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Stirlingshire’s Highland Games

Caber Toss Callander Games
Courtesy of the Stirling Archives.

Highland Games are held every summer across Scotland, and although some of the traditions seem ancient, Highland Games themselves are a relatively new invention. Whilst there would have been competitions across the highlands that involved hunting, fighting or even running, it’s hard to pinpoint a historical ‘Highland Games’ in the more modern sense.

When the Jacobite rebellion was finally defeated in 1746 at the Battle of Culloden, Highland culture was suppressed as a punishment; bagpipes were banned, as was the wearing of tartan dress. But thanks to a number of factors including the bestselling romantic novels of Walter Scott, the Romantic movement, and King George IV’s visit to Edinburgh in 1822, all things highland became very fashionable. Queen Victoria herself was a big fan of Scott’s ill-fated heroes and even created her very own fairy tale Scottish hideaway at Balmoral Castle.

Stirling Archives and The Stirling Smith have very kindly raided their extensive archives for images of Highland Games from Stirlingshire’s past, and we hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

 

Black and white image of Pipe band racing in full regalia.
Courtesy of Stirling Archives

An action shot of a Pipe Band Race at a Highland Games in Callander from the early 20th century. They must have been roasting dashing about in their full dress!

black and white image of people sitting in a field in edwardian gear, two women under parasols, a large crowd in the background.
Courtesy of the Stirling Archives.

Two stylish ladies seek out some shade under their parasols at a Highland Games in Bridge of Allan in the early 20th century.

Black and white image of a man sat outside a tent. An adult Donkey stands next to him and a young donkey has it's front legs over the mans lap.
Courtesy of the Stirling Archives.

An adorable donkey duo taking part in the Bridge of Allan Highland Games in the early 20th century. Showing animals is still a large part of Highland Games or Shows across Scotland today.

black and white image of a man in a kilt carrying a very long trunk of wood. Crowds in the background.
Courtesy of the Stirling Archives.

A classic caber toss taking place at a Highland Games in Callander in the early 20th century. We hope he was successful!

Black and white image of three people daning on a stage, with a bag piper playing in the background.
Courtesy of The Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum.

Three boys in Highland dress dance the Highland Fling to the tune of the Hillmen’s great pipes at the Aberfoyle and Gartmore Highland Games at Aberfoyle in 1927.

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