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Highland Games

The Highland Games is a Scottish festival known for unique sporting and athletic events including caber toss, weight throw, tug-o-war, and hammer throw. Highland dancing and bagpipe competitions are also part of the festival.

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History
The first recorded account of the Highlands Games is from the 11th century when King Malcolm III of Scotland summoned athletes to compete in a foot race so that he could choose the fastest to be his royal messenger. In Canada, the Highland Games have been celebrated in Fergus, Ontario for 72 years!

Where
In order to offer all of the events traditionally included in the Highland Games a large arena or field is required.

How to play
There are Highland Games competitions across Canada (http://www.topeventscanada.com/canada-events-festivals-themes-canada-scottish-highland-games.html) throughout the summer months. Heavy event competitions have come to symbolize the Highland Games, so be prepared for events that test strength and stamina. The caber toss is one of the most popular events – competitors carry a long, tapered pole or log, and attempt to launch it into the air so that it turns head over tail before hitting the ground at ’12 o’clock’ to the competitor. Stone put, similar to shot put, sees competitors launching stones of various weights as far as possible. Scottish hammer throw is another popular event where athletes launch a metal ball into the air by spinning it over their heads before releasing it. There is also the weight throw, tug-of-war, and sheaf toss. In order to host your own Highland Games, use some rocks or logs around the yard and make sure you have a safety zone far away from other competitors and windows! Then, put on a kilt and test your Scottish strength!

Suggested equipment
- Caber
- Stone put
- Weight (for weight throw)
- Bundle of straw
- Kilt
- Hammer
- Bagpipes

Adaptations
Physical activity in Canada includes everyone, regardless of any ability or circumstance. Some sports and activities may, however, require a few adaptations to make them as accessible as possible. Below you’ll find recommendations and suggestions on how to accommodate individuals that may have limitations or different needs. With a positive attitude and a little ingenuity, any activity can be made enjoyable for all.
Sensory
Highland games have so many activities to choose from. Whether it is playing in a musical band, throwing events, dance or cultural activities, the choices are endless. For participants with a sensory limitation, ensure that proper communication is established. Provide those with vision loss to have a sighted guide.
Learning/Cognitive Disabilities
Highland games have so many activities to choose from. Whether it is playing in a musical band, throwing events, dance or cultural activities, the choices are endless. Each activity can be modified to suit the participant’s needs by participating in pairs, using lots of demonstration and repetition when teaching, or providing incentives. Make it fun!
Mobility Limitation
Highland games have so many activities to choose from. Whether it is playing in a musical band, throwing events, dance or cultural activities, the choices are endless. Individuals with mobility limitations may wish to participate in a seated position. Substitute throwing heavy objects with lighter objects. Participate with a friend and have fun.

Benefits of Highland Games

The Canadian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines outline the amount and type of physical activity you need at every age and stage of life. And, for the first time, the new 24-hour Movement Guidelines for Children & Youth also include sleep. Following the guidelines will help reduce the risk of chronic disease, lead to a more focused mind, a stronger, fitter body, and all in all, a more enjoyable life.

See Benefits and Guidelines

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Michelle Murray
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