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.
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!
Two stylish ladies seek out some shade under their parasols at a Highland Games in Bridge of Allan in the early 20th century.
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.
A classic caber toss taking place at a Highland Games in Callander in the early 20th century. We hope he was successful!
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.