The Braemar Gathering, a cherished annual event, takes place on the first Saturday of September at The Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park in Braemar. This historical gathering, with a legacy spanning nine centuries, has evolved into a prominent celebration of Scottish traditions, sports, and culture. This guide provides an in-depth overview of the Braemar Gathering, its history, significance, and its role as a charitable event.
A Rich Heritage
While various gatherings have occurred at Braemar for centuries, the current form of the Gathering has been in place since 1832. Throughout this period, large crowds have gathered each year to honor their Monarch as the Chieftain of the Braemar Gathering. The organizers, originally known as the Braemar Highland Society, have a history that traces back to 1815, earning Royal status in 1866 from Queen Victoria. Remarkably, this society is the oldest surviving Friendly Society in the UK.
Since 1848, the reigning Monarch and members of the Royal Family have been regular attendees of the Braemar Gathering. This royal patronage has contributed to the Gathering’s status as a prestigious event on the Scottish calendar. Notably, the foot races at the Gathering hold the distinction of being the world’s oldest, with a consistent presence since 1832.
In 2002, the Braemar Highland Society established the Braemar Royal Highland Charity (BRHC), a subsidiary responsible for all charitable activities associated with the Gathering. The Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion and Visitor Centre, inaugurated in 2019, house historical artifacts dating back to the inaugural games of 1832. The charitable objectives of the BRHC include fostering community development, promoting Scottish history and heritage, organizing the Braemar Gathering, and arranging sporting and recreational events for all.
Supporting the Cause
The BRHC relies on voluntary contributions from individuals, companies, and sponsors to sustain its charitable initiatives, which encompass the organization of the annual Braemar Gathering. The financial challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and the cancellations of the 2020 and 2021 Gatherings have underscored the importance of community support. Individuals interested in making a difference in Scottish culture and heritage are encouraged to contribute to the BRHC’s mission.
The Braemar Gathering stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Scottish culture and heritage. Rooted in tradition and embraced by the Royal Family, this annual event encapsulates the spirit of Scotland. Through the efforts of the Braemar Royal Highland Charity, the Gathering not only upholds its historical significance but also strives to promote community development and cultural preservation. Your support contributes to the continuity of this cherished celebration and its charitable endeavors.