Origins and History
Highland Games go back into the distant parts of Celtic history for their origin. The earliest recorded highland games would appear to be in the reign of Malcolm Canmore, King of Scotland nearly 1000 years ago.
He decreed that young men should gather to hold contests of strength, speed and endurance so that he could enroll the best of them in royal service.
It seems that a hill race was a central event as has always been the case with the Creag Dhubh Hill race at Newtonmore Highland Games.
If Adam Hart-Davis did a programme on Local Heroes of Newtonmore, then Alistair Sellar, Sam MacRae and Duncan Ross would undoubtedly fit the bill.
It is doubtful if they had any inkling that they were setting in motion the largest and main attraction of the small village of Newtonmore’s main annual calendar.
As a welcome home to the village’s returning servicemen after six years of war they organised the first Highland Games in October 1945, in a small arena beside the seventeenth hole of the Newtonmore golf course.
The next year a meeting was held in Newtonmore village hall on Monday 22nd April 1946 and the following committee was formed:
President: Lt. Col. M.B.H. Ritchie of Craigdhu, DSO.
Chairman: Peter Curley
Vice Chairman: Sam MacRae
Hon. Secretary: Donald S. Sinclair
Hon. Treasurer: J.B.Richardson
In 1947 the first hill race was run over the Spey and Clan Macpherson made their first March to the Games and held their first Clan Gathering, their Association having also been formed the previous year.
In 1950 the Games moved to their present venue on The Eilan.
In 1965 the Games date was fixed as the first Saturday in August by the North of Scotland Amateur Athletic Association, the date on which they are still held today.