Looking ahead - Diary Dates 
Welcome to the Inverness Events and Festivals News Page

Below you will find details of some of the highlights that you can look forward to enjoying here in Inverness in the rest of 2014. Events are being added to our city's events schedule every day and for the latest information please visit our Events Listings Page where you will find the latest details in our What's On Section which is edited and updated every day by our friends at the Inverness City Advertiser; and the event organisers who do such a great job in our putting on events in our community.

2014 Major Events Programme (August - December)

1 Sept Highland Homecoming Starts
2-7 Sep Nairn Book and Arts Festival
3 Sept World Sheep Dog Championship
4-6 Sept Northern Meeting Piping
4-15 Sept BLAS Festival
4-7 Sept The Highland Military Tattoo
MWC2014 will take place over three days on Friday Saturday and Sunday September 12th and 14th as part of a weekend of unforgettable celebrations in the Highland Capital.

11 Sept Masters World Championships Hall of Fame
11 Sept Highland Homecoming Show
12 Sept Masters World Championships Day 1
12 Sept Camanachd Hall of Fame Show
12 Sept Parade of the Highland Clans
13 Sept Masters World Championships Day 2
13 Sept Highland Clans Exhibition
13 Sept Camanachd Cup Final
14 Sept Kirking of the Council
14 Sept Masters World Championships Day 3
14 Sept Tomatin Toss - Guinness World Record Attempt
20 Sept Invercharron Highland Games
20-21 Sept Inverness Craft Festival
21 Sept Highland Traditional Strength Festival
26-28 Sept Turning Leaves Book Festival Kingussie
27 Sept Baxter’s Loch Ness Marathon
1-3 Oct Tomatin 54 Hole Pro Am Golf
10-18 Oct Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd)
10 Oct Parade of the Gaels
11 Oct North of Scotland Highland Dancing Championships
11-12 Oct Beer N Folk Festival (Kingussie)
11-19 Oct Race The Castles Orienteering Tour
16-18 Oct Inverness BID Street Theatre Festival
18 Oct End of Mod Massed Choirs
18 Oct Shinty / Hurling International
25 Oct "Write Up North"
26 Oct The Culloden Run
30-31 Oct Halloween at Ness Islands
31 Oct Highland Homecoming Ends
31 Oct - 9 Nov Inverness Curling Festival
5 Nov Civic Bonfire and Fireworks
9 Nov Remembrance Sunday
23 Nov Christmas Lights Switch On
12-14 Dec Winter Wonderland
31 Dec Wee Hot Highland Fling
31 Dec Red Hot Highland Fling

For further information please contact:
The Inverness Festivals Team
c/o Gerry Reynolds (Events and Promotions Officer) 01463 785006
Email: gerry.reynolds@highland.gov.uk

NEWFLASH - Have a look at this wonderful video which has been produced by the City Marketing Group. Nice job folks - we love it!

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Royal National MOD Fringe 
Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd), Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival, has announced the programme for their biggest fringe in the event’s 122 year history. Taking place in Inverness from Friday 10th to Saturday 18th October there will be almost 70 events taking place as part of the Fringe, alongside the competition based events.

Starting with a torchlight procession from Inverness Castle to Eden Court on the Friday, there is an abundance of entertainment planned for the week. There will be concerts featuring Skipinnish, Cruinn and Skerryvore (plus many more), street theatre, the Shinty Mod Cup, meet the author events, pub music nights, children’s disco, come & try sessions and a ceilidh - there really is something for everyone.

Fringe highlights include the Saturday night Fiddlers’ Rally at Eden court. Hosted in association with Blazin in Beauly - under the musical direction of Bruce Macgregor of Blazin’ Fiddles - the concert will feature over 100 fiddlers, including world renowned artistes, plus local groups, promising to be the most spectacular fiddle event in Scotland. A special concert to commemorate the 100th anniversary of World War I on Wednesday afternoon will be a showpiece event, with musician Erik Spence creating a piece of music to go along with the poem Bantrach Cogaidh, written by the late Rev John Macleod. Dingwall Gaelic Choir and Lochardil Primary School Choir will contribute.

Other highlights include musical performances at the area’s stunning visitor attractions Urquhart Castle, Culloden Battlefield and Fort George, while The Massed Choirs, with pipe bands, will bring the week’s musical festivities to a close with hundreds of choristers taking part on the Saturday morning.

