The Highland Games

Posted on Posted in Activities

The Highland Games is a multi-event competition that celebrates rich Scottish and Celtic culture, with the Games taking place all over Scotland and even worldwide every year. We at Absolutely Scotland love to celebrate Scottish culture, and here we will talk you through everything you need to know about the Highland Games.


Human participation in events such as the Highland Games predates recorded history. However, it is believed that the idea of the Highland Games originated from Ireland in 2000BC, and was brought to Scotland in the 4th and 5th centuries as a result of Irish migration.

Although the Games grew in popularity over the years, they suffered under the 1756 Act of Proscription, which banned Scottish dress, customs and gatherings. However, when this act was removed the Games began to slowly build popularity again, and were especially revived after a visit from King George IV in 1822.


Following this, the Games saw international expansion, with the first USA Highland Games taking place in New York during 1836. The Games are now celebrated in countries all over the world, including USA, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Switzerland, Brazil and Indonesia.


The events involved in the Highland Games have varied throughout history. However, the most popular events include the following:

  • Caber Tossing – throwing a caber (tree trunk) and, if successful, ‘turning it’.
  • Shot Putt – similar to that of the Olympics, except that sometimes the steel shot is replaced with a large stone.
  • Scottish Hammer Throw – a hammer is whirled over the competitor’s head as they try to throw it as far as they can.

Some other events that are included at modern-day Highland Games events, including our very own Mini Highland Games here at Absolutely Scotland, are:

  • Bagpipe playing – an example of the celebration of Scottish and Highland culture at the Games.
  • Welly hurling – throwing a wellington boot into a target zone.
  • Haggis hurling – a fun Scottish game that’s bound to have you laughing.

Our own Mini Highland Games at Absolutely Scotland is a great event for all, and is surrounded by stunning Scottish scenery. If you are interested in outdoor activities in Scotland, please contact us today by calling 01786 359 585.