Halkirk Highland Games

Submitted by Owen McCafferty on Fri, 2010-01-22

These games are famous and are one of the biggest Highland Games in Scotland. Athletes from all over Scotland come to Halkirk to compete in these games. This year the weather was again excellent and the day was enjoyed by all.

The “Heavies” resplendent in their kilts, are the true Highland strongmen and provide a unique sporting spectacle. Tossing the caber (a 19 foot long tree trunk) is an event not to be missed. Throwing the Scots hammer, tossing the sheaf, putting the shot, throwing the weight for height and distance, plus the eight man tug o’ war contest are unique events that will keep you enthralled all afternoon. The band play at regular intervals throughout the day and then for an hour in the evening, in the village centre. The day is completed with a grand marquee dance.

Venue:
Halkirk’s Recreation Park. This Park was gifted to the community in 1921 by Sir Archibald Sinclair, since when it has been the annual site of the Halkirk Highland Games.

There was lots to see and do, a few examples being:

  • Highland ‘heavyweight’ athletes
  • light footed Highland dancers
  • traditional Scottish pipers and piping competitions
  • fast runners, nimble jumpers
  • courageous cyclists,
  • accurate clay pigeon shooters,
  • excited children and even bonnie babies
  • races
  • throwing the hammer
  • spinning demonstrations
  • a fun fair
  • all compete in around 100 events to produce a memorable afternoon.

First held in 1886, Halkirk Highland Games draws competitors from as far afield as the US and Canada and brings up to 5000 visitors to Caithness, the northern tip of the Scottish mainland. The city will be home to the Highland Games and Masters World Championship, featuring up to 2,000 competitors, including 100 heavies over the age of 40. The games will also feature Scotland’s largest inter-clan gathering to date with more than 40 clans represented, with 20 pipe bands, modern bands and an antiques fair.

Halkirk Highland Games generally include the following events: throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, putting the shot, tug o’ war, (collectively know as heavy events), athletics/track and field events (collectively known as light events), and dancing and piping competitions. There are usually side shows along with trade and refreshment stands. Highland games take place throughout Scotland between May and September.

Every summer, on the last Saturday in July, up to 5,000 visitors and locals flock to the village of Halkirk in Caithness (pop. 1,000) for a day of traditional and spectacular Scottish sport. They are guaranteed to be enthralled in watching over 100 competitors, many being national or world champions, challenging each other for various championship titles.

Combined with a friendly welcome, excellent organisation and the staging of many national championships, it is no wonder that athletes from all over the world enjoy competing at Halkirk. In particular, the traditional Scottish heavyweight competition regularly attracts the best ‘Heavies’ from the USA. The “Heavies” resplendent in their kilts, are the true Highland strongmen and provide a unique sporting spectacle. Tossing the caber (a 19 foot long tree trunk) is an event not to be missed. Throwing the Scots hammer, tossing the sheaf, putting the shot, throwing the weight for height and distance, plus the eight man tug o’ war contest are events that will keep you enthralled all afternoon.

An old saying proclaims that once the Halkirk Games are past – that is when you notice the nights drawing in! Summer’s end……

The games are normally held on the last Saturday in July.

See the video of Scotland’s largest inter-clan gathering at Halkirk Highland Games and Traditional Scottish Pipers and Piping Competitions

How to get there:
Situated adjacent to the main A9 trunk road that runs from the Inverness (168km or 105 miles to the south) and Thurso (10km or 6 miles to the north, on the coast), Halkirk is about two hours by car from Inverness. Train and bus services run to Thurso, and there is also an air service from Aberdeen to Wick, only 25km (16 miles) away.

Contact: Halkirk Highland Games Phone: 01847 831287

Email: mcie…@aol.com and ashl…@ukonline.co.uk

Web: http://www.halkirkgames.co.uk/

Image Gallery (Click on the images for larger view)


Highland Dancing Competition

1st Battalion The Highlanders

Throwing the hammer

The bouncy slide is very popular

The wool is unwashed and rich in lanolin

You can even see the puff of smoke from the starter’s gun

Two Sinclairs in the Clan Sinclair Library van

The piping competition

Spinning demonstrations

Waiting for the next race

The Highlanders Battalion

Similar of ‘Halkirk Highland Games’

Related Posts

Add Comment