Community spirit is strong in Scotland and, when summer arrives, the country comes alive with a string of galas and Highland games. Tain and other neighbouring towns and villages are no exception, taking great pride in the events they host in celebration of friendship and true Scottish traditions.
The first Scottish gala was in 1871, when the miners of Kirkcaldy celebrated the introduction of an eight-hour working day. Back then, tens of thousands of miners and their families would march to the gala fields in villages across Scotland — ending every year with the mighty miners’ gala in Edinburgh, where crowds could reach six figures. Today’s galas are more modest affairs, but are still key events in local social calendars. Tain's gala is held annually at the end of June/beginning of July featuring a week-long programme of events, culminating in a ceilidh. Other local communities staging galas include Portmahomack, Balintore, Golspie and Brora.
Held throughout the country, Highland games are synonymous with such Scottish traditions as the bagpipes, the wearing of the kilt, and heavy events such as the caber toss. While centred on competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, and Scottish heavy athletics, many games also include entertainment and exhibits related to other aspects of Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage. The Tain Highland Gathering is held in August each year in the grounds of the Glenmorangie Distillery and there are numerous others for visitors to enjoy in the surrounding area - not to mention events such as the Black Isle, Caithness and Sutherland county shows.
Music, too, plays a vital role in the cultural life of Scots. You'll often find live music in the local pubs, while village halls regularly host concerts featuring a wide array of visiting and local talent. You can catch national and international stars at Eden Court Theatre in Inverness, as well as live outdoor concerts during the summer - not forgetting the Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival, held on the Belladrum Estate near Inverness! Founded in 2004, the event is a firm favourite on the festival calendar, with a loyal following of fervent fans that return year on year.
With hit after hit of self-penned songs and a strong mix of powerful bagpipe, fiddle and accordion led tune sets, Skipinnish encompass the very best of contemporary Celtic Music.
A traditional Highland Gathering, with all the usual events, including highland dancing, piping, track & field events, cycling and, of course, the heavies.
Showcasing the best livestock from the county, this 2-day Show also promotes foods, drink and crafts from within the north of Scotland. Plus, you can expect to see trade stands, a dog show, sports programme, highland dancing, flower show and much, much more….
Founded in 1822, the Inverness Highland Games is one of the most spectacular traditional gatherings staged in Scotland and is one of the highlights of any visit to the Highland capital city of Inverness.
Held in beautiful Wester Ross in the North West Highlands of Scotland. Lochcarron Highland Games feature the traditional mixture of heavy events, track and field plus highland dancing and piping displays.
Durness Highland Gathering is a small event with all the trimmings of traditional Scottish Highland Games.
The Tartan Heart Festival is a music and arts festival, held on the Belladrum Estate near Inverness. Founded in 2004, the event is a firm favourite on the festival calendar, with a loyal following of fervent fans that return year on year.
Agricultural show with a food and craft festival, show jumping, trade stands, funfair and much, much more. The Black Isle Show is the largest agricultural show in the north, and it's a great day out for all the family too.
This annual gathering features a variety of competitions, including field events, athletics, racing, Highland dancing and piping. A range of side shows, stalls selling food and crafts and, of course, the Dornoch pipe band all add to the day’s enjoyment.
Deacon Blue return to Inverness as part of their Cities of Love tour. Book early to avoid disappointment!