There’s a man by the name of Hamish MacGregor ahead of you, he’s yelling, yelling loudly in his local ‘Scottish-tongue’ from a mouth surrounded by ginger whiskers, ahead of him is a sea of tartan and the sounds of bagpipes accompany in the background. The audience cheers just as loud (half not quite sure what they’re actually cheering for – that accent is THICK) – he has just won a crowd over..
Welcome to the Highland Games.
I’m sure most of us who are Gen Y’s or ‘Millenials’ probably only know as much about the Highland Games as we do about The Simpson’s creator Matt Groening- not THAT much and the image we have projected into our mind of Scottish Men looks coincidentally like the BBC Scotland’s video recently doing the rounds on social media – Kilted Yoga – for some reason I seem remember those core values very well… don’t you?
At the core of The Highland Games, there is tremendous history; it is widely believed they begun in 2000BC from Ireland where the people were to cross the waters to Scotland… and would become a series of games that Clans would compete against each other with. So yes, there’s lots of years on this – but the juiciest part of the history was when the infamous Jacobite Rebellion in 1746 would bring forth an Act that would slip the Games into a coma and the men of Scotland hung up their proud kilts. Basically, the wearing of all Scottish dress would be completely outlawed along with gatherings and practicing traditional customs.
Hang on a second. Wait, what? Outlawed, you can’t do that!
It’s okay -eventually the Act would be abolished in 1822 and the fresh King of Scotland: George IV would take to Edinburgh in his full Highland attire, as if to say some choice swear words and basically “The boys are back in town”.
This tradition would become celebrated more than ever since then and used as a way of bringing a community together.
And… cheekily would picked up by other countries starting in 1836 – I’m talking to you America! 😊
These games are practiced in up to 80 locations within Scotland and are not your usual collection of games, nothing like those you would see in the Olympics. They’re better! The men engage in the manly contests of Tug of War, Caber Tossing, The Hammer Throw, Highland Dancing, Stone-Put & Track and Field, to name a few… And many locations have competitions for women to partake in too.
The Highland Games are a perfect mixture of sport, good times, tradition & music – all in the name of testing each competitor’s strength, creativity and determination.
Fun fact: The Men competing in the games must wear a kilt as a rule set out by The Scottish Highland Game Association.
No I can’t promise all the men are as divine as in the previously mentioned BBC video but… what I can GUARUNTEE is a great day witnessing one of the oldest traditions Scotland has to offer!
Company – Visit Scotland has a great guide to the Highland Games which you should check out, if you’re keen.
Featured Games Locations – One of my favourite locations in Scotland is Oban, right on the water and there the Oban Games are run in July and August each year, another epic Highland Games not far by car is in Dunoon.
If you’re chasing a place to stay whilst enjoying the games in Oban, we have one!
I finish in saying that the Highland Games are EPIC and a major tradition in Scotland, more than just hot men in kilts, so trust me it’s worth them checking out!
After-all it’s just Scot’ to be done!
Written by Court Jeremiah.