Scotland - Highland games - Worth it?


May 3rd, 2007, 04:13 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 7
Scotland - Highland games - Worth it?

We are trying to plan our first trip to Scotland, 6th of August to 15th of August. My question is should we fit in a day/half-day at one of the Highland games. We would need to rearrange our itinerary to make this happen. Is it essential to see one of these or is it just a gathering of tourists?
scotteve is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 04:33 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,664
Only you can decide if it's worth re-arranging your trip to take in a highland games. They are nevertheless very much a part of Scottish traditional culture and will give you a chance to see first-hand the various sporting events, highland dance competitions and the pipe bands. Highland games are most definitely NOT just for tourists (although all are welcome). Especially in the smaller towns they are still a major event in the local calendar, and pretty much the whole town turns out to take part or watch the events.

Check out for details of this years events and locations.
Gordon_R is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 05:05 AM
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 16,304
You have to go to the games if you go to Scotland, it would be like not giong to a sheep dog trials in Wales or morris dancing in England.

Ah I see what you mean
bilboburgler is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 06:04 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
I don't know the experience you have had with highland games in North America, which can be quite a spectacle. In Scotland the games are very different. Usually it's only the participants that are wearing kilts. There are few vendors with tartan paraphenalia. Instead, there is a local fair atmosphere, with carnival rides, footraces, tug of war, bouncy castles mixed in with the piping, dancing, and heavy athletic competitions.

Some of the games, such as Braemar and Oban, have a royal/aristocratic component which makes for fun people watching - lots of folks with their tweeds and wellies.

At none of the dozen or so highland games I've been to in Scotland have I felt that it was a tourist event AT ALL. It could be an enhancement to your trip, depending on whether you like to do things like markets and local activities (rather than sights and monuments). But certainly you could have a wonderful trip to Scotland without the games.
noe847 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 10:01 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,156
The Games which are on when you're here are








What you need to understand about Highland Games is that they are like a school sports day but for grown ups as well as kids. Depending on where you go, you will find, as well as Scottish and Irish dancing and pipe competitions and tossing the caber, and tugs of war, egg and spoon races, and sack races and stuff like that. You will be welcome to participate.

Especially in the more rural places it'll be a real community event.

Sure, there'll be tourists, but their presence will be a big earner for the games association.

If you've never been and one of these fits into your route, go. You won't regret it.
sheila is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 11:10 AM
Join Date: Feb 2006
Posts: 2,472
Oh, and I meant to add that the highland games in Scotland don't include the clan booths and activities that are such a big component of the North American highland games.

You may have seen this other current thread that discusses the Perth games as well as the World Pipe Band Championships held in Glasgow on August 11:

noe847 is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 11:44 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 7
Wow! Thanks to everyone who has responded! You're insights have been so helpful! ....Stay tuned I have more questions/posts regarding our trip. Your expertise is most appreciated
scotteve is offline  
Reply With Quote
May 3rd, 2007, 06:55 PM
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 250
Dear Scotteve,
Whether or not highland games are essential only you can decide. I will say that I enjoyed the highland games I saw in Fort Augustus (LochNess area). I was with two nephews (10 and 14) and they were enthused about it. There was a chance for kids to compete in a couple of events and both boys participated. We also learned some interesting facts about kilts, plaids, sheep and other facets of Scottish life and history. Lots of animal displays as well.

I know you will have a great trip whatever you decide.
teacher33 is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are On


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 10:25 PM.