From the old to the new in Braemar

Outside their new offices, Braemar Royal Highland Society committee members with president David Geddes, front, second  left
Outside their new offices, Braemar Royal Highland Society committee members with president David Geddes, front, second left

A historic moment in the two-century-old history of Braemar Royal Highland Society was reached at the weekend when the organisation moved to new headquarters in the village.

In a ceremonial march led by their own standard, members paraded through the community from their old “Hut” at Castleton to their new office and meeting rooms.

They are housed within the Duke of Rothesay Highland Games Pavilion at the home of the world-renowned Gathering.

The ceremony was timed to coincide with the annual general meeting of the society, later held in the new pavilion which overlooks the entrance to the Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park.

The offices are a far cry from the society’s home for the past 60 years.

The base at Castleton was purchased from Invercauld Estate in 1959.

A former taxidermist’s premises, it had several uses before becoming a shop, including being the headquarters of the Braemar Home Guard during the war years, and then home to the Braemar Army Cadets and the Braemar Pipe Band.

Affectionately known as the ”Hut”, it housed an impressive collection of regalia and illustrations from past Gatherings, all of which are now housed in the new Highland games centre.

Visitors from around the world were also welcomed at the old office where they purchased or collected pre-booked tickets in the days leading up to the annual Gathering, traditionally held on the first Saturday of September.

Before buying the office in 1959, the society had no fixed abode but had, since 1832, been given the use of meeting rooms at Braemar Castle.

The £2 million Highland games centre was unveiled by the Queen in September last year and opened its doors to the public in March.

Visitors can experience a taste of the history and traditions of Highland games.

The centre tells the story of events, their social significance, the competitors and the part that the Royal family has played in their evolution.