Traditionally Highland Games involved clan gatherings where competitors arrived in Highland dress carrying 'gun, sword, pistol and dirk' before proceeding to compete at feats of strength and weaponry. But following the Battle of Culloden, anything relating to Highland culture was prohibited along with the carrying of arms, the playing of bagpipes and wearing of the kilt.
By the mid 19th century the Highland Games were re-established and continue to celebrate Scottish and Gaelic culture. Annual summer games are held as far afield as North America, New Zealand and Australia.
Given the abundance of water – sea, river and loch – it is perhaps no wonder that fly-casting is featured in the Assynt Games. But these Games are also unique in having their Chieftain brought ashore in a designated barge, complete with official piper.
The Pipe Band then welcomes the Chieftain at Culag Pier where he or she is presented with a cromag or shepherd's crook before being led by the pipers onto the Games field.
For many visitors this is one of the most memorable moments of Games Day - a fitting start to what continues to be an enjoyable event for all concerned.
A new Chieftain is chosen to serve the Games each year. The Chieftain is generally a highly-respected member of the community who has made an exemplary contribution to Assynt. It is no wonder being selected as Assynt Highland Games Chieftain is deemed such a great honour.
LIST OF PREVIOUS CHIEFTAINS
|1958 B Simpson||1990 Dr S A Nairn|
|1959 F Burden MP||1991 Simon Macleod|
|1960 C C McLaren||1992 H Matheson|
|1961 R A Vestey||1993 Seordag Murray|
|1962 H W MacKay||1995 David Grant MBE|
|1963 J M Milne||1996 Flossie MacPhail|
|1964 F Wayne||1997 Ian Smith|
|1965 John Macintyre||1998 Bryan Rowse MBE|
|1966 Frank Ross||1999 Jim Payne|
|1967 George Mackenzie||2000 Ian W Macleod|
|1968 Sir M Turner||2001 Iain Macleod|
|1969 Brig. L C Madleberg CBE||2002 Andrew Mackay|
|1970 R M White||2003 Ishbel Macauley|
|1971 E H Vestey||2004 Kenny MacKenzie|
|1972 George C MacKay||2005 Sandy Johnston|
|1973 Duncan Sutherland||2006 William Macleod|
|1975 R J Macleod||2007 Bertie Buchannan|
|1976 J M Crichton||2008 Alex Dickson|
|1977 Alister MacKenzie||2009 Nick Gorton|
|1978 W Morrison||2010 Neil Gudgeon|
|1979 W Moffat||2011 Madeline MacPhail|
|1983 N A MacAskill OBE||2012 Katherine & Graham Anderson|
|1984 Wilma MacKay||2013 Aileen Macleod Hall|
|1985 J F MacKenzie||2014 Roddie Kerr|
|1986 Roderick Macleod||2015 Ronald Fleming|
|1987 Keith Roberts||2016 Jessie Ross|
|1988 Olive Macleod MBE||2017 Bill (William Maclean) Smith|
1989 David MacBain