History of Cupar Highland Games as revived from 1979

Cupar Highland Games were started in 1979 by David Lang (past Scottish Marathon Runner) and David Martin of Cupar Round table. In the first year they, together with John Hendry organised the first meeting, ably assisted by members of Cupar Round Table.

It was decided from the start that Cupar Games be Amateur, which placed us in a popular minority amongst other Highland Games.

Over the years the organisation has improved and we are now a well recognised Highland Games as well as an official SAF & SGA meeting. During 1986 the Cupar Highland Games were elected as affiliated members of the SAAA (now SAF), joined the Fife Games Association in 1995 and the Scottish Games Association in 1996.

The task of organising the Games has greatly increased over the years and in 1985 Cupar Round Table and Cupar Rotary Club joined forces to organise the Games. He Games Committee consisted of 5 members from each club plus the Games Secretary, and duties were shared between members of both clubs together with numerous volunteers and businesses giving their help in many ways.

From the start, the late Council Park-keeper, Bert Patrick, had been deeply involved in preparing the Duffus Park and laying out the required 300 metre – 4 lane track together with facilities for other events and erecting fencing etc. Both Clubs are indebted to Bert for his invaluable assistance and the Cupar Highland Games flag is hoisted annually in Bert's Memory.

We must, of course, thank the local Council and the Clubs who use the Duffus Park for allowing and assisting us with the Games.

Over the years we have been privileged to host the Scottish Tug-of-War Championship on a number of occasions and in other years the East of Scotland Championship. We also hosted the Scottish Championship for the traditional Heavy Events in 1985 and 1988.

Our full athletic meeting has included such athletes as Linsey McDonald, Liz McColgan, Yvonne Murray, George Patience, Jimmy Johnstone, Terry Mitchell Pat Rollo, Peter McColgan, Trudi Thomson and several overseas athletes who were very keen to take part.

The 1995 Games saw the introduction of road and arena Cycle Races and in 2001 the introduction of a Pipe Band Contest.

A history of ground records is kept by the Committee and irregularly have to be updated as we see improvements in events.


Cupar Highland Games now have 38 trophies donated by individuals and businesses in the area. From the old Cupar Games which were last held in the Haugh Park in 1965, we have the Howie Dewar Memorial Trophy which was presented by Fraser Dewar for Solo Piping. Other trophies include the Henderson Stewart M.P. Highland Games Dancing Trophy donated in 1993 by Margot Wells (Wilkie) and Cycling Medals donated by Sandy Herd.

Sponsorship of the Games was started in 1979 by the Bradford & Bingley Building society of £500 and since then businesses and individuals donate to the Games and we now receive approximately £1500 total Sponsorship.

From the very raw beginnings Cupar Games now own the total equipment required from Cabers to Fence Posts, a new Dancing Platform was made by R M Law of Cuparmuir in 1987 and the Obstacle Course introduced in 1991.

The Games are now an ‘Open’ event under Scottish Games Association rules and are included in the F.H.G.A. circuits.

Special thanks for long service must go to Bill Donaldson, Brian Bayne, Ronnie Law, Jack Weir, Gavin Reekie and John Hendry whose work made the Games such a success. Further mention must also be made in thanks to the numerous Officials, Judges, Referees etc who give of their time and talent to ensure the continued success of our meeting.

Since 1979 the Games have donated out of their profits approximately £35,000 to different charities, needy organisations and to assist with the costs of athletes attending the Commonwealth Games.

Cupar Highland Games has indeed grown in stature and reputation over the years and this has led to the following main benefits:-

  1. Finance made available from profits which has been wisely spent by Round Table and the Rotary Club.
  2. Provision of an Athletic Meeting and Highland Games events for the benefit of all competitors of an amateur status.
  3. Both Service Clubs by their combined efforts producing an event in the town for the sake of the community and for the town of Cupar.
  4. Awarding of Armorial Bearings by Lord Lyon in 1990. (Thanks are due to Gavin Reekie OBE, Lord Cochrane, Charles Burnett – Ross Herald of Arms, Earl of Dundee and Bruce Rollo).
  5. Hosting Official Scottish National Championships for Tug-of-War and Heavy Events.