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?
Oh ya 🙂
Oh, I love it! He-men in short shorts! 🙂
LOL!! Doesn’t he look like a ballerina in the last shot?
The last photo is priceless!
I have a few like that. Maybe I should do a “ballerina” post :).
He’s a BEAST!! Oooooooh!
I know, right? The funny thing is that he won most of the competitions we saw, and yet he was the smallest guy there!
Small but mighty! ok…we’ll stop talking now.
Wow! You really did a great job in capturing the full action of the hammer throw.
Thank you so much :). I was quite pleased myself because these were taken handheld using a telephoto lens, so I wasn’t sure how good they were going to turn out.
Come on! didn’t you tell him to take the shorts off. This is how I look when I toss by beer bottle away
Every time I tried to yell it out, Mikey put his hand over my mouth :). Now I’m laughing picturing you tossing beer bottles HAHA!! Actually, all I could think of as they swung the hammer in huge arcs while contorting their bodies was how the heck can they still walk afterwards. I would have put my back out on the first throw! It was really amazing to watch, and I came away with great respect for these athletes. What a crazy weekend though :). After the festival on Friday night and all day Saturday, Mikey and I went to the casino and didn’t get home until 2am. Today is my first day back to work, and all I want to do is crawl back into bed. It’s going to be a longggggg day, so try and keep me entertained ok?
should I send over the dancing bears?
Oh man, it’s been crazy for my first day back – clients making a last minute appointment and me having to draft a whole bunch of documents before they get here. Arghhhhh!! I’m going to need to sit back and read all night tonight right? 🙂
Don’t you just love the first day back?
I survived :), and then I came home to an empty house and read for hours and watched two of my favourite TV shows. All better now!!
Under the Dome (based on the Stephen King book) and The Amazing Race Canada. Although I hear the Under the Dome series is really different from the book which I have but haven’t read yet, I’m really enjoying it. As for The Amazing Race, I have watched the American version for years and love seeing all the places around the world they get to travel to, but it’s really cool to see this version where they only travel within Canada because it’s a huge country and there are so many amazing places to see!
Very cool Cindy. Sounds like it was fun.
Oh it was!! You should check it out one year. It’s a great place for photography.
Whoa those are some crazy contortions right there! Awesome action shots!
I too am disappointed by the kilt situation. 😉
Thanks Becky, and seeing how much you and I seem to have in common, it doesn’t surprise me that you were disappointed too :).
Great sense of brute power in these shots. Superb.
That’s a great way to describe it – brute power! I was amazed by their strength – it was very fascinating to watch. Thanks David :).
Thanks LouAnn :). Great shots, great food, great events, great pipe bands = AWESOME weekend!!
glad you had a good time–you deserved it on your vacation!
At least they were figure hugging shorts! I’m so jealous – you got to see Diana Gabaldon! I love the Outlander series! OMG, I would have needed Depends!
Yes, the shorts weren’t bad at all :). As for Diana, she is super nice and a very interesting and humorous speaker. When I saw her there 2 years ago, I even got a couple of books signed and had my picture taken with her. Thinking of her makes me want to read all the books again in anticipation of the 8th book coming out in 2014!!!!
These are some great action shots! Well Done!
Thank you :). I’m glad you liked them. Have you ever gone to the Fergus Scottish Festival? If not, you should check it out next year. It’s a lot of fun!
Thanks from the Camerons & the McDonalds in me . . .
You are very welcome from the McLaren in me … and stay tuned because I will be posting more that you may enjoy :).
Great action shots… very impressive…
Oooh, I don’t think I’ve ever had my photos called impressive before – like that word :). Thanks my friend!!
Oh my goodness. Those pictures are amazing. Seriously.
Thank you so much. You just made my day :). Welcome to the loonybin!
Consider it my good deed for the day! 🙂
I’ve really got to get to a Highland Games one of these years. Thanks for reminding me about the one in Fergus!
You are very welcome :). We had a great time – you should definitely go next year!