We’d been looking forward to going to a Highland Games since moving up to Bridge of Orchy last November, we’re both big fans of the World’s Strongest Man (The current holder, Tom Stoltman, is a Scot and lovely fella) having tried for a while, we finally managed to find a Highland Games that we could fit around bookings, and headed off on a scenic journey to the Braemar Gathering.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Braemar, the perfect day for throwing heavy things about, or rather for watching people throwing heavy things about, we’d taken a Greenstone Lodge picnic each, and a flask of tea so we were set for a great day.
The car parks were heaving, we thought we’d probably been lucky to get to these games as they seemed very popular, we got lucky again on the way in as a band of pipers and drummers started up just in front of us and basically marched us towards the arena which was fairly magical.
We realised that on top of seeing the throwing a various objects I wouldn’t be able to lift, there was athletics, tug of war and dancing, and there was always something going on if not various things to watch. At one point a load of men and women raced a 5K up to the top of a massive hill behind the arena, as they left the commentator said “100 have left, let’s hope 100 come home!”. It did look quite steep.
We witnessed some very impressive displays from the competitors, my favourite two events being Weight for Height, throwing a 56lb weight straight up and over and increasingly high bar, and the classic Caber Toss, imagine trying to pick up and throw basically a large tree as far and as straight as you can.
At one point they stopped all the events as King Charles arrived which was quite surreal, it turns out the Royal family go every year, my mind was already blown when they’d introduced wildlife presenter and Strictly come dancing winner Hamza Yassin, who wasn’t competing but I’d imagine could do a solid hammer throw.
Having known little about them before we went we are both now hooked, we’d really got lucky with our first Highland Games, and it certainly won’t be our last.