Using the Highland Games as an audition, the king could select the finest athletes for his personal guards and entourage. The games were also a way for the clans to demonstrate their relative strength to one another without actually having to start a war. Some of the implements used in the games were created as alternatives to traditional weapons when England forbid any Scotsman from bearing arms.
Although other activities were always a part of the festivities, many today still consider the Highland Athletics to be what the games are all about. In short, the athletics are the Games, and all the other activities are considered the entertainment. Regardless, it remains true today that the athletic competitions are at least an integral part of the events and one in particular, the caber toss, has come to symbolize the Highland Games.
We are pleased to announce we will be hosting three(3) categories for our games. Class A, Class B, Masters and the Women's Division.
The Myrtle Beach Highland Games has teamed up with SHAG (Southeastern Highland Athletics Group) and HGL (Highland Games League) to bring you one of the finest Heavy Athletics Events on the Eastcoast. We look forward to seeing you at this spectacular event and hope you will choose to try it for yourself at our own Patron Games!
How the Games are Played
Open Stone Put
Similar to the shot put, except a stone is used that weighs usually between 16 and 22 pounds. It is called "open" style because any style of putting is allowed with the spin and glide styles being the most popular. The throwing area is a box 4'6" wide and 7'6" long. The thrower must keep one foot inside this area and not step over the back line or inside face of the trig or the throw is a foul.
Braemar Stone Put
This stone put uses a veavier stone - usually between 22 and 28 pounds - and it must be put from a standing position. The same throwing area and fouls for the open stone apply.
56 lb. Weight for Distance
The weight can be either block or spherical shaped with links and a handle. The overall length cannot exceed 18". The weight is thrown with one hand in a throwing area 4'6" x 9'. The thrower must keep one foot inside this area and not step over the back line or inside face of the trig or the throw is a foul.
The hammer has a lead or steel head with a bamboo or rattan handle affixed through a hole in the head. The overall length cannot exceed 50:. The athlete stands behind the trig with his back to the throwing area, winds the hammer around the head and releases over the shoulder. The athlete's feet must remain in a fixed position until the hammer is released. Boots with blades attached to the front of them are usually worn to keep the feet on the ground and in a fixed position. There are two different weights of hammers used - 16 lb. and 22 lb.
The Caber is a tree that has been cut and trimmed down so one end is slightly wider than the other. It can vary in length from 16 to 22 feet and between 100 and 180 pounds. The smaller end is rounded off so it will be easy to cup in the thrower's hand. The caber is stood up for the thrower with the large end up. The thrower hoist the caber up and cups the small end in his hands. He then takes a short run with the caber and then stops and pulls the caber so that the large end hits the ground and the small end flips over and faces away from the thrower. The caber is scored for accuracy as though the thrower is facing the 12:00 position on a clock face. A judge behind the thrower calls how close to the 12:00 position the small end of the caber lands, 12:00 being a perfect toss. If the caber is not turned, a side judge calls the degrees of the angle the caber makes with the ground. Sometimes a Challenge Caber is also used which is larger than the Games Caber.
The sheaf is either a 16 lb. or 20 lb. burlap or plastic bag stuffed with either chopped rope, straw or mulch. The sheaf is tossed over a cross bar with a pitch fork. Three attempts are allowed at each height. If the thrower misses all three tries at one height, then he is out of the competition.
Weight for Height
The weight for height is the same as used for distance except it is shorter. The weight is tossed over a cross bar with one hand. Three attempts are allowed at each height. If the thrower misses all three tries at one height, then he is out of the competition. There are two different weights of 28 lbs. and 56 lbs.
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