Organised by An Comunn Gàidhealach, one of the world’s oldest and most respected national Gaelic organisations, The Royal National Mòd is the most important festival of the Gaelic language in Scotland and is a signature event in the Highland Homecoming celebrations. The nine day extravaganza will feature competitions in Highland Dancing, Gaelic Music and Song, Sport, Literature and Drama, offering Gaelic speakers of all levels to compete, bringing thousands of competitors and spectators from throughout Scotland, the UK and from all corners of the globe including USA, Australia and Canada to Inverness.

John Morrison, chief executive of An Comunn Gàidhealach, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce our Fringe programme for 2014. The bread and butter of the Mòd itself is the competition side – there are more than 200 competitions to enjoy – but over the years our Fringe events have also started to grow.

“Inverness has a great variety of venues to allow us to host our biggest ever Fringe, and it’s a great way to celebrate being in the city for the first time since 1997. Having a Fringe event keeps the atmosphere going all week and allows gaels and non-gaels to experience the fun of the Mod!”

The Provost of Inverness, Councillor Alex Graham said:
“The Mòd Inbhir Nis Fringe Programme includes many varied and interesting events. These include Cèilidh Beag a Mhòd - a fun event for young children taking place in the Aquadome - dynamic street theatre in the City Centre, genealogical activities in the Highland Archive Centre and exciting exhibitions and musical recitals in the Inverness Museum and Art Gallery.

“The Mod Fringe activities and events complement the formal Royal National Mod Competitions and which, together, give us the World’s Premier Gaelic festival.”

Cllr Graham added, “I am delighted that the Fringe Programme includes both traditional and contemporary events in venues and places of historic interest. All these have Gaelic at their core and are aimed at attracting residents, competitors and visitors.

“The Mod Fringe events will complement the increasing use of Gaelic in the area, create a unique atmosphere, and generate an economic boost to the City and inner Moray Firth area in the middle of October during this special Year of Homecoming Scotland.
Bidh Fàilte mhòr oirbh, I look forward to meeting you at the Mòd Inbhir Nis 2014!”

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac, said: “As main commercial supporter of the Royal National Mòd, we recognise that the Fringe has a valuable role to play in providing a colourful and entertaining backdrop to the important business of the competitions, so are looking forward to the biggest Fringe ever.”

The Royal National Mòd is supported by Highland Council, HIE, Creative Scotland, Caledonian MacBrayne, Bòrd na Gàidhlig, EventScotland, the Royal Bank of Scotland, SQA, BBC ALBA, the Scottish Government and Royal Mail.

Paul Bush OBE, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “The Royal National Mòd is a key part of our annual cultural events portfolio and in 2014 is one of the centrepieces of the Highland Homecoming programme. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and in the extensive Fringe programme at this year’s Mòd will showcase our rich Gaelic heritage through the week of the event.”

For full event programme and details, visit www.ancomunn.co.uk or for Fringe events visit www.modinbhirnis.co.uk

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Preview Homecoming Scotland 2014 
We are now hard at work putting the final touches to The Highland Homecoming Festival (Tilleadh dhan Ghàidhealtachd) will last from 1st September to 31st October. The Festival will run straight into our Winter Festival (30 October to 31 December) which will end with our 2014 Hogmanay Show.

Amongst the highlights of the Highland Homecoming will be the launch of a brand new event at Fort George - The Highland Military Tattoo which will take place 4th to 7th September.

The following weekend you will see the arrival the inaugural Parade of the Highland Clans - a spectacular Torchlight Procession through the streets of Inverness on the evening of 12th September. The event is being organised by the Association of Highland Clans and Societies who will be staging a free exhibition in the Town House the following day.

The Clans are in town to play a leading role in welcoming competitors and spectators arriving in Inverness for the biggest weekend of traditional sport the Highland Capital has ever seen. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday (12-14 September) Bught Park will be the venue for the 2014 Masters World Championships (MWC2014). The Masters has routinely been the world’s biggest Highland Games competition - with more competitors taking part than at any Highland Games staged anywhere else - but this year such as been the excitement surrounding the events third visit to Scotland that the Maasters has almost doubled in size. This years event will be contested by almost 200 Heavies aged 40 years and over from 14 countries and as a result the event has been extended to three days for the first time ever. When combined with Shinty's Camanachd Cup Final which is also happening on the same weekend there can be no doubt that Inverness will be hosting a weekend of traditional Highland Sport unlike any other.

