Scottish Highland Games – a Spectacle Like No Other That Measures a Man’s and a Woman’s Strength and Character!
The Scottish Highland Games are like no other festival you’ve been to!
Let the Games Begin
This Scottish tradition is a celebration of strength and moral fiber! In this festival, men and women gather together to do traditional military exercises like tossing logs or competing with bagpipe playing. Everyone from young and old participate in these games that have been going on for centuries.
Each year in Braemar, Scotland, thousands of men and women welcome the return of the Highland Games. These games have been practiced since the start of the 11th century and have been held annually ever since! The competitions fit into three categories: the Heavyweight competition, to dance and music– all games that are steeped in tradition.
What to Expect at the Highland Games
At the Highland Games, be prepared to either watch most of the fun from the sidelines or get down and dirty yourself! If you’re ready to get rolling, you need to know that you might be in for a world of pain. Take some time before the actual festival to practice proper rolling techniques so you can avoid the brunt of the injuries.
While the majority of the festival’s attendees are only spectators, watching people pit themselves against each other in a battle of wits and strength is really the main attraction here. If you are squeamish or can’t see blood, watch some of the less aggressive competitions, like bag pipe playing. For those standing and watching, be prepared to stand for a while in the hot sun. There will be a lot of people next to you so you might not have room to sit either.
Tickets and Pricing
Compared to everything else festival wise, a trip to the Highland Games is particularly inexpensive. The festival is free, the food is reasonably priced, and if you choose wisely you may be able to stay in a moderately priced hotel. When it comes to the Highland Games Festival, most of your cash and cards will be spent on food and accommodations so prepare for that.
If you really want to attend but can’t immediately front the money, don ’t worry! Once you purchase your tickets, you really don’t have to spend any money until you get on the ground in Scotland.
What to Wear to the Highland Games
Highland Games is one of those festival’s that you can wear whatever you want to without feeling like you are newbie. Though, many attendees that are participating wear outrageous costumes. Do yourself a favor and check out pictures of past festivals so you can get a good idea of what to bring for your own costume. When it comes to spectator fashion, don’t wear your BEST clothing though as you are going to be at an outdoor festival and you will get dirty.
Throughout the Highland Festival experience, your outfit plans should include all kinds of weather. Spring in England can mean sun and rain, so you would do best to bring several different types of clothes! For starters, have at least one waterproof coat with you to protect you from the rain and cold nights. Take a sweater as well as extra layers and mittens for when the temperature continues to fall.
During the days when the sun is out and about, wear shorts, short dresses and tight pants.
Try to avoid dressing in loose pants, skirts, or dresses in case of a sudden down pour or an onslaught of mud. Wear rain boots, normal boots, sneakers or any waterproof closed toed shoe you can find. Keep in mind that you’re going to be doing a lot of walking, so make sure your shoes are broken in before the Highland Festival
The Rules of the Highland Festival
Highland Festival veteran attendees that return year after year say that it is one of the craziest yet incredible events that they have ever attended. Despite the large throngs of attendees at every Highland Games , this festival still manages to keep up its reputation and provides a barrel of laughs every time.
When it comes to the rules of the game, the Highland festival is fairly simple depending on which competition you are watching. For example, in the Leide Mezig, or lazy stick, spectators watch two men sit down and try to lift each other off the ground while pulling a stick back and forth. In the bagpipe competition, the man or woman with the best song wins.
If you are interested in participating, don’t hesitate! Look up all the different games and competitions you can join before you get to the Highland Games. Preparation is everything and will get you ready for most of the competitions at the games. Whether or not the prize itself is worth it, many attendees participate just for the sheer fun of genuine competition. If you’re looking for a rhyme or reason to this event apart from having fun, there really isn’t one, and that’s what makes it so great!
If you’ve never been to a festival like this before, consider checking out Highland Games videos from the past. Though the experience can be shocking at first and a little violent, this festival is pretty easy to love for newbies (and everyone else!)
What to Bring to the Scottish Highland Games
The Highland Games is pretty much a hands on festival, so you don’t need to prepare that much in advance or even buy tickets to the main event—it’s a free experience! Bring an adventurous spirit and your walking shoes as you will be surrounded by grass and steep inclines.
If you plan to stay for an extended period in Scotland, come prepared with cash, protection from the sun, an umbrella, and extra water—it gets very hot if you are outside all day.While preparing for your trip to Braemar, bring sunblock, water bottles, bug spray, extra socks, waterproof clothing and anything else you would normally take to an outdoor festival. Consider bringing binoculars so you can enjoy all of the experience, even from far away.
If you’re walking from afar to get to the festival grounds, try packing light as you will be carrying your bags for the entire day. Try to take some non perishable snacks with you to hold you in between meals. Take extra water bottles and reusable vessels so that you and your friends stay hydrated through the weekend.
The best thing about the Highland Games is the opportunity to still enjoy the festival while having the opportunity to join yourself or just getting to sit back and watch others participate. If you are participating, be sure you come fully prepared!
Who Attends the Scottish Highland Games?
While many festivals out there are family friendly, this one is for the most part! Most anyone and everyone are allowed to experience the Highland Games spectacle from afar. Parents that do bring children with them are encouraged to keep them far away from the more dangerous competitions.
The main participants of the Highland Games are young people that are healthy enough to roll down a hill.is a great place for families to enjoy the autumn season together. The majority of the games’ attendees are local men and women that are ready to participate in some of their most well loved traditions.
Where to Stay for the Highland Games
When you are checking out what kind of hotels or homes to rent, look through all the travel options on the festival website. The Highland Games partners with certain companies to offer complete festival packages that include the cost of traveling to and from the festival as well accommodations.
Check out the best local hotels in the area or look on Air BnB for nearby homes that people have up for rent. You’ve already traveled so far, once you’ve made it to the festival grounds. staying within walking distance is the easiest thing to do. Whatever you choose, be sure to book months in advance, as the accommodations surrounding the festival do fill up fast.
Getting to the Highland Games
If you’re traveling to get to the Highland Games, you may have a long journey ahead of you. Though most people fly into Birmingham, it is an hour away from the site of the event. No matter where you fly into, you should take a shuttle to get to the hill.
Many people that have attended in years gone by strongly suggest taking a car with you into the festival. So rent a car, and if not take a cab, bus or shuttle to the hill as there is parking nearby. You will still end up doing a fair amount of walking though as the nearby streets are closed to accommodate the festival so prepare yourself for that.
If you haven’t purchased your plane ticket yet, don’t wait any longer! The Highland Games, and the most interesting experience of your life, are waiting for you!
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