Highland Games – a Scottish Highlight!

Every summer throughout Scotland there are a host of Highland Games to visit! Highland Games are iconically Scottish. They are amazing events to celebrate and bear witness to the fabled skill, strength and endurance of the Highlander. Wherever the Games are held, each has its own local character and traditions.

This is a cracking day out for the family. There are lots of track and field games that everyone can sign up for and enter.  But the main event is the traditional Heavy athletic events like the caber toss, shot put and hammer throw when serious athletes compete to be champion.  What a spectacle to watch the bravest warriors. There are always Highland dance competitions, bagpipes and lots of family activities.  The Games are a spectacle like no other. Some of the events take place against amazing scenic Scottish backdrops too.

Highland dancers with athletes running around the track

Pipers and drummers

Our favourite event is the caber toss which has come to symbolise the Highland Games.  The Games wouldn’t be complete without it! A full-length log of Scottish pine can range between 16-22 feet, and the weight can vary from 100-180 pounds. It is stood upright and lifted by the competitor using both hands under the bottom of the caber. They then rest it against their body, before running forward and tossing the caber into the air. The aim is that it turns end over end in the air before hitting the ground. Contrary to popular belief, the caber toss is not about distance – it’s all about the position and how it lands. Picture a clock face, and place the caber thrower at 6 o’clock. The aim is to have enough strength and control to make the caber land at 12 o’clock exactly. And the closer the better!

Caber tossing

This year, we visited the Games at Drumnadrochit right next to Loch Ness. Just a 20 minutes drive. There were some fairground rides, local craft and art stalls, and food tents. We had such fun watching the Heavy events, the Highland Dancing competition and the piping bands.  It only cost £15 entry for a family of 4.

Glen Urquhart Games, Drumnadrochit

Other Games in easy driving distance of Pinewood include Strathconon, Tain, Inverness Forres, Dornoch, Strathpeffer, and Nairn, to name a few.

To see a list of events, check out the SHGA (Scottish Highland Games Association) website or Visit Scotland.