Highland Games Adventures in Scotland

This past weekend, Blythe and I did a very Scottish thing and attended a highland games! The highland games take place from May through September and each weekend are located in a different town in the Scottish Highlands. Competitors travel to the different games to rack up points and awards. It reminded me somewhat of the U.S. rodeo circuit. Despite some rain during the day, it has probably been one of our favorite things we’ve done in Scotland!


The town of Ceres (pronounced like “Series”) has held a highland games since the year 1314 when Robert the Bruce granted the town an official games as thanks for their help in the Battle of Bannockburn. This was the 702nd year of the Ceres games and we could not have been more excited to attend.

The small town is extremely proud of their games. The entire main street and town center is blocked off and allocated for the shops, food stalls, a kids carnival, and the games arena. It is a community effort to put on this event every year and the town puts its heart and soul (and probably some blood, sweat, and tears) into pulling it off. We had an absolute blast!

We took the bus from Edinburgh to Ceres first thing in the morning and arrived just before noon. We were greeted by the cuteness that is little boys wrestling in kilts.

These first year wrestlers were so tiny. It was a cuteness overload.

As the day went on and older and older kids/adults wrestled the event became more fierce than cute. Watching the wee wrestlers was a hoot and a half.

All of the quintessential highland games events were represented:

Highland dancing

A Pipe Band


Foot racing



And (Blythe’s favorite) the Heavyweights

These men were impressive (and slightly terrifying) with their seemingly impossible feats of strength. They threw around stones, chunks of iron, and telephone poles like they were nothing.

There was a German Travel Channel TV crew out filming their host “competing” in the heavy weight events. Even though he came in dead last in everything he seemed like he was a having a great time and the other competitors rallied to help him out. It was great fun! Also, they definitely filmed me and Blythe in the crowd so we might be on German TV!


About mid afternoon, the heavyweights played tug of war against the townspeople.

Apparently, it’s a tradition for the town to collect its strongest men to try to win a tug of war against the heavyweight champions.

The Ceres townspeople came up with a strategy to wear ski boots to help anchor them…


It didn’t help.

The heavywights pulled them (and the German TV host) across the line in a matter of seconds.


So the games were super fun to watch, and the food was delicious too!

I would show you pictures of our food, but it was so good that we ate it all before we could snap any pictures.

Probably our favorite two bites of the day were pulled pork from a whole hog roast and some fresh from the fryer mini donuts topped with sugar.

I’m still dreaming about those mini donuts.

If you’re ever in Scotland during the summer months, look up a highland games and spend a day there. There’s no better way to get a look at a culture than to attend their cultural events.

If you’ll be visiting Scotland in 2016, here is the link to the 2016 games list.



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