The origins of Highland Games in Scotland can be traced back many hundreds of years. Clan Chiefs used the Games to recruit staff. Winners of races made excellent couriers, whilst winners of strength events made fine bodyguards and soldiers.
Rival Clan Chiefs often used to match their champions against each other at important Highland Gatherings and great status was placed on winning and losing.
Dancers and pipers also became part of the household staff of Clan Chiefs, not merely for their entertainment value but also for the esteem and glory which their skills and success inevitably reflected on their masters.
King Malcolm is thought to have begun the Royal association with the Highland Games at Braemar during the 11th Century. It was Queen Victoria, who dearly loved Scotland, who later made modern Highland Games so universally popular from the 19th Century onwards.
Although Games were held on Bute in earlier times, their exact history is unclear. The modern Games, as we know them, began in 1947 under the auspices of Bute Shinty and the Amateur Athletic Sports’ Club.
The Founder Secretary, Tom B McMillan, served as Honorary Secretary from 1947 till 1989. He remained active on the Organising Committee as our Vice Chieftain until his sad death during 1993. In 1989 Gordon Sutherland was appointed Honorary Secretary until he stepped down at the AGM in June 2008. At the same AGM David Anderson was unanimously appointed Honorary Secretary continuing in that role until Steve Holliday ‘took up the gauntlet’ at the AGM in 2015 to become only the fourth holder of that post in 68 years!
These Games have gradually grown in status and strength to their present position as one of the major events on the Highland Games’ calendar.
All competitions at the Bute Highland Games are run in accordance with Amateur Rules and Regulations. The preparatory and organisational work is all carried out by volunteers.