Crowds flow in to experience the essence of Scotland in Aberdeen for 2018 Highland Games

LASSIE or a lad, Australian or Scotsman - all had the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in the Scottish culture at Jefferson Park on Saturday for Aberdeen’s 19th Highland Games.

More than 4000 people came out to see talented highland dancers, the traditional Celtic strongman competition or connect with their ancestry at a clan tent.

The scene was perfectly set against the magical backdrop of bagpipes.

Committee president Charles Cooke explained the important role the annual event plays in bringing people closer to their family history.

“Many make the journey here to retrace pieces of their heritage and background,” he said.

“Those with Scottish backgrounds spend a lot of time talking to the clan societies and many people later say they were able to pick up threads.”

The gathering attracted hundreds of local visitors, as well as those from outside of the area – Sydney, the Central Coast and further afar.

Manilla High School student Millie Sutherland came as part of a group of five Highland Dancers from Gunnedah. 

“Our group ranges in ages, from infants to 19-year-olds,” she said.

“I became involved in Highland Dancing about four years ago, following in the footsteps of a family member.

“It’s great here in Aberdeen – it’s my second year.”

Over at the strongman competition, Aberdeen’s defending champion Scott Hall was getting ready to back up his title in the ‘Lifting of the Stones’ competition.

The tartan warrior was one of only five of the strongest men in Australia to lift the largest stone, weighing 165 kilograms, to the top of the barrel, securing first place.

Placing second was mountain man Luke Reynolds.

The professional strongman from the Blue Mountains effortlessly lifted the fourth stone but came in just shy of lifting the fifth.

Novelty events such as the kilted dash, and a best dressed pooch competition continued into the evening.

And, in true Scottish style, the day wouldn’t have been complete without a healthy helping of whisky and haggis as lines of people waited patiently at the food stalls.