staging of some outstanding strong man events going back centuries and 2013 will see one of the Highlands oldest strength challenges make a return after 191 years.
The Highland Strongman show, which will be staged in Northern Meeting Park for the first time on Saturday 17th August and will see the return of The Stonemason's Stone - a challenge that has not been been attempted since 1822 (see below).
The Stonemason's Stone will be just one of a whole host of great events for you and the family to enjoy on the night. Gates open at 6.30pm and admission is free.
Extract from the Inverness Courier of October 10th 1822 describing the Northern Meeting's first Highland Games in Inverness.
October 10.The Northern Meeting was held the previous week. The attendance was thinner than usual, but the proceedings were carried out with the customary success. Following the Meeting is an account of Highland games held under the presidency of Glengarry at Dunaincroy. These games do not seem to have formed part of the programme of the Meeting, but the management apparently assisted them with funds. The report is couched in an entertaining style, making fun of Glengarry and of the sports. Glengarry, it is said, presided in all his glory, and had the field almost wholly to himself, "the other judges probably conceiving themselves ill qualified to decide in matters which lay altogether between the chief and the gentlemen of his tail." The sports included a foot race of eight miles, and the report has it that four of the runners, who came in first, arrived at the goal in the costume of Adam. Time, 50 minutes. Another item was to lift a boulder 18 stone weight, and throw it over a bar five feet from the ground. The feat was accomplished by "a mere stone mason," after having foiled all the other "pretty men." The most remarkable feature, however, was the tearing of three cows limb from limb after they had been felled and stunned by the blow of a sledge-hammer. The dissection of the poor cows was far from easy. "Even the most expert of the operators took from four to five hours in rugging and riving, tooth and nail, before they brought off the limbs of one cow. This achievement was paid at the rate of five guineas per joint, so that we hope this rise in the value of black cattle will make the Glengarry men some small amends for the fall of ewes and wedders at Falkirk Tryst, lately noticed by their chief." The report is written in this sarcastic vein. It is evident that no love was lost between the Editor and Glengarry.
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The Inverness Highland Games returns to Northern Meeting Park Arena on Saturday July 20th and reigning Champion Sinclair Patience (pictured above)looks set to face a titanic stuggle to retain his title. Veteran 6' 9" Belgian legend Tommy De Bruin has announced that he will be travelling to Northern Meeting Park to compete in this year's event and former Masters World Champion Jason Young is reported to be winning his struggle to overcome injury and is expected to compete.
The 2013 Games will feature a number of changes from last year with the gates opening at 10.30am for the first Toddlers Highland Games sponsored by Mascot Madness. At 11.00am competitive Highland Dancing makes a welcome return to the main arena while the Solo Piping competitions will take place in a specially constructed arena on the Highland Council HQ complex next door. At 11.30am a new Track and Field Competition for Juniors will get underway before the Opening Ceremony at 1.00pm will see Games Chieftain Provost Alex Graham welcomed with the traditional Mass Highland Fling which is one of the most loved features of the Inverness Games.
At 1.15pm the Traditional Music Showcase Stage will open in the Traders Village to provide 5 hours of toe tappling entertainment. The Senior Track and Field events will get underway at 1.30pm before the excitement reaches fever pitch as the Heavies take the field to do battle.
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The anniversary of the Battle of Culloden was marked with events organised by The National Trust for Scotland (NTS), which owns the battlefield, and the Gaelic Society of Inverness are holding events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday 12-14 April. They included well attended lectures and a moving service of commemoration organised by The Gaelic Society of Inverness.
The wonderful speech at the Cairn at Culloden was given by Roddy John Macleod and it is reproduced below for your information and pride.
