Highland Athletic Events
Tossing the Caber The origin of this most traditional of all Scottish athletic events is obscure, even though records of its existence (“ye tossing of ye bar”) date back to the 16th Century and may have begun as a military discipline to breach fortifications. The object is to toss the 100 to 200 pound, 18-19 foot long caber, end-over-end so that it lands with the bottom of the small end pointing away from the contestant. The athlete with the straightest toss is the winner. Distance has no bearing. Contestants have 3 tries.
Weight Toss & Weight Throw
These events involve rounds using two metal weights, one of 28 pounds and the other 56 pounds thrown for distance, with the 56 lb weight also thrown for height. The weights are traditionally block or bell-shaped with a curved or angular grip on a short chain.
The hammer throw became popular in the Scottish Highlands as a pastime among strong, young men who gathered in the late afternoon at the local blacksmith shop. There, the smith’s long-handled 22-pound hammer was thrown to prove one’s strength and agility. The official weight of the present day hammer is 22 pounds. The contestant is given three throws and is scored on the greatest distance achieved.
Tossing the Sheaf
In this contest, a 16-pound sheaf of hay, enclosed in a burlap bag, is tossed by pitch fork over a free swinging, horizontal bar. The athletes have three opportunities to toss the sheaf at each height of the bar, which is raised at 6-inch intervals until all contestants, but one are eliminated.
Putting the Stone or Stone Toss
The event, known in Gaelic as “Clachneart,” is another test of strength and coordination common to Scottish games. Thought to be related to if not derived from the ancient, “stone of strength,” the manly art has a history as old as Scotland itself. The stone weighs about 16 pounds and is 7 ¾ inches in diameter. It is thrown much like the modern shot put. Judging is on the longest of the three throws only.