Last week the Highland Games was held at Stone Mountain Park, Ga.. I knew it was a Scottish festival and celebration but not much more. Wikipedia describes the events as :
“Highland games are events held throughout the year in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain aspects of the games are so well-known as to have become emblematic of Scotland, such as the bagpipes, the kilt, and the heavy events, especially the caber toss. While centered on competitions in piping and drumming, dancing, and Scottish heavy athletics, the games also include entertainment and exhibits related to other aspects of Scottish and Gaelic culture.”
As I did further research I found that the Highland Games at Stone Mountain have been a tradition for 41 years. Other locations for the games have include many locations in the USA and in other countries throughout the world. The largest celebration remains to be The Cowal Highland Gathering, better known as the Cowal Games, held in Dunoon, Scotland, every August.
Although music and dancing are a part of the celebration also, the athletic games are considered to be the main events. Some of the more popular and traditional athletic events for the Highland Games are:
The two athletic games that I saw were the caber toss and sheaf toss. The caber toss is remarkable to watch. Different participants carry a long 8 foot pine pole and try to toss it so it lands on the opposite end. not only is it very difficult to execute but also it is very dangerous and I noticed that each athlete had someone to spot them as they had their turn throwing the pole/caber. The sheaf toss is 20 pounds( for men and 10 pounds for women) placed in a burlap bag and is tossed with a pitch fork over what looks like a bars that are used in a pole vault.