Blair Castle is set to open its gates for the annual Atholl Gathering next Bank Holiday weekend.
The two-day event on 25 and 26 May will include the traditional Atholl Highlanders parade on the Saturday followed by the Scottish Highland Games on the Sunday.
This iconic event sees Europe’s only remaining private army gather for its yearly inspection by the retiring Lord Lieutenant of Perthshire, Brigadier Sir Melville Jameson, KCVO, and CBE before the regiment parades on the forecourt of the castle, accompanied by the sound of their magnificent pipes and drums.
The Atholl Highlanders Parade is a longstanding tradition, which displays Scotland’s rich cultural heritage in its full glory. Before the parade, visitors will be invited to find out more about the fascinating history of Blair Castle’s private army from Castle Archivist, Keren Guthrie who will be joined by members of the Atholl Highlander regiment.
Continuing in the weekend’s festivities, Sunday brings the return of the popular Highland Games which includes events including tug o’ war, solo piping and highland dancing. Heavyweight strong men will gather from around Scotland to battle it out in traditional trials including the tossing of the caber and throwing of the hammer.
This year also sees a special anniversary for the castle’s Banvie Tower. There will be a specially curated display cabinet on show in the striking Banvie Hall featuring 750 artefacts from across its 750 years.
It will feature items of significance to the castle including; a striking box covered in porcupine quills dating back to the 20th century, a travelling medicine case inscribed with Duchess Louisa’s initials from the 18th century and a beautiful travelling gilt-metal barometer and compass by Negretti & Zambra.
Julia Sim, head of sales and marketing at Blair Castle said: ‘The Atholl Gathering is always an incredible weekend, with visitors coming from across the country to enjoy all the activities we have taking place across the estate. It gives visitors a real chance to hark back to Scotland’s rich cultural heritage with flair and pride.
‘Last year saw more than 4,000 people come to join in the weekend and enjoy the Highland Games. We’re hoping this year will be an even bigger and more spectacle.’
Prior to the gathering weekend, the Atholl Highlanders participated in a takeover at King’s Cross railway station in London to showcase the new Caledonian Sleeper trains.
For more information on Blair Castle and Atholl Estates visit www.blair-castle.co.uk.