The Highland Games
You can enjoy the games for yourself from May right through to September across a variety of locations in Scotland. In fact, there are over 80 events all held in small towns, villages, islands and cities across Scotland. Some castle grounds hosts games as well!
What can you expect from the Highland games?
Well there’s quite a lot you can expect. Firstly, there’s the sporting prowess that comes with the heavy contests that include the hammer throw and weight for height if you want to see competitors putting their muscles to the test. Meanwhile field events such as the hill race and cycling competition test speed and stamina. Did you know that Baron Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, was so impressed by a Highland display he saw at the 1889 Paris Exhibition that he introduced the hammer throw, shot put and the tug o' war to his competition? Talk about high praise! The former two are still included in the Olympics programme to this day - just one of the many fascinating facts of the Highland games.
Is it just about the sports?
Although the physicality of the heavy sports and the endurance sports are big draws for visitors, for many, one of the most memorable experiences of the Highland games is the bands, when hundreds of pipers and drummers from different groups come together to play and march in unison. Look out for the solo piping competitions too, where competitors play in a range of styles, including the slow, stately and complex Pibroch which is considered to be the classical music of the bagpipe. Of course you can’t have music without a bit of dancing and at any one of the various games held across Scotland you won’t be disappointed by what’s on offer. Dancers give dazzling displays of fancy footwork in Scottish dances, such as the sword dance and the famous Highland fling. Competing for titles both solo and in groups, their colourful outfits and infectious energy will leave you in high spirits. The Cowal Highland Gathering is renowned for the quality of its Highland dancing, drawing in the best performers from around the globe as they compete in the Scottish and World Championships.
Finally, there’s also a bit of living history for you to enjoy as well. Scotland is famous for its old clans, many of these clans helped to build Scotland centuries ago. Well luckily many are still around today and although their not riding fiercely into battle over who owns what Glen, you can still see them compete against each other in tug-o-war like competitions.
For a full list of events and locations please head over to The Scottish Highland Games’ association website!
Thanks for reading, and as always