Backhold wrestling can be seen all over Scotland and the North of England from May to October at Highland and Border Games.
The rules are simple, once the closed hold with the right hand under the opponent’s left is taken, the referee shouts ‘hold’ or ‘wrestle’ to commence the bout. The first wrestler to touch the ground or break their hold loses.
The sport is thought to be one of the earliest and most basic of martial arts and is depicted on crosses and standing stones dating from the 7th and 8th centuries. Variations of backhold exist in at least 10 other European countries including Iceland, Albania and Sardinia. Today the sport is organised into District, National and European Championships.
The English Cumberland & Westmoreland Wrestling Association has since 1900 insisted that their competitions, open to any wrestler, are the world championships.
In Scotland there are eight adult weight classes commencing at 9st 7lbs up to heavyweight at over 15st 7lbs.
Throws retain their robust early English names and there are many variations of the most important techniques which are hypes, buttocks, twists, hanks, backheels, strokes and inner-hooks.
For a full schedule of activities check out Whats On at Stirling Highland Games.