Chieftain

In days gone by the role of the Chieftain was to care for the welfare of the Clan in times of war and of peace. Indeed the Chieftain was required in every way to act as the head of a family for in fact the word “Clan” in Gaelic actually means “children”. Fast forward to the present day and every Highland Games has its Chieftain whose job it is to be the ceremonial face of the whole occasion. The Chieftain must be on hand to welcome important guests and to present the prizes to those who have been successful in the competitions. Most importantly, the Chieftain must preside over the opening and closing ceremonies and as such will be seen at the head of the Grand Parade of Pipes and Drums as it proceeds around the field to mark the official opening of the Games. Likewise at the end of the day as the Games flag is lowered and the pipes play to mark the end of another successful day, the Chieftain’s presence is required.

Given the importance of the role, it is a great honour to be chosen by a community to be Chieftain of the Highland Games.

Our Chieftain today, for the second year, is William Owen. William moved to the Glen in 1972 when his late father was appointed as our local policeman. From the family home in Balmacaan Road right beside the Games field, William (or Willie as he is universally known in the village) has attended almost every Games Day. Since the age of 14, being a big lad, he has been involved in helping with the task of setting up the park for our big occasion.

Persuaded to join the Games Committee at the age of 22 by our then Secretary Robert Macdonald, Willie soon found his niche, along with Ronnie Ross and the late Tom MacDiarmid, in helping to organise the Heavy events. As a younger man he also regularly competed in the local Heavy competitions.

Since then Willie has been, with the exception of a single year when illness prevented him, a familiar figure on our Games field – and we are delighted once again to welcome him on to Blairbeg as our Chieftain.