Tha sinn a cruinneachadh an seo an diugh airson cuimhne a chumail air na thachair bho chionn da cheud tri-fichead sa seachd bliadhna air ais nuair a chaill faisg air da mhile duine – Gaidheil anns a mhor chuid dhiubh – am beatha agus a chaidh na ceudan eile an droch-leon ann am blar a mhair nas lugha na uair-a-thide ach a thug buaidh do-labhairt air eachdraidh na Gaidhealtachd. Agus chan ann a mhain orrasan a chaill am beatha ri linn a bhlair a tha sinn a cuimhneachadh ach air na miltean eile a dh’fhuiling anns an leir-sgrios a thainig air cearnaidhean dhe’n Ghaidhealtachd anns na bliadhnaichean a lean am blar. Ged a tha sinn, aig a chruinneachadh a tha seo, airson urram a nochdadh do gach fear, air gach taobh, a chaill a bheatha ri linn a bhlair, tha e nadurra dhuinne a tha na’r Gaidheil sinn fhein gur ann air na Gaidheil gu h-araidh a bhiodhmaid a smuaineachadh, seach gu robh buaidh cho mor aig na thachair an seo oirnn mar shluagh.
Friends, before I say another word I want to congratulate you on your turnout here today. As you can see I have come with notes of what I want to say. So I am prepared in that sense. But in another sense there is nothing that can prepare one for coming to this event for the first time. Nothing can prepare one for the wonderful spectacle on which I am looking out now. I congratulate you on your dedication to this occasion and on your preparation for it. I understand some of you have come long distances; some from France, some from Ireland, some from the United States and possibly some from other countries too. You make me look quite ordinary. I don’t look like a Chieftain, I don’t feel like a Chieftain but I do feel proud and privileged to be part of this occasion. You can all go home today knowing that you have done justice to the memory of those who fought and died here 267 years ago.
And that is why we are gathered here today. To remember what happened in these fields 267 years ago next Tuesday, when almost 2000 men lost their lives and many more were severely wounded, many of them dying shortly afterwards. The Battle of Culloden can be characterised in many ways and for many years it was popularly seen as a straightforward matter of the Good Scots against the Bad English, in the manner of Bannockburn, four hundred years earlier. But no one who knows the least thing about it thinks of it in that way now. There were Scots on both sides and there were Highlanders on both sides. But whilst it is true that there were Highlanders on both sides we know every well what we mean when we talk, in the context of Culloden, of “the Highland Army”. We are talking about the army of Prince Charles Edward Stuart. And it was a Highland Army: although it also comprised some Irish, some French and even some Mancunians. And, although we would honour the memory of all the dead at this ceremony, it is, naturally, to the Gaels’ heroism and their fate and what afterwards befell the parts of the Highlands whence they had come that our thoughts turn today.
I said that the Battle of Culloden was not a matter of the Scots against the English but this is a suitable occasion on which to ponder the relationship between Scotland and the Gaels – na Gaidheil. And that relationship is simply this: that it was the Gaels who made Scotland. I do not have the Scottish educational system of my day to thank for this knowledge: in fact it did its level best to hide it from me. I have Dr John MacInnes to thank for it. In his essay on The Scottish Gaelic Language in the wonderful collection of his essays recently published he puts it like this:
“A simple scenario of what was to become the kingdom of Scotland tells of four peoples, the Scots, the Britons, the Picts and the Angles, each vying with each other for power after the withdrawal of the Roman Empire in these islands. In the end the Scots prevailed; hence the name ‘Scotland’. There is never any mention of Gaelic. To the present day, it would appear, most Scots, including those whose native language is Gaelic, are unaware of the role played by the Gaelic people and their language in the formation of the historic kingdom. This is a direct product of Scottish formal education. It is never made clear, so far as I am aware, that these ‘Scots’ of medieval history were quite simply the Gaels, that their ‘Scottish’ language was the direct ancestor of modern Gaelic, and that it was the Gaels who established the Border which lasted until 1707.”
MacInnes’s criticism of the Scottish education system is my cue today to remember a man who is exempt from all such criticism and, to contrary effect, did so much – often ploughing a very lonely furrow – to right the wrongs of that system. I refer, of course, to Murdo MacLeod, a long-time stalwart of the Gaelic Society of Inverness and regular attender at these commemorations, who died last month.. This is not the time for a lengthy tribute to Murdo – and any one which did him justice would be lengthy – but it is appropriate to remember his frequent attendance here and to acknowledge his role as the pioneer of the renaissance of Gaelic education in Scottish schools. In an obituary to Murdo which appeared earlier this week in The Scotsman, there was a lovely story of a lady who said that Murdo was the first person she had heard laughing out loud in a classroom. I remember him coming to Portnalong School. We would all be anxiously awaiting the arrival of “the Inspector” and then Murdo would walk in, smile at us and speak, and our hearts would melt not with fear but with warmth. Today we remember Murdo with great fondness and enormous gratitude.
