Did I hear you ask, “More Highland Games?” Well the answer is, yes we have already been to a large Highland Gathering at Blair Atholl with the lovely Kiwi couple Brooke and Michael (The Atholl Highland Gathering). This more local Gathering was more like a trip down memory lane for us. We visited the Kenmore Highland Games during our last HelpX stay in Scotland in 2017 and decided that we should go to support this community event. Add in the fact that Kenmore is a lovely village at the head of Loch Tay, a beautiful sunny evening and the result is four of us jumping in the trusty VW Golf for the 15 minute journey to Kenmore.
JWalkers plus Two
You may be wondering who the extra two were in the car, well they would be Scott and Callum. Jonno in his infinite way with names has christened them Topknot and Grizzly (we are ashamed to say we have no photographic proof of this description but I can verify that they are accurate descriptions.) T&G knew that we were heading to the games and asked if they could come along. The loyal and steadfast VW Golf which has over 150,000 miles on the clock was feeling a little poorly but we had the OK to coax it gently to the 6 miles or so to Kenmore for the 5.30pm start. We weren’t sure if it was a happening enough scene for T&G but, for us, part of travelling is to experience local culture and there is nothing more Scottish than the events at a Highland Games.
Dancing, Heavies, Races, Piping and a Hill Race
As with most other Highland Games, standard events are Highland Dancing accompanied by a lone piper, the Heavies competing in Shot, Hammer, Tossing the Caber and other strength challenges, a Piping Competition and a variety of races for children and adults. What is unique to these games is the throwing the Tirinie Stone and the Hill Race.
The Tirinie Stone is a almost spherical stone found on Tirinie Farm in Kenmore. The catch to this is that the stone weights 101lbs and the best throw recorded is 170 inches. The other event, the Hill Race is an 8km run up a hill adjacent to the venue and back down. The winning time was under 40 minutes which was pretty impressive.
The Heavies were very impressive too. The record was broken for throwing the Tirinie Stone and when Lukasz Wenta (not such a Scottish name!) managed to Toss the Caber huge cheer went up. Evidently the unscottish dry conditions meant that the caber didn’t sink into the grass as it should to give it sufficient trajectory. All very technical.
After wandering around the various stalls and listening to the melting pot of pipes, cheers for runners, announcements and grunts of exertion from the Heavies it was time to meet up with T&G who had done things at their “far out“, “sweet” and done it all, seen it all way. We were surprised to hear that they were quite impressed with the whole thing.
Will we be back for the Kenmore Highland Games 2019? We shall see. The date has already been set as Wednesday 3rd July 2019 so it is in our diary and if you are anywhere within reach of Kenmore and fancy a small, community, feel-good gathering you could do far worse than head to Kenmore. Maybe even have a go at one of the races – there is prize money at stake. Are you tempted at the £135 for the winners of the Tug-o-War?