Final highland games of the season at Peebles called off due to coronavirus

The skirl of the pipes and the hurling of haggis across Hay Lodge Park are a familiar sight and sound in Peebles each autumn.

By Kathryn Wylie
Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Friday, 29th May 2020, 4:48 pm
Peebles Highland Games 2019, Haylodge Park Peebles Ex-servicemen Pipe band
Peebles Highland Games 2019, Haylodge Park Peebles Ex-servicemen Pipe band

However, this year’s Peebles highland games, due to take place on Saturday, September 5, have been called off as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Organised by Peebles Highland Games Association, the annual event also incorporated the final branch contest of the Lothian and Borders pipe band competition calender.

Organisers say it has been a difficult decision.

Chris Patterson, chairman of Peebles Highland Games Association said”Whilst we know that this decision will be disappointing for many, we feel it is the correct one to make in the interests of protecting the safety of the local community, competitors, spectators and officials many of whom travel from far and wide to come to Peebles.

“It’s been a very difficult decision to make. Having cancelled the games in 2013 whist the drainage issues in Hay Lodge Park were being addressed we had hoped the games wouldn’t need to be cancelled again for a very long time.

“However, the ongoing threat from Covid-19 to the wellbeing of our community, visitors and volunteers has meant that we have to put safety at the forefront of our considerations and call-off the games for 2020”.

Organisers have taken their lead from similar events such as neighbouring Innerleithen Pipe Band Championships, due to be held on Saturday, June 6, which have also been called off.

“Being one of the last events in the annual highland games calendar we had hoped that we might still be able to stage the games in some shape or form,” Mr Patterson added.

“ When considering our options we were well aware that many pipe bands, dancers, heavies and spectators were desperately hoping that they might yet have an event to attend this year. However, the recent updates on the continued spread of Covid-19, travel restrictions and social distancing instructions from the Scottish and UK Governments have confirmed that this will not now be possible.

“We know the games are one of the highlights of the year for many people and an event which many make plans for well in advance. We share your disappointment at this news but hope that all our supporters stay safe and well until the threat posed by the virus has passed.”

Local highland dancers were due to compete as well as the region’s registered competition bands from Stow, Peebles and Innerleithen.

Peebles Highland Games will return instead on Saturday, September 4, 2021.

Mr Paterson added: “Peebles Highland Games will still be here next year when we look forward to welcoming you back to Hay Lodge Park on the banks of the silvery Tweed in heart of the rolling hills of the Borders.”