The Games take place at Monaltrie Park, Ballater which is well signposted from all approaches to the town.

The event is always held on the second Thursday in August. Gates open at 10.00 a.m., and competitions commence at 11.00 a.m., continuing until approximately 5.00 p.m.

Car parking is available adjacent to the park and can accommodate large vehicles, if necessary. To ease administration, touring buses should make prior arrangements with the Secretary of the Games. Payment beforehand is not necessary however, as the admission charge is collected by the gatekeepers at the entry point.

Competitors should note that they will be charged for admission to the Games, but they are then free to compete in all their events, as there are no event entry fees payable.


Adults - £10.00
Children - £3.00

Admission tickets can be purchased online here by clicking the Ticketsource image.

Each year seats are provided on the grass open terrace exclusively for Patrons of the Games in the Patrons' Enclosure.  A limited number of seats on the open terrace between the Pavilion and the Patrons' Enclosure will also be available in 2020 to the general public on Games Day, with access through the Patrons arch.

A payment of £5 guarantees a seat for the day, but without any specific seat allocation. Therefore, after leaving a seat to access other areas of the Games Field, you are guaranteed a seat on your return, but not necessarily the same seat.

These tickets can also be purchased jointly with admission tickets online here via the Ticketsource image.

Please note that these tickets do not allow access to the Patrons Enclosure or the Hospitality Tent.

To complete the day, Beat Retreat by the Pipe Bands is planned for 7pm on the Church Green in Ballater.

Frequently Asked Questions


Q. What is the postcode for Monaltrie Park?
A. AB35 5RG

Q. Is there wheelchair access?
A. The ground is a flat public park, with an area set aside for disabled parking, but there are no special provisions for wheelchairs.

Q. Are dogs allowed?
A. Yes - if they are well-behaved and on a short lead, but they are not allowed in the Patrons Hospitality Tent.

Q. Can entry tickets for Ballater Games be pre-booked?
A. Yes – via this website or our Facebook page from a date to be announced. You can also pay on the day at the entry gates.

Q. Can competitors pre-enter?
A. Yes, for some events (see the Events page) - other competitors enter on the day – all report to the Secretary’s Tent no later than 30 minutes before each eventss.

Q. Are there entry fees for the competitions?
A. No - all competitors pay for entry to the Games, and can then enter any competition without additional cost.

Q. When do the Games start?
A. Gates open at 10am, competitions start at 11am.

Highland Dancing

Q. Are there areas set aside for dancers' changing tents?
A. There is a limited area for tents. We would hope that the pavilion would also be available.

Q. Are the dances Open or Premier at Ballater?
A. All dances at Ballater are Open/Premier, they are one and the same thing.

Q. Are there dances for pre-Open / pre-Premier at Ballater?
A. No.

Q. Are Dance Cards required?
A. No.

Q. What are the dances, and their timings?
A. See the programme of events on this website.

Q. Which classes of dancers are allowed?
A. There is only one class – see age groups in the schedule.

Q. Is it a SOBHD competition?
A. We have SOHDA judges.


Q. How many tunes are required for each piping competition?
A. Three - although two may be sufficient in the case of young pipers.

Q. Is there a chanter competition?
A. No.

Q. What are the competitions, and their timings?
A. See the programme of events on this website.

Hill Race

Q. What is the distance of the Hill Race?
A. Between 2.5 and 3 miles, with 600 feet elevation.

Accommodation in Ballater

For all types of accommodation available in Ballater, visit:-

For Ballater Caravan Park information, visit:-

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