Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Places Remain For Historic Event As Lonach Gets In Step
With The Daily Mile

History will be made in Aberdeenshire this weekend when the first ever Daily Mile event is held at a Highland Games, with a number of spaces remaining for children wishing to participate in the event which will be started by The Daily Mile founder Elaine Wyllie.


Organisers of the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games have teamed up with Active Schools Aberdeenshire to bring the ground-breaking health initiative out of the school playground and into the sporting arena. The Daily Lonach Mile is designed to provide primary age schoolchildren with an opportunity to clock up their daily mile amidst stunning scenery, while promoting the benefits of a healthy and active lifestyle to all those attending.


A fixture of Aberdeenshire’s summer events calendar for over 185 years, the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games takes place this Saturday, 25 August, in Bellabeg Park, Strathdon.  Events on the games field get under way from 10:30am.  The Daily Lonach Mile is scheduled to start at 12:30, just ahead of the Lonach Highlanders marching onto the games field at one o’clock to officially open the afternoon’s proceedings.


Numbers for the inaugural Daily Lonach Mile have been capped at 75, with around 25 spaces still available.  Parents or guardians who wish their children to participate in the event, which should take around 15 minutes to complete, are encouraged to pre-register by Thursday, 23 August.  Reflecting the occasion, participants will be led into the arena by a local pipe band.


Elaine Wyllie, who created The Daily Mile initiative, has championed the establishment of the Daily Mile at the Lonach Gathering.  She will be on hand to fire the starting gun to get participants underway.  Since Elaine established the first Daily Mile at St Ninians Primary School in Stirling in 2012, it has become part of the daily curriculum in over 4,700 schools across the United Kingdom and has been placed at the centre of the UK government’s strategy to fight childhood obesity.


The Daily Lonach Mile is part of the Lonach Highland Gathering’s celebration of the Year of Young People, a Scotland-wide, year-long initiative to acknowledge the achievements of young people and the contribution they make to the country, its communities and culture.


Elaine Wyllie said: “I am delighted to bring The Daily Mile to the Lonach Gathering for the first time and to mark the first non-competitive event to ever take place at this fantastic annual tradition. This is sure to be another highlight in a remarkable period of growth and momentum for The Daily Mile. My simple idea that just 15 minutes of daily activity could have a transformational effect on the lives of young people has now spread from one school to over 4,700. It is my hope that children across Aberdeenshire and beyond are inspired by Saturday’s activity and decide to sign-up to The Daily Mile.”


Famed for its iconic march of the Lonach Highlanders, a 220-strong body of men dressed in full Highland regalia and armed with eight-foot long pikes and Lochaber axes, the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games is one of Scotland’s oldest Highland Games.  Prior to their arrival on the games field at one o’clock, the men complete a six-mile march through the local area to visit a number of local properties where they toast the health of each property’s owners and the local community.  It is a spectacle and tradition that has endured for nearly 200 years.


Alongside a packed programme of 70 events covering Highland Dancing, piping, light and heavy athletics, a hill race and tug o’ war contests, a number of local pipe bands will perform throughout the afternoon to entertain crowds of up to 10,000 visitors from around the world.  A funfair, children’s races and over 70 trade stands also feature at Saturday’s event.


Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said: “There has been keen interest for places in The Daily Lonach Mile, which is great to see.  We’re excited to be breaking new ground with the introduction of this event.  If it helps to engage youngsters in Highland Games and encourage people of all ages to enjoy a more active lifestyle, then it will deliver very positive outcomes.


“The Daily Lonach Mile forms part of a packed programme of events that run throughout the day at Lonach.  Alongside the piping, dancing and light and heavy athletics we have a hill race, children’s races, a funfair and around 70 trade stands.”

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