Highland Homecoming, Inverness 2014

From 12th September to 18th October 2014 – as part of the Homecoming Scotland celebrations – Inverness will play host to a 6 week festival called Highland Homecoming.

The opening weekend will see the Highland Clans Gathering in Inverness for an event called The Highland Meeting which it is hoped to make an annual event. The Highland Meeting will see the newly formed Association of Highland Clans get together to talk about their plans for 2015 and to participate in a torchlight procession on Friday 12th September through the streets of Inverness to Eden Court Theatre where it is hoped to have a Clan Ceilidh organised by the Blas Festival. The Association of Highland Clans made their debut at the Inverness Highland Games earlier this summer and their exhibition was enjoyed by all. It is intended to have a multi-clan exhibition in Inverness every July at the Games and to have the clans visiting Inverness every April (for the Culloden Memorial Service) and every September for The Highland Meeting on the 2nd weekend of September. The second Sunday in September is significant in Inverness because that is when The Kirking of the Council takes place.

The Kirking of the Council is a tradition which happens in many Scottish Towns and Cities. In Inverness the Kirking’s origins can be traced back some 400 years. Kirking Day is an important date in the life of the city and is one of the highlights of the year, marking the close of the summer festival season. The day begins with a colourful parade from the Town House which includes Pipe Bands, uniformed youth organisations, and representatives of the various aspects of life in the Highland Capital, including the University of the Highlands and Islands and schools from across the city.

Joining the Clans for the Friday Night Torchlight Procession and the Kirking Parade will be participants in the Masters World Championships organised by Scottish Masters International Athletics and their families. The MWC in 2014 is going to be the biggest (in terms of participants) Highland Games in history. Just how big can be seen when we discover that at the moment 190 Heavies from 13 Countries have signed up to compete and no further entries are being accepted much to the dismay of almost 50 heavies on the waiting list.

The Masters is the Over 40’s World Championships and Heavies heading for Inverness are divided by age and in some classes weight. The event is contested by men and women and the festivities which surround this event are the stuff of legend. The event in 2014 is going to be supported by the biggest programme of social activities the MWC has ever seen which will feature the Highland Homecoming concert in the 800 seater Eden Court Theatre on Saturday evening which will bring the famous BLAS Festival to a conclusion. Tickets for the Clan Ceilidh and the Highland Homecoming Concert will be on sale shortly.

The MWC2014 will be staged in Northern Meeting Park as part of the celebrations to mark the 150th Anniversary of the opening in 1864 of the world’s oldest Highland Games stadium.

The Highland Homecoming Festival will also feature Shinty’s most famous game – the Camanachd Cup Final and the Scotland v Ireland Shinty / Hurling International; together with the Loch Ness Marathon and will end with the biggest event in the Gaelic World – the Royal National MOD.