Highland Games: Swiss Style!

I’m a bit behind on our adventure updates, but will do my best to play catch up today.

Last Saturday (well, two Saturdays ago), we went to a Swiss Scottish Highland Games Festival. Most of you reading this probably know that Heath used to compete fairly regularly in the highland games circuit in Texas and Oklahoma, and performed at both the Scarborough Renaissance Festival (which is where we first met) and the Texas Renaissance Festival.

For a detailed description of traditional highland games, here’s a great article on Wikipedia. Heath has competed in all events listed there. And my dear friend Kirsti has been in several highland dancing competitions. So, needless to say, we’re no strangers to how things work at a highland games festival. There were a few things that the Swiss do differently (or at least at this particular games).

The caber toss – the characteristic event that is usually the main feature of any highland games festivities. Usually this event showcases the competitor’s strength, balance, and sheer will. The goal of the event is to lift, balance, and flip or rotate a very long, heavy pole end over end.

In the games we saw here in Switzerland, they used a much shorter caber, and made it a game of how far you could pitch the caber – basically a distance game. It was… odd. I’ve never seen the event played like that. As you can see by the picture, the competitor ran up to a marker, and then threw the caber as far as he could. Since it was such a wee little caber, they always rotated it on each throw. After the caber landed, one of the judges ran a line from the marker to the furthest end of the caber and took a measurement. Continue reading

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