After a week of holidays spent at home relaxing and reading, what a better way to end my time off than by celebrating my Scottish background at the Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario. During this three-day event, visitors from throughout the world enjoy all aspects of traditional highland games, including highland dancing, piping, and the heavy events competition, with activities such as the traditional caber toss, hammer throw and tug-of-war.
Two years ago, I went on the Saturday with two friends of mine, mostly to hear Diana Gabaldon speak, the famous author of the Outlander novel series set in Scotland, but we ended up checking out some of the heavy events too, and they were fascinating to watch. It was something that I knew my husband would enjoy, so I suggested that him and I go this year. As it’s only a 45 minute drive to Fergus, we decided to head over Friday night to see the Military Tattoo, a show featuring the lively rhythm of marching bands, elegant dances, the pipes and drums, and breathtaking military displays.
Then Saturday morning we headed back over to check out the rest of the festival, and specifically the heavy events. I had a blast taking hundreds of action shots of these incredibly strong athletes. It was hard to decide what to share with you first, but I finally decided on the Hammer Throw. This is the definition on the festival’s website:
These ancient weapons come in various sizes 12, 16 and 22 lb. They are tossed similar to the Olympic style: severe rotation imparts momentum to the hammer, then it is released for distance. The differences are mostly to the hammer, that being a heavier head and a wicker/rattan handle. The handle is strong and can flex on impact. Most athletes wear special hammer boots with bayonets on them to maintain ground contact during rotation.”
It was amazing to watch, and this guy, Matt Doherty, cleaned up in most of the heavy events. Frankly, I could have watched him all day (wink, wink, nudge, nudge), but it was a little disappointing to find out that they actually wear shorts under their kilts LOL!!! I know I’m bad, but you know you were all wondering the same thing weren’t you?