Scotland in the early days was ever a warlike nation. If the Scots were not fighting someone else, they were fighting amongst themselves. Indeed, some of the bloodiest parts of Caledonian history recalls the feuds between clans. Probably the most fabled among these is the tragic story of Glencoe, where the Campbells rose in the night and murdered their hosts, the MacDonalds.
Clan chiefs had to be ever alert to the threat from others and the need to keep his men sharp and battle practised. Presumably to stop them knocking lumps out of each other, “games” or “competitions” were organised to allow these warriors to test their strength and fitness against each other.
Over time these events were gathered together, forming the first “Highland Games” where clans could eventually compete in marginally less warlike situations.
Today’s Highland Games are much more civilised, of course, although the echoes of history remain, particularly in the heavyweight events. Stirling Highland Games events have previously included athletics, cycling, heavyweights, wrestling, tug o war, light field and piping.
Stirling Highland Games is one of the areas signature annual cultural events offering visitors a mix of traditional highland games, food and drink and fun challenges throughout the day.
A BRIEF HISTORY
Stirling was fairly late in holding Highland games. Balfron, Thornhill, Denny, Alloa and Tillicoultry all had annual games before the first Stirling Highland Games were held in July 1870. The site chosen was Wellgreen, and 4,000 spectators turned up on the day.
The other major Scottish Highland Games in the area is Bridge of Allan Highland Games which first held its games in 1851.