The Highland games has been part of Scottish tradition for many years. It's said the Highland Games originate from Ireland in 2000 BC and that they crossed the water to Scotland with the fourth and fifth century migrations of the Scotti into Dalriada (Argyll) and beyond.
The Braemar gathering is the biggest and most prestigious Highland games event and it is attended by the Royal Family. The first Braemar gathering was introduced by Malcolm Canmore in 1040 as a means of selecting the most able men for soldiers.
Not all the chief's requirements were warlike - musicians and dancers were important for the prestige of his household. Choosing staff and supporters was done by holding competitions - good runners for couriers, strong men for defence and a range of entertainers to amuse them during the winter evenings.
The Games grew over time in number and popularity but suffered a mortal blow with the Act of Proscription in 1746 following the crushing of the Jacobite Rebellion. The act outlawed Scottish dress, customs and gatherings and was in force for almost 40 years. After its repeal the Games started to revive and the fortunes of the national customs were given a tremendous boost with the visit to Scotland in 1822 of George IV.
This event is commemorated to this day in two famous Edinburgh landmarks – George Street and George IV Bridge.
Highland Games have been picked up across continents with the first Highland Games in the USA happening in New York in 1836. The Caledonian Club of San Francisco held its first Games in 1866 and boasts the oldest continuously running Games in the USA with the St Andrews Society of Detroit hot on its tail. Today, in addition to the Games all across Scotland itself, there are more than 200 annual games and gatherings across the US and Canada, with games also in New Zealand and Australia.
Scottish Highland Games In Modern Day
Many events at modern Highland Games still use items which would have been part of everyday life in the Highlands of old i.e. round stones from river beds probably provided the original shot-putts while a Scots pine trunk shorn of its branches is still the caber as tossed today!
Many of these traditions can still be seen in Highland Games however they are now much more sociable and fun events celebrated worldwide.
The Highland Games season runs from the end of May to mid September every year. All games are traditional highland games with a full range of activities in and around the arena. These events range from the heavy events (hammer throwing, tossing the caber, throwing the hammer, the shot) through to the light events (running, cycling, tug o war, highland dancing, piping).
All these events ensure a wonderful sound and atmosphere with each of the Games offering a slightly different mix of events keeping the Games uniqueness.
These events range from small community events to larger events such as The Braemar Gathering with over 10,000 spectators. Some Games are relative newcomers while many of the events have traditionally been held for well over 100 years.
Many of the Games are held to a backdrop of some marvellous scenery and the variety of activities going on in and around the arena makes for a great family day out. No Highland Games are identical however you can expect to find a variety of the heavy and light events, food and drink, and other entertainment.
Where to see the Highland Games
There are plenty of events going on locally during the Summer months. Events within an hours drive of Daviot Lodge and The Mews:
7th Jul 2018 Forres
7th Jul 2108 Glengarry
21st Jul 2018 Inverness
4th Aug 2018 Newtonmore
11th Aug 2018 Abernethy
11th Aug 2018 Strathpeffer
18th Aug 2018 Nairn
25th Aug 2018 Glenurquhart (Drumnadrochit)
26th Aug 2018 Grantown on Spey
And the ultimate Braemar Gathering on 1st September 2018 which is under 2 hours away from Daviot.