ORGANISERS of Inverkeithing Highland Games say they are ready to bounce back from last year’s washout and make Saturday’s event bigger and better than ever.

It’s one of the highlights of the West Fife calendar and those behind the historic event – which was first mentioned in burgh records of 1652 – are hoping crowds of up to 5,000 will descend on the town.

The Games, which this year will host three races in the Scottish Cycling Championships, fell victim to the weather last year when continuous heavy rainfall caused it to be cancelled less than 24 hours before it had been due to start.

Although the Highland dancing competition, which will once more be a prominent feature this year, did go ahead, the track at Ballast Bank was deemed too dangerous for competition by the organising committee.

But, with West Fife continuing to bask in the warm and sunny weather that has been a feature of the summer so far, the prospects are looking much brighter for the 2018 edition.

Hank John, a member of the Games committee, said: “Last year we had to cancel but we have relaid the track with new red blaes – around 200 tonnes – and we’re thought to have the finest cycle track of any Highland Games.

“We’ve got new cycle races to add to the itinerary, the 800 metre Scottish Youth Cycling Championship and the 4,800m Scottish Cycling Championship, and we already have the 6,400m race.

“Among the pipe bands we have coming are the Sultan of Oman, who were here three years ago, and we’ve got the Highland dancing competition which attracts people from around the world and is quite a spectacle.

“We normally get well over 200 competitors and we still had the event last year, even when the Games were rained off. Provisions have been made even if there is inclement weather.

“God willing the weather will hold. We always get quite a good crowd, usually 4,000 plus on a good day, but we always like to build on that and market the Games as a day out for all the family.

“Lets see if we can top 5,000.”

The day will begin with a parade from the Civic Centre through Inverkeithing, complete with pipe bands, at 11.30am before the official opening of the Games takes place at 12.30pm by the Chieftain.

Assuming that role once more will be Dalgety Bay woman Cath Chorley who, last year, was chosen to be the Games’ first Lady Chieftain since 1974 but saw her input cut short because of its cancellation.

The track and field events will get underway as soon as the Games are declared open, beginning with shot put and 90m handicap races, and will include traditional heavyweight favourites like the hammer throw, tossing the caber and the 60m Hei’land man’s dash.

No less than 18 events will be held on the track throughout the day, including the youth De’il Tak the Hindmost cycle relay, while no Highland Games would be complete without a tug-of-war.

The pipe band and Highland dancing competitions will both begin at 1pm, while the ever-popular children’s Highland Games will also feature.

The crowds can take advantage of a range of community, craft and food stalls throughout the day.

At 5pm, the Games will close with the salute to the chieftain by the pipe bands, which will be followed by a procession back to the High Street.

Tickets, which are available on the day, cost £7 per person, £4 for a child / concession, or £18 for a family of two adults and two children.