SUMMER just wouldn’t be summer without the Highland Games.
Each year Highland Games season hits Scotland from May until September, with
scores of Games taking place in towns and cities up and down the country.
Did you know that each year there are around 100 games taking place in Scotland over the five-month period?
The world’s biggest is Cowal Highland Games in Dunoon and the most famous is the Braemar Gathering – which the reigning monarch and members of the Royal Family have attended since 1848.
Historically, the first Highland Games type event took place during the reign of King Malcolm III (1057-1093), so it’s been a part of Scottish culture for centuries.
The first official Highland Games were staged in the 14th century in Ceres, Fife in 1314 (the same year as the Battle of Bannockburn).
Eight hundred years on, they are held throughout the world, as nations all over the globe celebrate Scottishness.
You will no doubt have been to a Highland Games in Scotland before, but if you haven’t, then you are missing out in a fun-packed day out with live entertainment and plenty to see and do.
Whatever Games you are attending this year, you are guaranteed a mix of piping and drumming, Heavy events, Highland Dancing competitions and plenty of stalls selling food, drink and gifts.
Of course, it is also a chance for competitors to test their brute strength, as they participate in events such as tug o’ war, hammer throwing and tossing the caber – which is nearly six metres long and weighs almost 80kg!
During King Malcolm III’s reign these strong men events were a way of selecting the most able men for the clan chieftain’s household.
Less traditional events have since been introduced to the Highland Games programme, including herding dog trials and welly flinging competitions!
If you are thinking about going along to a Highland Games this summer, see the map above for some ideas.