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Fun Facts About Various Highland Games Around the World

Here are several fun facts about some of our beloved games that you might find interesting in case you’re ever playing some Highland Games trivia!

  • The Braemar Gathering held every September in Aberdeenshire is considered the most prestigious Games in the world as it is attended by members of the Royal Family every year. Queen Elizabeth II only missed four games during her 70-year reign and was the longest serving Royal to be a member of the Braemar Royal Highland Society.
  • Looking for an interesting competition not usually found elsewhere? Look no further than the Alaska Scottish Highland Games which includes a (latex) Salmon Toss!
  • The Ceres Highland Games held each June in Fife is the oldest free games in Scotland and began under a Charter awarded by Robert the Bruce in recognition of the villagers’ support at the Battle of Bannockburn in 1314.
  • The largest event in terms of athletics is the Cowal Highland Gathering which boasts upwards of 3,500 athletes competing.
  • The largest event in terms of spectators is the Scottish Highland Gathering and Games hosted by the Caledonian Club of San Francisco held in Pleasanton, CA every year. It boasted nearly 50,000 spectators in 2015! Similarly, they are also the oldest games in the U.S. and will be celebrating 157 years in 2023.
  • The Royal Scottish Highland Games Association which is the governing body of events in Scotland requires all competitors in Heavy athletics to wear kilts.
  • Highland Dancing used to be an all-male event as it was once an act of warriors imitating epic deeds from Scottish folklore. Today it is more than 95% female.
  • The Paeroa Highland Games in New Zealand is the only town in NZ that also hosts a Tattoo alongside the games. 
  • The Birnam Highland Games in Perthshire also hosts the World Championship Haggis Eating Competition.
  • The oldest Highland Games in Canada are the Victoria Highland Games which will be celebrating 160 years in 2023, and the Antigonish Highland Games which will be celebrating 158 years in 2023.
  • Australia is home to the largest Highland Games in the Southern Hemisphere with their Bundanoon Highland Games in New South Wales.

Know of a Highland Game and/or Festival that has something unique that nobody else has? Write us and tell us about it to be included “Fun Facts…Part 2” coming soon! 


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Genesis Moss Keefer

Genesis Moss Keefer

My name is Genesis, and I'm an American of Scottish descent. I am also the creator of and the host of the Celebrating Scotland podcast! Like most of you, I have a passion for my Scottish heritage and ancestral history. When not traveling to different Highland Games and Festivals across southern California, you can usually find me listening to bagpipes and drinking Guinness. I have a Master's degree in Scottish Heritage from the University of Aberdeen in addition to being a Fellow with the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland. I am also a member of the Scottish American Athletics Association in addition to Scottish Heritage USA, and the Clan Campbell Society of North America.
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