We had a splendid day at the Braemar Gathering today which finally went ahead after a two-year hiatus. We previously went in 2017 and 2018. Friends of ours invited us to stay with them in Aboyne overnight which made it a much shorter drive to and from the games.
We arrived late to avoid the traffic on the way there which worked perfectly but unfortunately we got the worst of it on the way back. It took us 1 hour just to leave the carpark. I am not kidding. I turned the car off and we were just sat in a queue for ages and ages not moving at all. I don’t know what the solution is here – well yes I do, public transport of course! – but it did taint what was otherwise a wonderful day.
I think if you’re going to go to the Braemar Gathering you need to get accommodation there which is actually impossible unless you book years in advance, or you leave at 3:30pm at the latest or don’t bother leaving until 7:30pm once the masses have left. I don’t think the situation is as bad if you come from the south which is what we did in 2018 so that’s another option.
The games park is in such a lovely setting in Braemar, surrounded by forest and hills with no major roads or ugly infrastructure in sight. Everything about it is gorgeous from the lovely green Braemar Highland Games Centre to the heather-decorated cottage the royal family use. You can get a pretty good view of events from around the park without having to specifically get a seat in the stadium. There’s lots of grassy banks to sit on for a picnic and plenty of places to buy food and drink although expect to queue at these.
The royal cottage is on the left in this next photo. The roof is decorated with heather.
This is the Braemar Highland Games Centre.
The entrance to the park.
Some happy spectators.
The queen didn’t come this year for mobility reasons. I’ve read this is the first time she has ever not come but Charles, Camilla, and Anne were there. We had a very good view of their arrival. This is Charles and Camilla in this next photo.
And here’s Anne in this next one.
Watching the caber tossing is always exciting.
The children’s sack race was entertaining.
We had a great view of the dancing too. This is the Sword Dance in this next video. Elizabeth did not dance this time as they don’t allow beginners although I’m sure she would have loved to dance there.
And I guess I shouldn’t forget the pipe bands. There are so many pipe bands and they’re all exceptionally good.