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Highland Games

Organized to celebrate and cherish the Scottish culture and heritage, the Highland Games date back more than three hundred years.  The games are not one event, but a series of events lasting from May to September. Organized in the breathtaking scenery of the Scottish Highlands and accompanied by dancers and pipers, the Highland Games truly represent the essence of the Scottish experience.

Reminiscent of William Wallace and his army of common folk in Braveheart, thousands of competitors take part in the wide range of games each year. The activities include throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, putting the shot, the famous “tug o’war”, weight over the bar or sheaf tossing, all known as the heavy events. For the lighter categories there are several athletics, track and field events and many complimentary dancing and piping events. The traditional atmosphere is supported by lots of side shows and refreshment stands.

The Highland Games are considered to be the inspirational source for the revival of the Olympic Games in Greece (1896) after Pierre de Courbertin, one of the founding members, saw them displayed at the Exposition Universelle in Paris (1889).

The games are organized in different parts of the Highlands every year. However, two of them are particularly famous. Firstly, the Cowal Highland Gathering is considered to be the largest event of the games. Gathering more than 3500 competitors and over 20000 spectators, “the cowal” differentiates itself through diversity of the events and unique wrestling competitions such as the Ceilidh Tent. Also, the event is host to the World Highland Dancing Championship as well as several piping competitions. The event takes place from the 26th to the 28th of August in Dunoon.  The other noticeable Highland Games competition is the Braemar Gathering which is unquestionably the most popular due to its patronage by Her Majesty the Queen. Taking place in the elegant Princess Royal and Duke of Fife Memorial Park, the event comprises both Highland Games competitions and also some authentic cultural opportunities, even offering the  chance to cheer at the Royal Family.  The grounds are surrounded by clan tents and different types of vendors as well as swords and armours displays, organized mock battles or even herding dog trials.

I strongly recommend the Highland Games to be one of the best ways to discover the unique spirit of Scotland. The mixture of people, culture and scenery makes it one of the top attractions in Scotland. Getting there has never been easier with Zoombu, a travel search engine and innovative London based start-up, which can help you plan your journey. Discover the best route from your home to the games by browsing the hundreds routes we find you depending on your time, budget or environmental views. And Coorie up! The games are about to commence.


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