What to expect from The Scottish Highland Games

Scottish Highland Games events and traditions

Highland Games events run over the summer months, in a variety of locations throughout Scotland. This year, Inverness will be hosting its games on Saturday 13th July 2024 at Bught Park Pitches. The annual event, founded over 200 years ago, is a celebration of Celtic tradition. The Highland Games are classed as one of the highlights of any family visit to Inverness. Carry on reading to find out about what to can expect from the Scottish Highland Games.

Scottish tartan flags against a blue sky
In 2024, the Inverness Highland Games will celebrate its 202nd anniversary!

Caber toss

Often perceived as a test of strength, the caber toss is actually a test of style! The “caber” is a large carpeted pole, which the participant throws with the objective to land in the “12 o’clock” position. The distance thrown is totally unimportant. In 2014, The Inverness Highland Games set a Guinness World Record for the most cabers tossed at one time. With almost 200 cabers made in preparation for the event!

Competitor wearing a kilt about to list a caber
The caber is usually made from a larch tree and it can be between 16–20 feet tall and weigh 90–150 pounds.

Heavy contests

If you’re hoping to spectate tests of strength rather than style at The Highland Games, you won’t be disappointed. Heavy contests include the shot put, hammer throw and sheaf toss.

Strong Man Throwing Weight at Scottish Highland Games.
There are a range of heavy contests in the Scottish Highland Games.

Tug o’ war

One of the main events, the rules are simple. Two teams pull at a rope in opposite directions. The first team to pull the other across the line in the middle wins. This is always great fun to watch and fiercely competitive.

Team of people in a tug o' war contest
The Tug o’ war pits two teams against each other in a contest of strength.

Hurl a haggis

Yes, you read that right! The haggis hurl has been popular at the Scottish Highland Games since the 1970s where surprisingly it first began as a practical joke! True to its name, the event involves participants competing to throw the haggis the furthest distance. The current world record is held by Lorne Coltart who hurled his haggis an impressive 66 metres in 2011.

Highland Dancing

You’ll be amazed by the tartan-laden Highland Dancer’s incredible footwork. Dancers will compete against one another in traditional Scottish dances such as the Highland fling and the sword dance. The dancers are accompanied by bagpipers who also feature in a number of events within the Scottish Highland Games.

Three traditional Highland dancers
The Highland Games is a celebration of Scottish culture and tradition.

The Inverness Scottish Highland Games is an event for the whole family to enjoy. There are live shows, competitive games and fancy dress competitions for children to enjoy! So why not book one of our family rooms at the Kingsmill Hotel? The Kingsmills is a family-friendly hotel with a variety of room options available. Retreat to the Kingsmill after a fun-filled day at the Highland games and let the youngsters tuck into our Children’s menu, perfect for even the fussiest of eaters! Create unforgettable memories for your family in Inverness this summer.