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Outstanding Competition on the Isle of Mull, Gerald Wiley reports from Erray Park

With a weather forecast that was less than optimistic, it was perhaps not set fair at 8 a.m. for a fantastic renewal of the Mull Highland Games but the doom mongers were proved wrong for, with the exception of a shower albeit a heavy one at midday – which did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of the crowds on the embankment – the quality of the athletics and dancing were of the highest order.

The Oban High School Pipe Band was once again in top form and the local Mull and Iona Pipe Band has improved beyond recognition in recent years and they both performed three separate sets through the day to the adulation of the crowds who had ignored the forecasters’ worst predictions and made their way up to the Golf Course. First winner of the day was Antony Daffurn of Wishaw who went on to take the Light Field Championship winning the Long and Triple Jump and smashing his own Scottish record in the former event in the process. This was verified by SHGA President, Charlie Murray, who was present to watch the events of the day unfold. Daffurn was thwarted in the clean sweep of Jumps events by Andrew Murphy who took the High jump with a height of 1.85m.

The only track athlete to hold on to his crown from 12 months ago was Bo’ness based Andrew Gibson who continued his fine run of recent performances with a win in the Mile (no metric measurements on the island!) but track performer of the day must belong to Pitreavie’s Ewan Dyer who won both the Scratch and Handicap 880 yards races. He was also the runner up in both the quarter mile and mile races. Craig Bruce, up from Selkirk, won the quarter mile and John Paxton, from even further south in Hawick, was the winner of the Furlong (220 yards).

Dancers were present from across the globe and Best Adult was Brisbane based Hamish McInnes who doubled up by running in and winning the Overseas Visitors’ race for men: a lady of a certain age from Switzerland held off the challenge of a fast finishing field to take the Ladies’ equivalent.

The heavy events, which are being well supported this year, were contested by a field of 13 with competitors from Scotland, Switzerland, Czech Republic and the USA and with the honours being fairly evenly spread. Recently crowned World Heavy Weight Champion, Vlad Tulacek, won the final event, the 56 pounds weight over the Bar and then took the ground record with a throw of 16 feet and 7 inches.

This event just goes from strength to strength and is now within sight of its centenary in 2023. It may be far away in terms of mileage, roads and ferry crossings, but it is well worth the effort to get here to see one of the finest examples of Scottish Highland Games on the circuit. Roll on Thursday July 23rd 2020.

Published: 2019-07-19 09:35:48