Visiting Scotland's Highland Games with a motorhome
by Scottish Tourer
August 13, 2020
Scottish Highland Games
Whilst our touring in your motorohme why not take advantage and visit a highland game, there are over 60 Highland games in Scotland alone in one year not to mention the other that take place overseas with associate members. Minus the war years these games take place every year around the same dates so they don’t clash with each other. It is therefore easy to see why on your holiday to Scotland you can ensure you get some Scottish culture and make a day out at one of the many fantastic venues these Highland games take part on. At the end of a busy day you will then have a warm and cosy motorohme in which you can relax and reminisce about the days experiance.
What are they?
Scotland’s history is steeped in clans battling it out with each other to see who would win. Some say that the highland games originated from clans choosing who the best bodyguards would be and the best fighters were. The chief of the clan also required muscians, dancers, runners (delivering important messages), strong men (for defence) and of course lots of entertainment for the evenings. To keep in with the original times of the games the games today continue to use similar objects such as the shot putt which would have more likely have been a big round stone from the nearby river or a caber which was more likely a short pine tree with its branches removed. The games provide a fantastic day out, food, music and of course entertainment and history.
When are they?
The games season runs from May-Mid September every year. The games take place in all areas of Scotland from the borders right up to the top at John o’ Groats. Some of the games are small gatherings , however some of the more popular and well known events can attract up to 10000 spectators such as the Braemar games.
Can you watch?
Watching and a crowd is exactly what the games want. They like to have people shouting for the best competitor and cheering for the winner. Each games charges a small fee at the gate to help with the planning and running costs. You are sure to find some wonderful food and drink at these events and meet some unique people.
Where are they?
All over Scotland, but below we have listed those that you can find whilst on one of our popular routes.
- A short drive from Perth you can turn off the A9 and head towards Kenmore. If you are lucky enough to be visiting in early July you may just catch the Kenmore Highland Games. They have the main staples of the games such as running, heavy weights, tug of war, solo piping and highland dancing. If you have never heard the pipes this is really a heart warming goose bump raising event. The music will fill your soul with the history and the culture of Scotland.
- The Atholl Gathering is again an early event in May and includes heavy weights, highland dancing and the famous Scottish Tug of war which is not to be missed. Cheer on the side lines for your favourite team to win and celebrate with some local fine dining and beverages afterwards. This is conveniently located just a short drive up the A9 from the Scottish Tourer depot.
- As you travel up our North Coast Route past aviemore and towards inverness. You will come across the site of the Newtonmore Highland Games. Typically held at the beginning of August and includes running, heavy weights, solo piping, light field, hill race and highland dancing. This is a larger event and you can also see the Clan Macpherson Annual Rally and March. This includes many a clansman from all parts of the world and is really a spectacular event and not to be missed.
- As you approach Ullapool you may catch some signs for another local games, Durness is located North of Ullapool and the games are held in July. This is a small event yet has all the trimmings that make it a traditional games. These games have been running since 1914 so have some strong traditions and although the site has moved the ethics behind the event have not. They love to cheer each other on and follow the parade as the pipers play into the games to declare it open. This event has the bonus of you being able to compete even if you are not local And entry is also free. If competing isn’t your idea of a fun day out get involved in the cheering on of others instead and watch the dancers in their traditional attire entertain the crowds.
- Continue following our route up Past Gairloch don’t forget to go for a nice brisk walk along the beach here. If you are lucky enough to be visiting in July pass into the Lochcarron Highland Games located at the Attadale Estate. After you have paid entry to the games you can also gain access to the Attadale gardens free of charge, immerse yourself in some tranquillity amidst the noise and bustle of the games.
- The islands of Scotland also host their own games. Enjoy the Isle of Skyes games hosted in August generally. The event is held in Portree and starts in the morning at the square where the pipe band leads the committee to the field to begin the games in true Scottish tradition. These games have taken place every year since 1877 with exception to the war years. The day usually attracts thousands of people who either come to participate or support the games.
- Cross over to Mull to spend a day watching their games. Again a small island of Scotland they are steeped in tradition and culture. The games are hosted usually in July so you may even get a lovely warm summers day to enjoy and ice cream to watch the pipers open the games. Here you will find all your usual competitions such as running, heavy weights, light field and dancing.
- As you make your way back towards Perth stop in at Stirlings highland games usually help in August. Stirling not only provide a traditional games but they host a festival style event with a market, tours, activity area for the children, exemplary food and drink and all set on a wonderful backdrop of the Wallace monument and Stirling Castle. Although entries are premade there is a visitors race which can be entered on the day if you wish to get in on the action and take home your very own experience of a Scottish games day.
- Perth’s very own games could not be forgotten. Held on the grounds of Scone Palace which itself is steeped in history and is a must to visit along with their beautiful walled gardens. The first games were held in 1925 on a different site – which is now the site of ASDA supermarket . At the time of the games however it was St Johnstone’s football stadium. The games are typically held on the second Sunday in August and often pulls in thousands of visitors.
These Highland games listed are those found on our west coast route that can be found on our website. https://www.scottishtourer.co.uk/exploring/west-coast-route . There are however many more games to be found all over Scotland throughout the season between May and September if you are heading on a different route. The games provide a great day out for your holiday, memories to take home and a great insight into some Scottish traditions. If you have never experienced Highland dancing , tug o war or a pipe band you will not be disappointed. These events are child friendly and often have activities designed especially for children to enjoy. Please check any roads to ensure the motorhome you have hired will be able to drive that route and if you are at all unsure please stop and contact us where we will be happy to help.
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