The Highland Games are a beloved Scottish tradition and take place throughout the Scottish Highlands during the summer months. These games are a celebration of Scottish culture and heritage, and feature a range of traditional athletic events, music, and dance. Attending a Highland Games is a great way to experience Scottish culture and traditions firsthand and is a must-do activity if you're visiting the area during the summer months.
The Braemar Gathering
The Braemar Gathering is one of the most famous Highland Games in Scotland and takes place on the first Saturday in September. It's attended by members of the Royal Family and features traditional events such as the caber toss, tug of war, and Highland dancing. The event attracts both locals and tourists alike, creating a vibrant atmosphere filled with Scottish pride and excitement.
The Inverness Highland Games
The Inverness Highland Games take place in July and feature a range of athletic events, including the hammer throw, shot put, and hill race. The games are held in a picturesque setting, surrounded by the stunning Scottish landscape. In addition to the sporting events, there's also live music and dancing, as well as plenty of food and drink to enjoy. It's a perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in the local culture and enjoy a day filled with Scottish traditions.
The Cowal Highland Gathering
The Cowal Highland Gathering takes place in August and is one of the largest Highland Games in Scotland. It attracts competitors from all over the world and features a range of traditional events, including piping competitions, Highland dancing, and athletics. In addition to the sporting events, there's also a craft fair and a food and drink village to explore, offering a chance to indulge in Scottish crafts and cuisine.
The Luss Highland Games
The Luss Highland Games take place in July and are set against the beautiful backdrop of Loch Lomond. It's a family-friendly event with traditional events such as the caber toss and tug of war, as well as a range of children's activities. The games provide a wonderful opportunity for families to come together and enjoy a day of fun-filled activities while experiencing the rich Scottish heritage.
The Dornoch Highland Gathering
The Dornoch Highland Gathering takes place in August and is a smaller, more intimate event. It features a range of traditional events, including the tossing of the sheaf and the hammer throw, as well as live music and dancing. The gathering offers a chance to witness the authentic Scottish spirit and connect with the local community in a warm and welcoming atmosphere.
These are just a few of the Highland Games that take place in the Scottish Highlands. However, there are many more events scattered throughout the region, each with its own unique charm and character. The North Coast 500 route is a scenic drive through the Scottish Highlands that passes by many towns and villages where Highland Games take place during the summer months.
If you're planning a trip along the NC500 route, here are some of the Highland Games that you might encounter:
- Lochcarron Highland Games - Usually takes place in July. It's a lively event that showcases traditional Scottish sports and entertainment. Visitors can witness the strength and skill of the athletes as they compete in various disciplines.
- Durness Highland Gathering - Usually takes place in August. This gathering offers a unique opportunity to experience the Highland Games in a remote and stunning location. The event features a range of traditional events and is a true celebration of Scottish culture.
- Mey Highland and Cultural Games - Usually takes place in August. Held near the famous Castle of Mey, this event combines the Highland Games with a celebration of the local culture. Visitors can enjoy a variety of activities, including music, dance, and traditional Scottish food.
- Portmahomack Highland Games - Usually takes place in August. This gathering provides a chance to experience the Highland Games in a charming coastal village. Alongside the athletic events, visitors can explore the local crafts and taste delicious Scottish delicacies.
- Black Isle Show - Usually takes place in August. Although not strictly a Highland Games event, the Black Isle Show is a significant agricultural show that showcases the region's farming heritage. Visitors can enjoy livestock displays, food stalls, and various entertainment options.
It's worth noting that the dates for these events can vary slightly from year to year, so it's always best to check with the local tourist information office or the event organizers for the most up-to-date information. Attending a Highland Games is a great way to experience Scottish culture and traditions, and can make for a fun and memorable addition to your NC500 road trip.