Highland Games


Highland Games are very much a celebration of Scottish recreational heritage, with highland dancing and piping competitions often running alongside a sports programme comprising disciplines such as athletics, cycling and heavyweight events, with the Games usually held in a park or field. The "heavies" normally take pride of place and demonstrate feats combining strength and technique, such as putting the stone, throwing the hammer and the iconic tossing the caber. Teams slug it out in the Tug o' War.

Athletics track events range from the short sprint, of around 100 metres, up to 3200 metres. Events are normally run on a handicap basis so that runners of differing abilities can compete on equal terms and hopefully deliver exciting competition with blanket finishes. Track events are divided into youths and adult races. "Light field" events such as the horizontal jumps, high jump and pole vault are sometimes included.

Still on the track, cycling events held up to 4800 metres and generally staged on a handicap basis, are often supplemented by Deil Tak the Hindmost.

When assigning a competitor's start (also known as handicap or mark), the handicapper takes into account the competitor's previous Games' performances and, in the case of runners, results on Power of 10. In the absence of previous performances, a novice's start is often allocated.

Picturesque mountain scenery, which often provides the backdrop to Highland Games, can provide the setting for hill races.

Competitors vie for cash prizes, in addition to the usual medals and trophies. Events are open to all.

The competiton season runs from the middle of May to the middle of September.

Highland Games are mainly held in Fife and further north in the highlands and islands.

Highland Games are held under the rules of the Royal Scottish Highland Games Association.


Browse the results of all fifty-four Highland Games of 2023.