- The Highland games
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With traditional heavy athletic events like tug-o-war and the caber toss, as well as Highland dance competitions, track and field events, and piping, the games are a spectacle like no other. And it all takes place against a scenic Scottish backdrop. What more could you want?
Heavy contests, including the hammer throw and weight for height, see competitors putting their muscles to the test, while 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 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. For many, one of the most memorable sights of the Highland games is the massed 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.
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.
Highland games once saw clan members go head-to-head in fierce competition - and you'll still see this enthusiasm when clans muster all their might in a tug-war. These days, clan attendance at games is now more of a social and ceremonial affair. Some Highland games are part of a wider clan gathering - a celebratory get-together featuring parades, Scottish music and dancing, feasts, heritage events and much joviality.
Since they were introduced to America in , the Highland games have gone from strength to strength, with hundreds of events now taking place each year. Finnmark in Norway hosts the most northerly games and the furthest south are held in Dundedin in New Zealand.
Travel bloggers Samuel and Audrey had always wanted to experience an authentic Highland games in Scotland. On a recent trip they finally got the opportunity.
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The Highland games
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