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Highland Games

The popularity of the Highland Games dates back to Queen Victoria's patronage of them, which began in the middle of the 19th century, although before that time many Highland clans had long held annual gatherings which included traditional sports and games.

One of the most famous gatherings is held each year at Braemar in Aberdeenshire during early September, opening with a spectacular march of kilted clansmen accompanied by pipers playing the bagpipes.  The Games at Braemar and elsewhere in Scotland usually feature displays of highland dancing and hard-fought contests for players of the bagpipes, as well as gruelling athletic events. These include 'throwing the hammer' - flinging an iron ball on a chain as far as possible, and 'tossing the caber' - tossing a long and unwieldy wooden pole, like a tree trunk, said to have originated as a way of heaving felled tree-trunks over ravines or streams!