Highlands & Islands of Scotland, United Kingdom
The fun and spectacle of a Highland Games, one of Scotland's most quintessential experiences, makes a wonderful day out and offers a great chance to meet the locals. Events like tossing the caber, tug of war and highland dancing are bound to enthral you.
Scotland has a long tradition and history of Highland Games where clans would compete against each other in sporting events. Early Celts viewed such events as war games where their strongest and bravest soldiers would win the games.
Some say that Highland Games originated as a clan chieftain's way of choosing the best bodyguards and the fittest fighters. 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.
Today's Highland Games, which are held all over Scotland on weekends from May to September, include the heavy events (tossing the caber, throwing the hammer and putting the shot) through to the light events (running, cycling, tug of war, highland dancing and solo piping). All these events ensure a wonderful sound and atmosphere with each of the Games offering a slightly different mix of events.