Last weekend (June 25) I went with a friend to the BC Highland Games & Scottish Festival in Coquitlam. We’d never been before, and unfortunately it rained intermittently, but we still enjoyed ourselves and got a chance to look around.
There were lots of exhibitors selling Scots stuff, from kilts and scarves to flags, knick-knacks, swords and Renaissance items.
We watched the Parade of the Clans where only a handful of clansmen and women were representing. Listening to the band pipe them in was awesome though. I love the sound of bagpipes!
Then we wandered over to the Heavy Events area. It was slow-going, but still very neat to watch the Heavy Events. The only problem was the viewing section was only on one side of the field, so the events in the far corners were hard to see (as you can tell in my photos).
The weight for distance throws consist of a “light” weight and a “heavy” weight event. The men’s Light weight is 28 lbs. while the women’s is 14 lbs. There are three different heavy weights, the men’s 56 lbs., men’s masters (40 years old +) is 42 lbs. and the women’s is 28 lbs. The weights have a handle attached with a chain. The weight must be thrown with one hand and the athlete must keep one foot inside of a throwing area of 4’6″ x 9′ at all times. The most common method of throwing the weight is to use a double spin.
In the Weight for Height / Weight Over Bar events the athlete has three attempts to clear the height of the bar. The Men throw a 56 lbs. “scale weight” (masters 42 lbs. and Women use 28 lbs.) with one arm. The weight must go over the bar in order to be counted.
The Stone Putt: The thrower must “putt” (derived from the Gaelic word “thrust”) the stone from the shoulder area not letting the elbow lead the wrist. The Braemar Stone Putt is a standing Putt that does not allow any approach on the Trig (Toe Board). The weight of the stone generally ranges from 22 to 26 lbs. for men and 13 to 18 lbs. for women.
The Scottish Hammer Toss is the ancestor of the modern day Olympic hammer. The “hammer” is a weight on the end of a 50″ piece of rattan or PVC. The original version of this was likely a wagon wheel spoke with the wheel hub attached. The name “hammer” and the weights were added when clansmen used a blacksmith’s hammer (sledge hammer), to see who could throw it the farthest.
There is a Heavy Hammer and a Light Hammer. Men throw 22 lbs. heavy hammer and a 16 lbs light hammer. Women throw a 12 lbs. light hammer and a 16 lbs. heavy hammer. The athlete must throw the hammer without moving his feet.
A caber is from 15 to 23 feet long and between 70 and 130 pounds. The caber is stood up for the thrower with the large end up, the thrower then hoists the caber up and cups the small end in his hands. After a small run, he will attempt to “turn” the caber by throwing the caber so the large end hits the ground and the small end falls away from the thrower.
The caber is scored for accuracy as if on a clock face. The judge will score the caber based on where it hits the ground in direct relation to the throwers shoulders, 12:00 is a perfect toss; However if the caber fails to break the vertical plane (turn end-over-end) then the caber will be judged based on the degrees it traveled to the vertical plane.
We then wandered over to watch the dancing:
Among the marketplace stalls there were also displays for various clans, woodworking, jewellery, and even medieval services and events. Having recently been introduced to swordplay, these booths were incredibly interesting:
Blood & Iron were supposed to do a falconry demo, but it was cancelled due to the rain.
I had been planning for a while to sew a pleated skirt in my Clan tartan, but I didn’t have enough time. In the end, I decided to use a modern plaid fabric (which is also more affordable) and I sewed a circle skirt. I wore it to the Highland Games—despite the rain—but the photo is from Sunday.
I can’t find the tutorial I used (I printed it from a PDF a looong time ago and there is no URL on it) but this explaination from WhatTheCraft is similar. If you need a little more detail, check out this tutorial by Dana Made It.