The Highland Games are an athletic competition where individual men (and women) clad in kilts compete in a series of events to test their strength and skills. Originating in the highlands of Scotland, the games involve the lifting and throwing of heavy objects for height, distance and accuracy. Some historians believe that the games began in the camps of soldiers between battles to test the mettle of the warriors and keep them in combat shape.
Weights on chains are thrown over a bar for height. Some heavy stones are thrown like a shot put for distance. The hammer throw involves whirling a stick with a stone attached to one end over the head and hurling it for distance. The sheaf toss involves tossing a burlap sack filled with hay over a bar for height using a pitch fork. Some games feature a tug of war, a keg toss, wrestling and other feats of strength.
By far, the most popular and recognizable part of the Highland games is the Caber Toss. Most games are set up to lead up to the caber toss and feature it as the last event of the day. It is a crowd favorite.
The caber is a large log up to 19 feet long and 175 lbs, usually made of Scots pine or Cedar. The competitor needs to push from underneath to stand the log on its end before lifting it up by one end with both hands in an underhand position so it stands vertical resting on the shoulder. The athlete then runs forward carrying the caber and tosses it into the air flipping it so that it turns end over end.
The goal is to throw the caber so it flips and lands pointing directly away from the competitor. The winner is the highland athlete who flips the log with the greatest accuracy measured by the angle. A perfect toss will result with the caber pointing toward 12 O’clock with the athlete standing at 6 O’clock.
The Highland Games are an exciting way for observers to get a peak into the past to see how Celtic warriors of yore measured themselves against their compatriots. The competition is fierce yet friendly and the games are action packed and feature all of the thrills of a great sporting event. The fact that the athletes are clad in colorful tartan kilts makes this a unique spectacle in the world of sports.
The Licensed to Kilt 5K is a run/walk through the Silver Creek Athletic Club property, sure to please those looking for an adventure race. Registered participants receive a long sleeve tech race shirt, finisher medal and admission to the festival and games.
For those of you who don't run, or just don't want to, we offer the 0.0 "Race." Athletes will line up, the starter blows the horn and you walk to the beer garden. All Gain, No Pain as we like to say. You get a 0.0 shirt, finisher medal and a sticker for your car do proudly declare your disdain for running.