H is for Harbours and Highland Games

Aberlour Highland Games

Burghead Harbour

Harbours – The Moray Coast was recently named by National Geographic as one of the most beautiful and unspoilt coastlines in the world. So, if you enjoy a nice leisurely day enjoying beautiful scenery, sandy beaches and unique rock formations then I can help you with great itineraries. Visit the Harbour towns of Buckie, Burghead and Cullen for examples of fishing villages, ice house and try the famous Cullen Skink.

Highland Games – The Scottish Highland games is a historical cultural festival which has taken place every summer for hundreds of years. The Games is a chance for each local district to continue to the tradition of hosting an exciting, vibrant celebration of Scottish culture. If you are planning to visit Scotland this summer, then you may wish to consider stopping off at a local Highland Games during your visit. We have collected some local Highland Games weekend events which boast some of the best showcases of historical Highland Bagpiping, Highland Dancing and of course the athletically challenging Highland Games themselves.

Pipe band

The Highland Games is a large Scottish cultural event which takes place annually across the country throughout the year. These events host the Highland Games competitions in which prestigious athletes will compete for grand prizes. 

The Highland Games is a large Scottish cultural event which takes place annually across the country throughout the year. These events host the Highland Games competitions in which prestigious athletes will compete for grand prizes. The Games themselves will take place on one day and some of the gruelling challenges includes the Caber Toss (a caber is a 6 meter and 80kg wooden log), the Stone Put, the Scottish Hammer Throw, the Weight over Bar. Each Games will host local and international athletes each year as they make their annual tour of Scotland competing all over the historical Highland Games.

As the name suggests, the Highland Games festival has been traditionally based in the Highlands of Scotland. Locally to the Blervie House area, in summer 2019, visitors can look forward to Highland Games events taking place in Forres (6th July), Tomintoul and Inverness (20th July) and Nairn (17th August). The Highland Games today are a celebration of Scottish culture including kilts, tartan, pipe bands and wonderful food and drink. It is also a significant homecoming event for which residents living abroad will return home. Yet the Games are also an excellent occasion for first time visitors to Scotland to enjoy. Expect to see local bars and restaurants booked up and open late for the weekend and take the time to enjoy the welcoming atmosphere.

Homecoming is just one part of the traditions of the Highland Games which are being kept alive in Scotland today. Those participating, as well as spectating the Games, are part of a practice which has been ongoing in Scotland for hundreds of years with the oldest Highland Games believed to be the Ceres Games in Fife in 1314. Yet the Highland Games began historically as a congregation of local clans in the area and the punishing tasks in the competition were the means of selecting the most skilled and strongest men to fight for the Clan Chief.

However, the sharing of music and dance was also greatly important to the event and would bring the Clan notoriety. Looking back at the history of Highland Games, the events rose in popularity after the fall of the Jacobite uprisings in the 1700’s when the practices of Highland life- tartan, kilts, traditional music and dance – were outlawed in the Scottish Highlands. This caused the Games to become very popular when the laws were relaxed over time as a means of maintaining and protecting these traditions. Yet the Highland Games became an annual event largely from the 1800’s when labour unions took over the maintenance of the events and the Games received a great endorsement by Queen Victoria at this time. The Queen often frequented the Braemar Gathering in Ballater as do the modern British Royal family.

Nairn coastline

The Highland Games also provide an opportunity for those the area to visit local sites. For example, the Forres Games takes place a twenty-minute walk away from both the historical Nelson’s Tower and the Forres Town Museum. Those visiting the Nairn Games should not miss out on the nationally acclaimed beautiful beach and harbour area which provides a lovely seaside setting for a Scottish day trip.

The towns of Keith, Banff and Elgin are also noteworthy as they are situated in scenic Scottish whisky country and are surrounded by beautiful landscapes with many local sites of interest.