The famous Braemar Gathering and Highland Games have been cancelled for a second year, due to continuing concerns around the coronavirus pandemic.
The gathering, which is regularly attended by members of the Royal Family while staying at the nearby Balmoral Castle, was due to take place in September.
Instead, the next event will be held on September 3 next year.
A statement released by the organisers of the gathering said the decision was taken to protect the “local community, competitors, spectators and officials, many of whom travel from around the world”.
David Geddes, the president of the Braemar Royal Highland Society, said: “This has been an extremely difficult decision to make.
“To cancel a gathering is something which I had hoped I would never have to do in my time as president.
“Now, to cancel for a second year is heart-breaking. However, there is still uncertainty surrounding the spread of the virus and we must put the wellbeing of our community, visitors and volunteers first.”
The Braemar Junior Highland Games, which were scheduled for July 24, have also been cancelled.
Mr Geddes continued: “We know the gathering is a highlight in many people’s year and an event which many make plans for well in advance.
“We share everyone’s disappointment and offer our hope and thoughts that you stay well and keep safe as the pandemic moves into what we hope is the final phase.
“As I said last year, like the hills around Braemar, the gathering will be here next year, and we look forward to happier times and to welcoming you back to Braemar on September 3, 2022.”
‘A major part of our identity’
MSP Alexander Burnett spoke of his disappointment however believes the crowds will return, he said: “Although this is very disappointing news, I absolutely believe the crowds will come back in their droves to Highland shows and agricultural events across the North East, as soon as it’s safe to do so.
“They form a major part of our identity.
“The Braemar Gathering attracts around 15,000 to the village every year and is a key driver for the local economy each summer. Not only that, it’s a lot of fun for the area and a great time to catch up with friends and family for many.
“Last year at Holyrood I was pleased to highlight the organisers’ innovation in holding a virtual event. Another year with no physical Gathering will be difficult, but the loss of key events in the rural calendar will be felt across Scotland.”