Lonach Highland Games cancelled due to coronavirus

Event called off just a day after it was announced the Braemar Highland Gathering would not go ahead.

The Lonach Highland Gathering and Games has been cancelled for the first time since 1945, due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The gathering, which features the march of the Lonach Highlanders – a group of 220 men dressed in Highland regalia – attracts 10,000 people to Bellabeg, Aberdeenshire, each summer.

The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is planning to mark the day the gathering should have been held and will announce plans in the coming weeks.

The society has also asked that people not travel to the area until restrictions to stop the spread of the virus are lifted.

Jennifer Stewart, the chief executive of the society, said: “We are very disappointed that this year’s Lonach Highland Gathering and Games and the Lonach march will not be able to take place.

“It is the first time since 1945 that they have not been held. Both mean so much to so many, including our members, local residents, sponsors, supporters and the thousands of visitors who attend each year.

“Ensuring the health and wellbeing of Strathdon residents, all those associated with Lonach and the wider public is what is important.

“Historically, Highland Gatherings and Games have been a place of kinship, where families and communities come together, something that is extremely evident at Lonach each year.

“We very much hope to still be able to do that from a distance in some shape or form this August. It has been a difficult year for Scotland’s traditional Highland games and we will be thinking of each one as the summer progresses.”

Organisers hope the gathering will return on August 28 next year.

The news comes a day after it was announced the Braemar Highland Gathering, attended annually by the Queen, would not go ahead.

The Braemar Royal Highland Charity said the cancellation was to “protect the safety of the local community, competitors and spectators”.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code