The MWC2014 weekend will also feature the Kirking of the Council and the climax of the 2014 Blas Festival and will end with an event that we think will create a world record that may never be broken.

The weekend will end with "The Tomatin Toss" - an attempt at the world simultaneous caber tossing record which currently stands at 52 and is held by the Fergus Highland Games in Canada. With a world record number of heavies and a world record number of cabers awaiting them - hopes are high that Inverness is about to do something that will become a global hit on YouTube.

Following the MWC2014 Weekend - the action continues with the Highland Traditional Strength Festival and the Loch Ness Marathon; the Homecoming Highland Festival will climax with the eagerly anticipated Royal National Mod arrives to which will be feature performances around Inverness City Centre and showcase all the aspects of Gaelic language, culture, history and heritage at local, national and international levels.

The final sporting event of the Highland Homecoming Festival will be the annual Shinty Hurling International between Scotland and Ireland at Bught Park on Inverness Street Theatre Festival weekend.

And then ... just when you had thought you had seen everything ...all eyes will turn to Ness Islands for a Halloween Show unlike any other.. all the ghosts we have had in the past five years are returning to see if they can finally scare away the children of Inverness.

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Preview 2014 Halloween Show 

The Highland Homecoming Festival will end with an event that has quickly established itself as a much loved tradition in Inverness – the family friendly Halloween Show down on Ness Islands - which will take place on Thursday and Friday 30-31st October.

Organised by Arts in Motion, Eden Court Creative and the Highland Council’s Lighting Department, this year’s show will feature an assortment of ghostly visitors the likes of which Inverness has never seen before. The reason for the spookiness reaching new heights is simple. As soon as the Highland Homecoming Festival was announced Blackbeard the Pirate decided that Ness Islands deserved its own Homecoming Festival, and before anyone could stop him he invited every ghost that has visited Ness Islands in the past 200 years to attend or walk the plank. With Ghosts, Ghouls, Aliens, Pirates, Vampires and surprises lurking around every corner or standing quietly behind you in the darkness; you may wish to take a friend who doesn’t scream too loudly and has no chance of running as fast as you can.

The 2014 Ness Islands Halloween Show is open from 6.30pm – 8.30pm and admission is free. Car parking is limited around the site so please use broomsticks where possible.

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The City of Inverness Highland Games started and finished with two unforgettable record breaking performances before a delighted crowd of over 3500 spectators.

To celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the opening of Northern Meeting Park in 1864, the Games Committee invited spectators on to the field to join in the opening ceremony's Mass Highland Fling; and the delight on the faces of all concerned as the biggest Highland Fling in Inverness Highland Games history got underway was plain for all to see.

After the unveiling of a special commemorative plaque to mark the occasion by Games Chieftain Provost Alex Graham, the crowd settled back to enjoy 6 hours of competition, performances and displays.
In the Heavy events, Sinclair Patience revealed just how well his preparations are going for his debut in the World Championships in Dunfermline next month by successfully defending his Inverness Games title against an international field with included former Masters World Champion Jason Young, Torsten Hulsemann from Germany and Alan Herbert and David Garman of the USA.

Michelle Smith of Inverness won the inaugural Inverness Highland Games Strongwoman competition which included truck pulling, a lady's version of the famous Inverness Stonemason's Stone Challenge and a weight over the bar competition which saw her overcome a determined challenge by Karen Sutherland.
The afternoon ended with three Heavies stepping forward to attempt to lift the 252 pound Stonemason's Stone over a five foot bar. Simon Timpson of England and Alan Herbert of the USA both failed to lift the stone from the sodden turf before Sinclair Patience stepped forward to become the first man in history to successfully launch the Stone over the bar twice to the delight of crowd who gave him a well deserved standing ovation.
The Anniversary Games could not have had a more exciting or finer conclusion.

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Write Up North 
The Scottish Writers Association are holding a seminar in Inverness Town House on October 25th. For further details please click on the Write Up North Link to your right in our event information section.

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