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March of the mannies

26th September 2014

Author: Brian Wood

Nine o’ clock on Saturday morning and we were gathered outside the Invercauld Arms Hotel in Braemar waiting for the Ballater and District Pipe Band to fall in and lead us through the village to the start of another Braemar Gathering. The so-called “March of the Mannies” has now become a popular tradition when the Braemar Games officials, and yes, we’re all men, walk to the Games Park carrying the flag of the Braemar Royal Highland Society.

Traditions are good. They provide us with points of reference, places of stability in our turbulent and ever-changing lives. When I was more gainfully employed we were regularly reminded that change was the only constant and that only those who managed and coped with change best would survive and flourish.

This week we’ve seen more change in the National Park with the publication of the Scottish Government Reporters’ response and recommendations to our proposed new Local Development Plan (LDP). The LDP is a critically important document. It will determine the location, nature and extent of development across the Cairngorms for the next few years. It is the culmination of many months of research, planning and consultation and it should provide adequate protection for areas of sensitivity and more certainty for developers who wish to invest in the Park. The report extends to some 430 pages so it will take some time for our officers to digest it fully and determine what changes need to be made to the LDP before it is finally put into effect. The Scottish Government’s Directorate of Planning and Environmental Appeals (DPEA) will make the full report available on their website. It can be accessed at

But what’s this? Just as the Pipe Band falls in and the March of the Mannies starts I see in the rank behind me a glamorous young lady swathed in tartan. When I inquire why she’s there she tells me that she has been brought in to spend the day meeting and greeting the Games’ sponsors and potential sponsors. Now there’s a clever change.

I suppose as a result we can expect another change. We’ll now start the Braemar Gathering with the March of the Mannies and the Wifie!