The Famous Alva GamesRSS feed

Posted: Sunday 23 July, 2006

by Rosemary at 9:50am in Anything goes 2 comments Comments closed

The second Saturday in July is the day of the famous Alva Games. 2006 was the 150th anniversary of the event, so Dan and I went along for the afternoon. Dan had never been to a highland games before and I hadn't been to Alva Games for about thirty years. It was smaller than I recall, but enjoyable nevertheless.

There are a number of foot races, mostly handicaps. The Open 90m is the highlight with £400 going to the winner.

Unusually for a highland games, Alva hosts cycling events. Dan was surprised by this and was even more surprised to see racing bikes being used on a grass oval track. So we have a group of cyclists gong flat out round a grass oval, with highland dancing and heavy events taking place in the middle of the oval. There are six races, four open cycling competitions from 800m to 3200m, organised on a handicap basis, and two youth events at 800m and 1600m.

There are seven heavy events, including the shot putt, the hammer and, of course, tossing the caber.

The highlight of the Games is the hill race - the British Championship Hill Race, up and down Torry. The record time for the event is 18 minutes 31 seconds, set in 1981 by Kenny Stuart. Believe me, they come down and awful lot faster than they go up. There are under-12, under-14 and under-17 races before the big event - these go part way up the hill. The souvenir programme has lots of interesting facts - in 1987, Royal Marine John McNulty completed the Hill Race in full combat gear and 30lb pack in 35 minutes and 30 seconds.

When I was a child, we used to go to the Games every year. The highlight for me was always the pony trot, which was a handicap over one mile and the last race on the card. For health and safety reasons (aarggh), the pony trot was last held in 1989.

The Games seems, like much of Clackmannanshire, to be on the brink of a resurgence. Local businesses are supporting the games, including some big names like Tesco and Clydesdale Bank, which must be good.

Weather permitting, we'll be going again next year. If you'd like to know more about the Famous Alva Games, see www.alvagames.co.uk

Now, what's Dan doing with that big tree trunk...



Monday 24 July, 2006 at 2:57pm

I wish I'd made it to the Alva games. We saw signs for it the day before it was on and just couldn't make it really. Next year though!


Saturday 29 July, 2006 at 7:30am

Hi, Rosemary and Dan. My name is Tim, and my wife is Sara. We do our gardening on Gabriola Island off the coast of British Columbia in Canada. Sara’s from New Zealand, but her grandparents originated from Scotland.

I’m afraid the closest we have to the Alva Games is the local fair. But Vancouver and Whistler will host the 2010 Winter Olympics, so we’re kind of proud of that!

Our heatwave just broke. Today is the first cool day we’ve had in some time. How is it your way? We heard that Britain was suffering from the heat, as well. This global warming trend is alarming, to say the least. Although, in the middle of winter, when Winnipeg gets –40 Celcius temperatures, I’m sure some Canadians do wish for more warming.

Please visit our blogsite to see the photos of Sara’s beautiful flowers. She’s in charge of the blooms, while I try to grow the veggies and the salad. Our sweet peas are especially sweet this year, crunchy and crispy, fresh off the plant. Our Scarlet Runner Beans have filled up the entire bamboo structure and are in flower at the moment.

Vancouver has a huge fireworks competition this time of year, so one night we go by ferry and take our two children, June (10) and Jim (8). Tomorrow night it’s China’s turn to show off their dazzling pyrotechnics, so we’ll go over early and stay with friends. The other countries competing this year are Mexico, the Czech Republic, and Italy.

When I want to get on Sara’s good side, I tell her that her flowers are just as dazzling as the fireworks. I like to take close-up pictures of each bloom, and they are magnificent, in every color of the rainbow. This year her Calendula is especially beautiful, as are her Dark Blue/White Bee Delphinium (just opened), her Double Purple Cone Flower, her Roses of different varieties (such as hybrid Tea Roses, “Brandy” and “Blue Girl”), and her Coreopsis rosea “American Dream.”

When we lived in the city, we did container gardening. We moved to this island after 9/11, hoping for a peaceful place to raise our kids. At first, we just used compost and manure to fertilize our plants. Then a friend told us about the 100% organic plant food made by a Canadian company called Advanced Nutrients.

Now we use their products exclusively. You wouldn’t believe the difference! Their Iguana Juice Grow and Bloom provide all the macro nutrients and many of the micro nutrients needed by both our flowers and our vegetables. We don’t grow fruit or raise livestock. But we’re happy with our single acre—it’s big enough to have several flowerbeds and a vegetable patch!

We enjoyed reading your blog and wish you all the best with your future endeavors. We used to travel before the kids were born, but now our budget goes on buying Game Boys, MP3 players, faster and faster laptop computers, DVD’s, and lots of books for children.

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