The pipes rung out across the grounds of Monaltrie Park as Ballater Highland Games organisers marked the 102nd birthday of the event’s chieftain – who was celebrating the day almost 500 south at his home in Norfolk.
Captain Alwyne Farquharson, the 16th laird of Invercauld, passed the chieftiain’s role to his 40-year-old great nephew Philip Farquharson on May 1, his 102nd birthday.
The war veteran’s service was celebrated with the playing of the pipes at a memorial stone at the home of the famous games, which was erected to celebrate his 70th year as chieftain in 2018.
Prior to the pandemic Mr Farquharson would travel north to Aberdeenshire every year for a number of engagements, including the annual gathering at Braemar, home of Braemar Castle, the seat of Clan Farquharson.
Pipe Major James Cooper from Ballater and District Pipe Band played Invercauld House, the tune traditionally piped for the chieftain’s arrival onto the field on games day at the socially distanced ceremony on Saturday.
It was followed by a short performance by young pipers Lewis Stewart and Craig Mitchell, and drummer Callum Mitchell from the 47th Culter Boys Brigade Pipe Band.
A remarkable commitment
And though this year’s games have been cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic, Scott Fraser, vice-chairman of the Ballater Highland Games, said the ceremony provided a chance for organisers and supporters to raise a glass to both the outgoing and incoming chieftain.
Mr Fraser said: “The fact that he is 102 is remarkable in itself but the fact he has been our chieftain for 73 years and been at the games every year is just amazing.
“Philip will be seeing him tomorrow so he will see the videos of the event, which is very special.”