Programme of Events

In 2024 the Games are to be held at Monaltrie Park Ballater on Thursday 8th August. Events will commence approximately as in the programme of events.

No fees are required for the events as this is covered by the admission ticket payment. Competitors enter at the Secretary’s Tent 30 minutes before each event. Several events have classifications for younger competitors.

The Chieftain of the Games and his party traditionally arrive around 2.30pm and are attended by a Regimental Guard of Honour.

At certain intervals throughout the day, the Pipe Bands parade around the perimeter track and this is always a great spectacle.

It is stressed that, in the interest of public safety, no unauthorised person will be permitted entry onto the track or onto the competition area itself at any time during the Games.

Open Piping Competitions

Those pipers wishing to compete in the solo piping competitions on Games Day are requested to enter in advance by completing a Competition Entry Form and forwarding it to our Piping Convenor, whose contact details are on the Form.

Thank you very much in anticipation of your cooperation. We look forward to welcoming you to this year's Ballater Highland Games.

The Hill Race

Entry for the Hill Race is on Games Day, those proposing to participate should be aware of the Hill Race Briefing, which will be as follows:


You are all competing in this event with the full knowledge and understanding that you are doing so entirely at your own risk.

All runners should display their race numbers as clearly as possible to aid identification for both the race commentary and at the finish line.

The race route is twice anti – clockwise round the Games arena, out of the Games Park, following Provost Craig road until it joins the A93 (Ballater – Braemar), then turning left to cross over the railway bridge and down the main street through the village centre. The route through the village is not open to deviation.

You then cross the bridge over the River Dee and follow the clearly marked recommended route to the summit of the hill. You then run around the cairn (receiving a proof stamp from the race official) before descending the same route down the hill, through the village and into the Games Park, completing one lap anti - clockwise of the arena and finishing in front of the Chieftain’s tent.

The recommended route is directly up the middle of the hill following a well-worn path. The path varies in underfoot conditions and difficulty. .

The path narrows in several places and may result in runners having to leave the path to overtake slower runners. Slower runners still making their way to the summit should give way and move aside to faster runners making their descent.

Any runner who chooses to retire early from the race must report to a member of the field team immediately upon their return to the Games Park.


Hill Race - Bonuses

A reminder that there is a bonus for anyone setting a new record for the Race. We believe our Hill Race record has existed longer than any other in Scotland!

The existing record is 16 minutes 59 seconds, set in 1978. The bonus will be £10 for every year that the existing record has stood, meaning that if the winner of the Hill Race in 2023 sets a new record, they will receive a fabulous bonus of £450!

If no new record is set this year, £10 will be added to the bonus each year until a new record is set, up to a maximum bonus of £500. Thereafter, that bonus will remain available until there is a new record.

There will also be a £50 bonus for any lady breaking the existing record in the ladies' category, presently 20 minutes 38 seconds.  If the record is not broken this year, this bonus will be available each year thereafter until it is.

Local Events

The Games Committee feel it necessary to clarify who is entitled to compete for local prizes at Ballater Highland Games, bearing in mind that our local competitions have always been intended to encourage local people to participate in the Games.

For many years, our rules stated that a competitor for a local prize must be:

(a) a native of any of the parishes of Crathie, Glenmuick (which includes Ballater), Tullich and Glengairn, Logie Coldstone or Tarland; or
(b) a resident for at least a year in any of the above parishes; or
(c) eligible for local events at any of the Kindred Gatherings (i.e. Aboyne, Lonach or Braemar Games) in the current competing year.

A few years ago, Aboyne Games enlarged its geographic eligibility requirements for their local events, which also had a significant effect on the Ballater Games due to (c) above. As we had no desire to similarly enlarge our own geographic eligibility requirement, a rule change became necessary, but it has taken some time to make the change which appeared in the 2017 Rules.

The relevant rule above was changed in 2017 to:

"eligible for local events at the Aboyne, Lonach or Braemar Games in the current competing year, providing the competitor is residing that year within ten miles of the respective Games Field gate".

The map below shows that 10 mile radius from each of the other Games.
The Games Committee has of course the power to make alterations to the Rules as they find necessary.


We confirm that the eligibility change will continue to be effective from now on. We appreciate that some who have in recent years competed in local events will no longer be eligible for such events, but we hope to welcome them to compete in our open events. If any more information is required, please email: or

We trust this clarification will ensure there is no requirement for any debate about eligibility on Games Day, when cooperation from everyone would be much appreciated.

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