The highland games are events held throughout the year in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture. They are often in conjunction with festivals and full of rich traditions. In their original form many centuries ago, Highland games revolved around athletic and sports competitions.
For a full report of the history of the highland games, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Highland_games
The Caber Toss is the signature event of the Highland Games. A Caber (gaelic for "Tree") is a tree that has been cut and trimmed down so one end is slightly wider than the other. It can vary length from 16 to 22 feet and between 100 and 180 pounds.
The objective of this event is for the athlete to flip a "12 o’clock” (which is considered a perfect toss) meaning that the athlete will "pick" the caber (the act of leaning down and popping the caber up into their hands), run with the caber and then attempt to flip it so that it lands perfectly straight in front of them or pointing to 12 o'clock on an imaginary clock face on the ground. Points are awarded from 9 o'clock to 3 o'clock, and even if the athlete does not flip the caber they are awarded points for how far it goes over before it falls back in degrees.
This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball (weighing 16 or 22 lb. for men or 12 or 16 lb. for women) is attached to the end of a shaft about 4 feet in length and made out of wood, bamboo, rattan, or plastic. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled about one’s head and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.
This event is similar to the modern-day shot put as seen in the Olympic games. Instead of a steel shot, a large stone of variable weight is often used. There are also some differences from the Olympic shot put in allowable techniques. There are two versions of the stone toss events, differing in allowable technique. The “Braemar Stone” uses a 20–26 lb stone for men (13–18 lb. for women) and does not allow any run up to the toeboard or “trig” to deliver the stone, i.e., it is a standing put. In the “Open Stone” using a 16–22 lb. stone for men (or 8–12 lb. for women), the thrower is allowed to use any throwing style so long as the stone is put with one hand with the stone resting cradled in the neck until the moment of release. Most athletes in the open stone event use either the “glide” or the “spin” techniques.
Weight for Distance
There are actually two separate events, one using a light (28 lb for men and 14 lb for women) and the other a heavy (56 lb for men, 42 lb for masters men, and 28 lb for women) weight. The weights are made of metal and have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. The implement is thrown using one hand only, but otherwise using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins.
Weight Over Bar
The athletes attempt to toss a 56 pound (4 stone) weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.
The sheaf toss is a traditional Scottish agricultural sport event originally contested at country fairs. A pitchfork is used to hurl a burlap bag stuffed with straw over a horizontal bar above the competitor's head. Typical weight for the bag is 16 pounds.