With thanks to Ian McLaren, PR account manager, Innes Associates.
The organisers of the annual Lonach Highland Gathering and Games are asking for the help of the north-east public to unearth the story behind a mysterious photograph.
Earlier this year, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society asked for people to send in copies of old photographs of the event for a display to mark the 175th Lonach Highland Gathering.
Amongst a bundle of old slides were a number taken in Strathdon in the 1960s and 70s, which illustrate how the community has changed.
One image stood out due to its intriguing subject. It features a small helicopter which appears to have landed on the A944, the main road through the village of Bellabeg where the gathering is held, and looks like it is being jumped started by a car.
The car is believed to be a Rover 2000 P6 Series 1, which was produced between 1963 and 1970 and trailing from its open bonnet are what look like jump leads. From the registration mark on its tail, the helicopter has been identified as a 1966 Bell 47G-5, which was owned by a Humberside company involved in aerial spraying.
In a second slide the car is gone and helicopter’s rotors are turning and it looks set for take-off.
The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is now asking for anyone who can shed light on the picture to get in touch with them.
Jennifer Stewart, secretary and chief executive of the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, said:
“We had a great response to our appeal for old pictures, which turned up some fantastic images. Some were more curious than others and left us scratching our heads and asking a number of questions. The visitor response to the display at this year’s gathering provided information about some of those pictures.
“The picture in question was in a box of slides marked Strathdon and Lonach that was donated to us. The person who took the slides died a few years ago and their family had never seen the slides before so couldn’t shed any light on the image. It had us stumped.
“Did a car really jump start a helicopter on the main road in Bellabeg? It’s all very peculiar, but there must be an intriguing story behind it. These types of unusual events play an important part in the history of our local communities.
“Why did a helicopter apparently land on the main road in Bellabeg? Was it really jump started by a car? Does anyone remember it happening, if so when was it? Somebody is bound to be able to fill in all the details, and it would be great to hear from them.”
Held annually on the fourth Saturday in August, the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games is one of the oldest and most iconic traditional events in north-east Scotland. Alongside a full programme of traditional highland events, the event features the unique march of the Lonach Highlanders, who are believed to be the largest body of non-military men to carry ceremonial weapons in Britain.
In 2017, the Lonach Highland Gathering and Games will take place on Saturday, 26 August.
Established in 1823, by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie, the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society is a charitable organisation based in Strathdon, Aberdeenshire. The society organises the annual Lonach Gathering at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon, which is held on the fourth Saturday of August. The main attraction at the gathering is the march of the Lonach Highlanders, a unique body of non-military men.
Further information on the Lonach Highland and Friendly Society, the Lonach Highlanders and the annual Lonach Highland Gathering can be found at www.lonach.org.
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