Highland Games – Sights & Sounds this weekend
Highland Games are as iconically Scottish as bagpipes, kilts and whisky - all of which feature heavily at any gathering. Highland games in their current form date to 1867, but it seems likely that the Victorian event was merely a revival of a much older tradition that ceased after the suppression of clan customs following the 1745 Jacobite rising.
The oldest free Highland Games in Scotland is held each June in Ceres and began under a Charter awarded by Robert the Bruce in recognition of the villagers' support at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
Today the games are noted for their unique sporting and athletic events many of which involve throwing and lifting. These include the shot put, tug-o-war, caber toss and hammer throw - collectively known as heavy events. As well as the game themselves spectators can enjoy the highland dancing, piping displays and the sights and sounds of the Pipe Bands.
One of the most recognised competitions namely “Tossing the Caber” has come to almost symbolise the Highland games around the world.
A full-length log, usually made of Scots pine, is stood upright and lifted by the competitor using both hands under the bottom of it, so as to rest against their body. They then move forward, building momentum, before tossing it into the air so that it turns end over end before it hits the ground. The aim is for the caber to land in line with the original run. If it is straight the toss is said to be in the 12 o'clock position. Competitors are judged on how closely their caber lands to 12 o'clock
Video of Aboyne Highland Games 2017 from Braemar Media.
Highland Games are held through the world with the first Highland Games in the USA taking place in New York in 1836.
Logan Park, Dunedin, New Zealand hosts one of the most southerly games in the world while the Braemar Royal Gathering, which take place during the first weekend in September, is the only Games attended annually by the British Royal Family.
Did you know that at some Highland Games in France a giant champagne cork is tossed instead of a caber. Wonder what they do with all the Champagne first – why drink it of course!