Returning to John MacInnes, the time of which he speaks is now over a millennium ago but what he says is unchangeably true. That was the time when the Gaelic footprint on Scotland was at its largest and the influence of Gaelic language and culture was at its height. By the time of the Battle of Bannockburn, never mind Culloden, it was already on the wane. In the period between Bannockburn and Culloden, the demolition of the power and influence of the Lordship of the Isles – by a Stuart monarch one might note in the passing – might be seen as the first of three, or arguably four, seismic events which have weakened the Gaelic world severely, although not yet quite mortally, the other two being, of course, Culloden and its aftermath and the Highland Clearances which followed almost immediately afterwards. The arguable fourth is the Great War of 1914-1918, the centenary of the start of which will be upon us next year. The difference with it is that it was not, of course, targeted in any way at the Gaelic community but it did have the effect of robbing many Gaelic-speaking communities of the flower of their young manhood with lasting linguistic effect.
If you are a Gael, therefore, what happened here 267 years ago, and even more what happened in its aftermath, bears directly on your place in the world and affects profoundly your view of yourself.. Today I succeed the Rev Professor Donald Macleod as Chieftain of the Gaelic Society of Inverness and I thought it would be interesting to see not what Donald said about Culloden here last year – Donald is such an original thinker that I thought that might be a demoralising experience – but to see what his son, the writer John Macleod, had to say about Culloden in his book Highlanders. Writing of the effect of what followed the battle, John MacLeod, says this:
“It took a generation, and more, for some measure of normal law and order to be resumed. All this time the Highlands were under effective military occupation. A sense of defeat pervaded the region – as, after the American Civil War, it would pervade the states of the Confederacy – which has never lifted. It added, more than any other single event, to that most dangerous aspect of the Highland character: the sense of being wronged, the belief that we are always being wronged.”
These words leave us wondering what the result might have been in terms of our place in contemporary society and of the effect upon the Gaels’ psyche, had the 1745 uprising been successful. One wistfully imagines a process not of repression, isolation and marginalisation but of influence, even dominance, centrality and the flourishing of Gaelic culture. Would that have happened? Would the Highland contribution long be remembered with gratitude? Would the restored Stuart monarchy itself have lasted very long? If so would the Gaels have had a continuing seat at the top table in London? Would their culture and language have flourished? Would we today be nearer the centre of things than we are?
We can’t know for sure but what we do know for sure is that anything which would have followed immediately after a Jacobite victory would have been a great deal better for the Gaidhealtachd than the reign of terror which followed defeat. We can only imagine what it would it have been like if the Gaels had won. But we know of a certainty what it was like when they lost. John Macleod again:
“Throughout the length and breadth of the West Highlands flew this reign of terror. The isle of Eigg was laid waste. Men landed from the king’s navy in the creeks and bays of Morar, Moidart, Arisaig, and continued the vicious work. The stately homes of chiefs and chieftains, were ransacked and fired. Whole hamlets were razed from the map, many never to be rebuilt. Raasay, for two nights only, had sheltered the prince on his desperate flight after Culloden. So Raasay was pacified with particular zeal. … Every house, hut and hovel on the island was levelled. Every beast and bird of livestock was killed or removed. Anything of the least value was taken.” And so on.
This orgy of destruction has been referred to by Professor Alan MacInnes – another scholar, who like John MacInnes and, indeed, as a more general writer, John Macleod – can write the history of the Highlands from the inside, as “ethnic cleansing”. I gather from Dr Tony Pollard’s excellent recent book on Culloden that that term is a little strong for the taste of some of Alan’s contemporaries as historians. I am no historian, but even if ethnic cleansing is too strong a term for the horrors of which John Macleod writes so vividly, maybe “cultural ethnocide” is not too strong a term for the assault on Gaeldom’s culture – its language, it’s music and the very clothes the people wore – which followed Culloden and elements of which lasted half-way into the 20th century.
