Single Malt Whisky giant Glenfiddich is sponsoring a range of Highland Games events throughout Scotland over August and September 2012. The 1st event is in just 4 days’ time at Helmsdale so you better start your training. Highland Games events will also take place at Crieff (19th Aug), Argyleshire (23rd August), Birnam, Invergordon, Lonarch, Strathardle (all 25th Aug), Grantown on Spey (26th Aug), Braemar 1st Sept), Blargowrie (2nd Sept), Pitlochry (8th Sept) and Invercharron (15th Sept). The largest of these events is at Braemar where a crowd of over 10,000 is expected. Glenfiddich is supporting all these events and no doubt there will be a whisky or two available at the events.
The Highland Games pre-date known history however it is believed these were developed by early Celts who viewed the games as war games and identified the strongest soldiers. Clan Chiefs used the games not just to find good soldiers for their armies but entertainers and musicians to satisfy the court. The highlight of the Highland Games however remains the Heavy Events; this includes tossing the caber, hammer throwing, shot put, sheaf toss, weight throwing, and lazy stick. The lighter events include bag piping, running, highland dancing, cycling and Tug o War. It I believed that Baron Pierre de Coubertin the father of the modern Olympics was influenced by a Highland Games event in Paris in 1889.
The Highland Games events in Scotland are now dwarfed by those in the United States of America, the largest in Scotland is the Cowal Highland Gathering at Dunoon can attract as many as 23,000 visitors however in the US events at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina and one held in California by the Caledonian Club exceed 50,000 visitors.