INVERKEITHING Highland Games was cancelled for the first time since the event was resurrected again in 1972.

The race track at Ballast Bank was deemed too dangerous for competition by the committee after continuous heavy rainfall swamped West Fife.

Thousands of spectators were expected to visit the games, along with Olympic cycling champ Katie Archibald, but the deluge on Friday led to the event being called off.

Hank John, a member of the games committee, said: “We have been complaining to Fife Council for years about drainage issues at the park. The committee was absolutely gutted that they had to cancel it.

“Ironically the weather on Saturday was great but the track was just so bad. Council workers and volunteers were working hard to restore the track but it was just too dangerous.

“However, we are going to have the best games yet next year and we are hoping to make it second to none.”

Fife Council have been criticised for not replacing the race track that caused the problems but they said the situation was out of their control.

Jim Stenhouse, parks, streets and open spaces area officer for south west Fife, said: “We’ve been working with the Inverkeithing Highland Games committee to make sure the park was suitable and ready for the games.

“We were satisfied that there was no issue with drainage despite the heavy rain. Unfortunately, however, the track was damaged due to circumstances outwith our control. Our team worked hard to try and repair the track but this wasn’t possible in time for the games.”

The disappointment was summed up by Press reader David Taylor, who wrote on our website: “I would just like to say that it is a travesty that Inverkeithing Highland Games are cancelled due to the poor state of the track.

“I think the councillors need to get together to sort out some funding to replace the track. In all my years of going to the games – 40-plus – they have never been cancelled. This will not be the first year the games will be cancelled because we all know what the Scottish weather is like.”

On a positive note, the Highland dancers that travelled from all over the world to take part in the games were delighted that their event could go ahead in the Inverkeithing Civic Centre.

The venue was a hive of activity as dancers from the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and across Scotland showed what they could do.

The winners were: Primary section - Annelise Caines; Beginners sections - Mhairi McGirr, Connie Urquhart, Hannah Keddie, Adelle Keddie, Ava McEvoy, Sophie Hunt, Hope Francis, Kayla Duncan, Freya McBryne, Niamh Kirk, Rachel Paul; Novice Section - Anne Cui, Yishi Tan, Erin Bruce, Louise Martin; Intermediate Section - Lydia Spriggs, Kara Smith; Premier Section - Edith Cui, Emily McLauchlan.