Saturday, 28 November 2015

Tickets For Historic Lonach Ball On Sale

Lonach Highland and Friendly Society secretary Jennifer Stewart, centre, with Darja Slebinger, left, and Nadja Medja, right

A true display of Scottish hospitality was shown to a pair of international visitors attending this year’s Lonach Highland Gathering and Games in Aberdeenshire.


Held annually on the fourth Saturday in August, the traditional event attracts up to 10,000 visitors, including many from overseas.  They are drawn to the event by its stunning setting and the unique march of the Lonach Highlanders.  It was precisely this that inspired two Slovenian ladies to travel over 1,000 miles across Europe from their homes in Ljubljana to attend this year’s gathering.


However, on reaching Aberdeen the duo, Darja Slebinger and Nadja Medja, discovered that their road to Lonach might not be as smooth as they had hoped.


The Lonach Highland Gathering and Games takes place in the village of Bellabeg, in the heart of rural Aberdeenshire, and its location means getting there requires a car or being part of an organised coach party.


With neither being an option for the ladies, Aberdeen’s hospitality sector came to the rescue after Jennifer Stewart of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society put out a call for assistance.  The pair were staying at the Aberdeen Douglas Hotel and its sales manager Lesley Mitchell managed to secure a chauffeur for them.


Stepping into the breach and getting the ladies to Lonach was Aberdeen Taxis.  Managing director of the local taxi firm, Chris Douglas, took the duo on the 90-mile round trip to Bellabeg for free and also gave them a mini guided tour through parts of Aberdeenshire.


Speaking from Ljubljana, Darja said: “We had a fantastic trip to Scotland.  Everyone was so welcoming.  We are very thankful to Jennifer for making sure we could get to the Lonach Gathering with the help of Lesley and Chris.  It was an incredible spectacle and the sight and sound of the Lonach Highlanders and the pipe bands will stay with us for a long time.”


Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, which organises the gathering, said: “Lonach attracts visitors from across the world, drawn by the spectacle of the march of the Lonach Highlanders.  Darja and Nadja had never been to Aberdeenshire before, but had heard and read about the gathering and viewed some pictures online.


“For two ladies from Slovenia, with no connection to Lonach, to travel to Aberdeen for the weekend especially to attend the gathering is very special.  It just goes to show the pull that Scotland’s heritage has.


“Darja and Nadja were really excited to be coming to the games, but had it not been for the Douglas Hotel and Aberdeen Taxis their trip to the north-east could have been in vein.  I can’t thank Lesley at the Douglas Hotel and Chris at Aberdeen Taxis enough for going the extra mile for these international visitors.  It just goes to show what friendly and helpful staff Aberdeen’s hospitality sector has.”

Follow the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.