Friday, 9th August 2019
New Travel Package Launched For Lonach
One of Scotland’s oldest and most iconic Highland Games has teamed up with two north-east businesses to offer visitors to the 2019 event a cost-effective transport service.
Organisers of the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games have partnered with Aberdeen hospitality business The McGinty’s Group and Westhill-based Peace Coaches to provide a return travel package to this month’s event in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire.
The Gathering & Go service has been launched to address the lack of public transport that serves Strathdon at weekends. The new service fills that gap in the market and it is hoped that it will be popular with both locals and tourists. The coach will depart Aberdeen around 9:45am and return to the city at approximately 7:00pm.
Priced at £35 per person, the package includes return coach travel from Aberdeen to Strathdon, a ringside seat at the Lonach Gathering, tea, coffee and a bacon roll at The Grill Bar in Aberdeen from 9:15am prior to the coach’s departure, and a light buffet at McGinty’s Meal An’ Ale on return to Aberdeen in the evening. Tickets must be purchased in advance.
This year’s 178th Lonach Highland Gathering and Games will take place on Saturday, 24 August in Bellabeg Park, Strathdon. A packed programme of traditional events gets underway on the games field at 10:30am, with piping, Highland Dancing, light and heavy athletics, tug o’ war, children’s races and a hill race taking place throughout the afternoon.
A unique aspect of the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games is the march of the Lonach Highlanders. This 220-strong body of men dressed in full Highland regalia and armed with eight-foot long pikes and Lochaber axes is believed to be the largest body of non-military men to carry ceremonial weapons in Britain. The Highlanders provide a dramatic spectacle as they march around the games field at 1:00pm and 3:00pm having undertaken a six-mile march through the local area in the morning.
Alongside the traditional events are a funfair, a whisky tent and a range of food and craft stalls which are among 70 trade stands showcasing local produce and supporting good causes.
Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “We are very excited to be launching the new Gathering & Go service as it will widen the travel options for our visitors and offers fantastic value for money. Introducing this type of initiative is something we’ve considered for some time and are really pleased that The McGinty’s Group and Peace Coaches have agreed to partner with us.”
Jillian Miller, sales and marketing director with The McGinty’s Group, said: “The Lonach Highland Gathering and Games is a fantastic spectacle and a major draw for visitors keen to experience Scotland’s heritage, culture and hospitality, three things that we celebrate across our portfolio of bars and restaurants. We are extremely proud to be partnering with the event to launch this new initiative, helping to widen its appeal and enhance the region’s offering to tourists.”
Tickets for the Gathering & Go travel package are priced at £35 per person and must be purchased by Tuesday, 20 August 2019. Booking is available online at www.lonach.org.