Highland games are sporting spectacles like no other. World-class challengers from across the globe flock to these events to do battle. You'll see heavyweights with the caber, stone or hammer, lighter athletes on the track, field and hill and Highland dancers take to the stage. And all this amid the emotive skirl of the pipes and flash of clan colours on kilts.
Traditional Highland games take place across Argyll during the summer months. They’re big events for the local community, and they attract visitors from far and wide too. As well as traditional Highland athletics, dancing and piping competitions, you’ll often find kids’ activities, local food and drink stalls, ceilidh music and more. Attending a Highland games is a great day out for all the family.
Watching is all well and good, but what about taking part? If you want to compete, you’ll need to contact the individual Highland games. Most of the events will require pre-entry, although some, such as tug-o-war and hill runs, can usually be entered on the day.
Luss Highland Games – 6th July
Luss Highland Games takes place in the village of Luss on the shores of Loch Lomond, With Highland dancing, solo piping, wrestling, light field, heavyweights, cycling and running races, it’s a real spectacle in a stunning location. It’s also the focus of the annual gathering of the Clan Colquhoun.
Rosneath Highland Gatherings – 14th July
In another lochside setting ia the Rosneath Highland Gathering. It takes place at Howie Park in Rosneath on the shores of the Gareloch near Helensburgh. It’s a fantastic family day out, with events including running, heavy weights, solo piping, wrestling and Highland dancing.
Inveraray Highland Games – 16th July
Held in the grounds of Inveraray Castle, the Inveraray Highland Games celebrates Highland culture and heritage with field and track events, piping and Highland dancing competitions and 'heavy events' including the world championships for tossing the caber! There are also food and drink stands, children's entertainment and many trade.
Mull Highland Games – 18th July
The Mull Highland Games takes place in Erray Park in Tobermory on the island of Mull. The backdrop is spectacular. This traditional Highland Games features Highland dancing, tossing the caber and hammer throwing as well as piping and track events.
Southend Highland Games – 20th July
Head to the very south of Kintyre for the Southend Highland Games. There’s piping, Highland dancing and a host of other events and activities taking place.
Taynuilt Highland Games – 20th July
Taynuilt Highland Games in a traditional event held in a beautiful rural setting with Highland dancing, piping, track and field, caber tossing and tug o' war, plus side stalls and trade stands.
Oban Highland Games – 22nd August
The Oban Highland Games, or ‘Argyllshre Gathering’, is steeped in tradition. It's one of the largest Highland Gatherings in Scotland and attracts international visitors and competitors to its events, many of which are for Scottish championship titles.
Once the games are finished, you can try ceilidh dancing at The View and sample some bagpiping, accordion and Highland dancing.
Bute Highland Games – 24th August
There’s loads to experience at the Bute Highland Games in Rothesay on the island of Bute. Listen to the pipe bands, marvel at the skill of the Highland dancers and the prowess and strength of the heavy event athletes and wrestlers and see just what Shinty is all about! There’s also a 10K Road Race as part of the event.
Cowal Highland Gathering – 29th to 31st August
The Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon is another spectacular affair and home to the World Highland Dancing Championships. You'll also find heavy athletes throwing the Cowal Stone, which is twice the size of an ordinary shot putt.
Check out our events diary for more inspiring Argyll events.