I said “ethnocide”. I should have said “attempted ethnocide” because, miracle of miracles, it hasn’t quite succeeded. The language – once centre stage is now very much in the wings – but it survives and makes guerrilla raids on the rest of Scotland from time to time. In that context the opening of a Gaelic-medium school in Edinburgh, the capital of our nation, later this year is surely significant and symbolic. The music is not only not dead but has undergone a wonderful renaissance in the past twenty or thirty years. The religion, on the other hand – and we must remember that they were all Christians of one kind or another who fought and died on this battlefield – will, on present trends, soon be gone, whether one is thinking of Gaelic or English, Catholic, Episcopalian or Presbyterian forms of worship although that is part of a wider phenomenon affecting the western world.
A few weeks Donald Macleod in his column in the The West Highland Free Press, that excellent paper which by its commitment to the three fundamental and crucial elements of the land, the people and their language – an tir, na daoine agus an canan – asked whether we can have Gaels without Gaelic. He didn’t answer it but my own answer would be no: surely the language embodies the soul of a people? But may we never have to find out.
My message then, on this 267th anniversary of the battle, is that we should remember who, as Gaels, we are; who those Highlanders who fought and died on this field were; who their ancestors were and what our place in Scottish history really is. How appropriate that we should do that in the run up to the independence referendum whatever side of that question you may be on. Let us recover our pride. Despite what happened here 267 years ago we have not been vanquished. Let us not languish under a perpetual sense of being wronged. Let us instead resolve to turn the tide. That is the best tribute we can pay to the Highlanders who fell here 267 years ago. If we can muster even a fraction of their courage we shall surely succeed.
I almost finished what I have to say and I have not yet mentioned, except incidentally, the man who was at the centre of all we remember today – from its start at Glenfinnan in 1745 to Prestonpans to Derby and ultimately to Culloden in April 1746. That man was, of course, Prince Charles Edward Stuart and I want to finish by reciting a couple of verses of a poem which, despite my earlier criticisms of the Scottish educational system, I did learn at school. They are from An Suaicheantas Ban, the White Cockade, a poem by the great Gaelic bard Uilleam Ros. It was written not in the aftermath of Culloden but when news of the Prince’s death in Rome reached Scotland. It is appropriate that it should be read here today.
“Soraidh bhuan do’n t-Suaicheantas Ban,
Gu Latha Luain cha ghluais o’n bhas;
Ghlac an uaigh an Suaicheantas Ban,
Is leacan fuaraidh tuaim a thamh.
Albainn arsaidh, is fathunn broin
Gach aon mhuir-bhaight’ tha barcadh oirnn,
D’oighre righeil bhith san Roimh,
Tirt’ an caol-chist’ liomhta bhord!
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The date of the 2013 Inverness Raft Race has been announced!
Saturday 7th September!
More details as soon as we get them from our friends at Children 1st.
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A 40% increase in the number of people taking part was recorded in the Great Inverness Easter Egg Hunt last Friday & Saturday.
Inverness Events and Festivals Working Group Member and Inverness BID Manager, Mike Smith said “We are delighted that more than 2000 people took part in this year’s Easter Egg Hunt which is an increase of 40% on the record turnout in 2012. There was a great atmosphere in the city centre as families and groups of young people took the opportunity to hunt out the 20 eggs on display in shop windows throughout the Old Town, Victorian Market and Eastgate Centre.”
“Along with the enjoyment that the event gave to the public it also achieved our business criteria of moving people around the retail outlets in the city centre perhaps coming across shops that they had...n’t known before. For example, one of the eggs was on display at The Village on Union Street and their Dave Lynch told us how it had generated a whole new audience of people for this outlet which opened in the last 12 months.”
“Whilst the event is about people enjoying themselves it is also an opportunity to profile new and existing businesses so we are delighted with this type of feedback.”
The event, which is organised by Inverness Business Improvement District with support from the Eastgate Centre, encourages people to move about the city looking for eggs hidden in windows of the retail shops. Entrants had to find 5 eggs in the Eastgate Centre and 5 in the rest of the City Centre from the 20 on display in shop windows.
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