From Glyndebourne to Glastonbury - A social calendar for the 21st century
07 September, 2013
Royal Deeside, Scotland
The heather-clad hills of Braemar, west of Aberdeen, are host to this world-famous event showcasing traditional Scottish highland games.
Braemar, in the Cairngorms National Park, has hosted gatherings of one kind or another for 900 years, since the time of King Malcolm Canmore. The current Gathering, which takes place on the first Saturday in September, dates back to 1832, making it one of Scotland's oldest Highland gatherings, as well as one of its largest.
Substantial crowds come to watch athletes from around the world compete in 'heavy' and 'track' events, including a tug-of-war by teams from the armed forces, a Services relay race, caber-tossing, stone-putting, sprinting, hammer-throwing, a hill race and a long leap. There's also Highland dancing, massed pipe bands and a children's sack race.
Queen Victoria was very fond of the Gathering, first attending it in 1848, and today The Queen still comes to Braemar regularly and is hailed as the event's chieftain.
Seats (grandstand, uncovered and ringside) sell out long in advance, but it is also possible to view events from the hills and terraces within the grounds.