A cornerstone of the Scottish Highland Games is the Heavy Athletics competition. The traditional events of the contested events are simply using implements that would be found around the farm in the Scottish Highlands.
The athlete with the best combined score wins the overall competition. But like golf, the lowest score wins as a win in an event is worth 1 point, 2nd place is worth 2 points, and so forth.
Photo by Benjamin Greene
Order Of Athletic Events
The Crystal Coast Highland Games will have invited athletes only. The Amateurs will compete in the morning of the games with the Professionals competing in the afternoon. The above order of events will be the order of contested events for each of the classes of athletes.
Stone Put - also known as the Clach Neart or Stone of Strength is usually the first contested event in Heavy Athletics. Think of the shot put, but only replace the shot with a river stone. The athlete must start with the stone on the neck and then put the stone as far as possible. The farthest distance wins. The Open Stone is 16 pounds, and the athlete may move their feet for the throw. The Braemar Style Stone Put is 22 lbs to 28 lbs and is tossed from a standing position.
Weights for Distance
Weights for Distance - uses the traditional dimension of weight, 14 lbs or 1 Stone, as the basis of the weight thrown. The Light Weight for Distance is a metal block attached to a chain and ring that is 2 Stone or 28 lbs in weight and is thrown for distance. The Heavy Weight for Distance is also a metal block attached to a chain with a metal ring that is 4 Stone or 56 lbs, which is also thrown for distance. The athlete usually turns 2 complete rotations to release the weight and also the athlete's feet must stay within the prescribed throwing parameters.
Photo Credit: Benjamin Greene
Caber Toss - the signature event of Scottish Heavy Athletics. A tree is used as the implement which is called a Caber and can be from 17 feet to over 20 feet in length and weighs 100 to 140 lbs. The Caber is stood on end and the athlete must pick it up from the ground into the hands. The athlete must then run and release the caber in an attempt to turn the caber over. This is a competition of not only strength but of accuracy, as the best toss lands straight away from the athlete in the 12:00 position. The judge gives a score on this clock face to determine the winner. If the caber is not turned or flipped over, a side judge gives a score between 0 and 90 degrees. Your announcer will explain more of the rules at the competition.
Weight for Height
Weight for Height - is simple to describe. The athlete swings the 56 lb weight by the ring between their legs in a standing position and releases it up and over a high bar. The top-height cleared wins the competition.
Sheaf Toss (not sheep toss!) - is a bag of hay that is also tossed over a high bar. A pitch fork is used to toss the sheaf over the bar. The professionals use a 20 lb sheaf and the amateurs use a 16 sheaf. Great heights are usually seen in this crowd pleasing event.