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Scotland's Highland Games

Updated on October 9, 2010

The Highland Games

THE HIGHLAND GAMES

The origins of the Highland games can be traced back to the 11th century.

king Malcolm the third,who ruled Scotland from 1058 until 1093,organised an event to find the fastest and strongest men in the the kingdom to carry his messages across the land.

The games carried on all over Scotland until 1746 when the English defeated the Scottish at the battle of culloden.

The games were banned by law along with playing the bagpipes,wearing of the kilt,gathering of people and carrying arms.

The new laws changed highland culture forever and destroyed clan culture.

At the end of the 18th Century,these laws were repealed, Highland Societies began forming, and in 1781 the first society "Gathering" was held at Falkirk. The success of this venture led to the Gathering of the Clans and the Highland Games as we know them today.

By the end of the 1820s Games were once again being held throughout Scotland.

Typical events at a highland games include

Putting the Shot: probably the oldest of the heavyweight sports, putting an iron sphere of 16 or 22lbs.

Tossing the Caber:The most recognisable trademark of Scottish Highland games.

Throwing the Weight:28lbs for distance or 56lbs for height.

Throwing the Hammer: with an iron sphere weighting either 16 or 22lbs on a bamboo shaft.

The Great Highland Bagpipes: competitions of solo piping and of the large Pipe Bands.

Track Events - Running, Cycling, Jumping and Tug-o-War.

Highland dancing: solo pairs and team dance competitions.

The Braemar Gathering, is the biggest and most prestigious Scottish Highland Games event. Queen Elizabeth II is Patron of the Braemar Gathering, which not only attracts a great crowd but also enjoys annual attendance from the Royal Family.The Braemar and Lonach Gatherings attract thousands of spectators. Smaller town games have equal appeal however - by their very nature, they are more intimate than the larger events.

The pictures in this hub are from my local Highland games in Ardrossan.....jimmy

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    • J D Murrah profile image

      J D Murrah 10 years ago from Refugee from Shoreacres, Texas

      we enjoyed the highland games we saw in Abeyone. Pictures do not do justice to the bagpipers marching in along with the caber toss and hammer throw. It was a wonderful experience. One thing that really made it cool was that a major competitor was from North Carolina.

      Are each of the different highland gamesorganized surrounding specific clans? It seemes that there were only a limited number of clans with their distictive kilts and banners?

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 11 years ago from San Francisco

      yep, i think that's it. :-)

    • profile image

      Iðunn 11 years ago

      I'll see what I can put together. :)

    • jimmythejock profile image
      Author

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

      thanks livelonger the highland games are no longer just a scottish thing the have them all over the world the worlds strongest man competition is based around the highland games i wonder if that is the tv program you refer to.....jimmy

    • jimmythejock profile image
      Author

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

      the highland clearances is my next hub Lóunn you should do a hub on the Irish version and we can link them together.....jimmy

    • jimmythejock profile image
      Author

      James Paterson 11 years ago from Scotland

      thanks Woemwood,i wouldn't know how lol maybe the will ffind my page

      on a web search lol.....jimmy

    • livelonger profile image

      Jason Menayan 11 years ago from San Francisco

      holy mackerel!

      there's this TV competition here that seems to be modeled after these games. can't remember the name, but they do stuff like throwing logs, chop wood, roll on a log floating in the water, pull heavy stuff, etc.

    • profile image

      Iðunn 11 years ago

      "The games were banned by law along with playing the bagpipes,wearing of the kilt,gathering of people and carrying arms.

      The new laws changed highland culture forever and destroyed clan culture."

      the English were pretty consistent, eh? they did the same thing to Ireland.

    • Woemwood profile image

      Woemwood 11 years ago from Melbourne Australia

      Jimmy that is a good piece of history,

      why don't you make that available for schools?

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