Highland games are traditional games held in Scotland and neighboring countries to celebrate the Scottish and Celtic cultural heritage. The games are centered on Scottish heavy athletics including those related to Gaelic and Celtic culture.
Highland Games History
It has been reported that in the 11th century, King Malcolm III of Scotland was the first one to summon a foot race to choose a royal messenger. However, the modern highland games are an invention of the Victorian era.
Highland Games What They Do
Highland games predominantly revolve around sports competitions followed by entertainment. Some of the athletic competitions that have become a standard in all the highland games are:
- Caber Toss is almost symbolic of these games. In this a long, heavy wooden pole (caber) is to be hoisted by the participant and then thrown such that the smaller end held by him hits the ground first.
- Stone put is a variation of the short put where instead of a steel shot a stone one is used to throw to the maximum possible distance.
- Scottish hammer throw involves throwing a heavy metal ball attached to a shaft, after whirling it around the head.
- Weight throws involves spinning a heavy metal ball attached to a metal chain or link, and throwing it using one hand.
- Weight over the bar is a sport where a weight is thrown over a horizontal bar using one hand.
- Sheaf toss in which a bundle of straw with a specific weight is wrapped in a bag and this is tossed using a pitchfork over a horizontal bar.
- Maide Leisg where two men sit with their soles pressing together and hold a stick in between their toes and then pull it until it is raised.
In addition to all these, the games also provide a stage for Scottish music and dance such as: massed bands, bagpipe bands, fiddling, harp circles and Celtic bands. They also host competitive dance events. Food vendors offer an assortment of traditional Scottish gourmet.