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Arisaig Games - 50 years ago

ntil 1987, the Arisaig Highland Games had been staged within the village at Mains
Park - also known as Arisaig Playing Field. It is hard to believe that 27 years have
assed since the venue changed.

Until 1987, the Arisaig Highland Games had been staged within the village at Mains Park - also known as Arisaig Playing Field. However, the lack of parking, lack of space for stalls and poor drainage were major concerns for the Games Committee of the time and with the kind permission and enthusiastic support of the Shaw Stewart family, the venue switched to our current home at Traigh.

Although this move secured the future of the Games, many people have fond memories of the Games being held at Mains Park - which is why we were very intrigued by an email received from Randy Gregory in Colorado asking if we would be interested in a poster and some footage from the 1964 Arisaig Games.

Randy explained that his family had been on a 6 month touring holiday in Europe and just happened to arrive in Arisaig the day before the 1964 Games. They decided to stay over and attend the next day. They recorded some of the day on a cine camera and kept a poster used to advertise the event as mementoes from their trip to the West Highlands.

We are very grateful to Randy for sharing these with us and it provides a valuable glimpse back in time to the event held exactly half a century ago - in a quirk of fate, the 1964 Games were also held on the 30th July, although in 1964 they were held on a Thursday rather than the now traditional Wednesday.

Arisaig Games Poster 1964

1964 Poster

The 7 minute video is available below or can be viewed on YouTube via the following link (there is no audio on the film):

YouTube link

Arisaig Highland Games 1964


Identifying those in the video

In an effort to identify some of the faces in the video, a committee member has shown the film to several people with connections to Arisaig Games from that era, or people who have a knowledge of the likely competitors of that year. Our thanks to those who were able to identify pipers, dancers, games organisers and of course spectators. We would be pleased to receive any further contributions which would help complete the picture, in addition to any corrections to the information below:


Games Officials

Malcolm MacRae (Pictured at the start)

Ronnie MacDonald (Big Ronnie)

Arthur Bean - convener at the 1964 Arisaig Games.

Johnny MacDonald (Breedis) of Cuillin View, Arisaig

Teddy Leonard of Arisaig


John D Burgess MBE - John D Burgess achieved world-wide fame as a child prodigy on the bagpipes before maturing into one of the foremost exponents of Scotland's national instrument. A prolific prize-winner around the Highland games circuit, he gave many recitals and made many recordings, including an album called The King of the Highland Pipers.

Bert Barron from St Andrews

Ronald Morrison from South Uist and Glasgow

Willie MacDonald from Inverness

John MacKinnon of Arisaig (of electric bagpipe fame) is pictured playing for the dancers


Colonel Jock MacDonald of Skye

Juvenile Dancers

Louise Cairns and Hazel Cairns from Fort William. The sisters are daughters of Flora Cairns (MacDonald) and grandchildren of Donald “Post” MacDonald of Arisaig.  

Margaret MacFaull

Mary MacColl (Godsman) from Fort William who has for many years been a Highland Dancing Judge in the area, including over 20 years judging at Arisaig Games.

Eleanor Read and Mary Ogg - MacVarish sisters and the daughters of May and John MacVarish of Morar. Eleanor and Mary have served as Dancing steward and judge at Arisaig Games over a long period. Eleanor was also a dancing instructor and most of the dancers competing in the local games were taught by Eleanor.

Maria Hanratty of Morar

Mary Manson and Isobel Simpson of Mallaig

Mairi Cecelia MacKinnon of Arisaig

Adult Dancers

Bob Clark

Sylvia Clark

May Falconer

Sandra Adams

Family Outing!

At the coconut stall - Jean Clegg, formerly Croll, from Samalaman with her 3 children.  From left to right, Anne-Mairi, Marion and Robert. 

Mrs Croll bought Glenuig Estate in 1942 for Graham Croll, her son who was a tenant farmer at elsewhere. Jean Croll married Richard (Dick) Clegg in around 1935 and moved back to Samalaman in the late 1950’s to take over running the Estate following Graham’s death.

Field Events

Arthur Rowe - Arthur remains the record holder for the both the light & heavy shot at Arisaig Games.

Jay Scott - One of the stars of the Highland Games of the era, he was successful in both heavy events and track & field.

Bill Anderson - One of the all-time stars of the heavy event circuit and a regular at Arisaig from the 1960's to the 1980's.

Tommy MacEachen - Tommy was still competing (and winning prizes) in the heavy events at last year's Games, 60 years on from his debut at his home event.

Tony Moynihan - A top competitor in the athletic events in his own day, Tony has a trophy for Under 18 Track & Field events at the Arisaig Games. His son, and in recent years, his grandsons have won this trophy on several occasions.


Information & Photos

If you think you can help us to identify more faces from the video, or perhaps correct or add to the information above, please email us at

We have an existing collection of photos from previous Games - particularly from events held at Traigh, but with a few from the Mains Park era. However, we would be very interested in seeing any old photos of Arisaig Games with a view to creating an archive section on the website.

As above, please contact us at if you have any photos that you would be happy to share with us.





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