Throughout the summer months, Royal Deeside comes alive with several Highland Games and Shows.
Held on the first Saturday in August, Aboyne Highland Games, famed for remaining true it’s roots and dubbed ‘The Traditional Highland Games’ has been running since 1867. Here visitors are enthralled by the sound of the massed pipe bands, amazed at the strength of those competing in tossing the caber and throwing the hammer as well as taking in the splendour of the piping, fiddling, dancing and athletic competitions throughout the day. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II graced the village with her presence in 2017 to celebrate the 150th Anniversary so you can never quite tell who will be there.
On the second Thursday of August, Ballater Highland Games, is a similarly thrilling spectacle, also occasionally visited by members of the Royal family.
Later in August, the Tarland Agricultural Show not only has highland dancing but also livestock, horse riding and pet competitions as well as the artistically spectacular trucks, lorries and vintage competitions.
Always the 4th Saturday in August, The Lonach Gathering, held in Strathdon is famous for the March of the Lonach Highlanders ‘Membership is drawn from the inhabitants of Strathdon who continue to fulfil the society’s original mission of preserving Highland dress and ‘supporting loyal, peaceful, an manly conduct’. Throughout the day they march around the area, calling in for a dram at all the Lairds’ houses and around the Game’s arena. Should they become a little too tipsy they befall the disgrace of everyone seeing them in the horse drawn cart which follows the procession!
On the first Saturday in September, the season concludes with the world famous Braemar Gathering. Annually attended by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the Royal family this is very much a traditional Games with the added attraction of a fiercely contended tug of war and athletic competition between the rival estates of Balmoral and Invercauld.