Tossing and Wild Flings: The Highland Games

The Highland games are celebrated throughout mainland Scotland and its isles from May – September every year. The most famed of the Highland Games, attended by visitors throughout the world, is the Clanloddoch Games and Gathering in Strathdon which take place annually at the end of August.

Tossing and Wild Flings: The Highland Games

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(Original Image from VisitScotland

Festival Essentials

Where: Parks all over Scotland & its Northern Islands
When: 1 day events running from May – September
Happenings: Tug of war, highland dancing, tossing the caber, stone putting & strong man antics & athletics
Remember to bring: Your Highland outfit and all of your family

The Highland games are celebrated throughout mainland Scotland and its isles from May – September every year. The most famed of the Highland Games, attended by visitors throughout the world, is the Clanloddoch Games and Gathering in Strathdon which take place annually at the end of August.

The Highland Games were originally used as a test of skill and strength when recruiting clan warriors. The events range from putting the stones, to throwing the hammers, to tossing the caber. Putting the stones is similar to shotput in the Olympics, however the ball is bigger, and true to the name of the game, it is made from stone. The hammer is more or less like a real sledgehammer with a ball on the end and a wooden shaft. The caber is a tree trunk that’s been cut down from up around about 20 feet and weighs around 150 pounds. All in all, this isn’t a game for the meek and mild.

No one knows exactly when the games began, perhaps many hundreds of years ago as a gathering between Scottish Clans, but the games were revived in 1821 and received funding to make them the spectacle they are today. Piping and dancing competitions are also there for those more flighty than mighty, as well as more modern track and field athletics and fun events like the kids ‘mini tug of war’, traditional crafts and even sheep shearing competitions. Activities vary, but it usually costs a few pounds to get in and you’re guaranteed a very traditional and fun day out for all the family.

You don’t need to be a professional or dedicated athlete to participate in the games (although many of the winners are), anyone who is fit enough can take part. Celebrity participants includeRobin Williams and local boy Billy Connolly who invites the Lonarchs (local men) of Strathdon to his home for a wee dram of Whisky!

The Strathdon Festival begins at the crack of dawn with the men dressed in traditional highland dress of kilts, sporrans and tartan marching with battle axes through the glen and culminates in the main sports and dances.

More Information:

Crieff Highland Games
Although this is a site for the Crieff Highland games, their descriptions of the events and video clips of them in action is great to see.

Inverness Highland Games
Official site for the games with entry forms online to enter the games.

Lonach Highland Games & Gathering
Bellabeg Village,Aberdeenshire,AB36 8UG

Contact: Mr John Barber, Torrancroy, Strathdon, Aberdeenshire, AB36 8UG Tel: 01975 651233

Higland Games Calender
Listing of games throughout Scotland.

By Susi O’Neill

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