The B.C. Legion’s Highland Gathering coming to Ladysmith June 17-19 will offer this community the rare opportunity to view what a true Highland Gathering is all about.
The music competitions, drum major competitions, feasting and heavy games have something for everyone to enjoy. The big day will kick off with a grand parade down First Avenue. That leads to Aggie Field where all the competitions and demonstrations are held.
The heavy games are not unlike our logger competitions where people compete in skills they use in every day life. Keep in mind these games were developed in the 1500’s when men, not machines, did the heavy work. And these guys do it in Kilts.
When the Scot’s came across a narrow chasm they needed to cross they would throw logs across for a foot bridge. From this they developed the caber toss. The caber itself is a pole that varies in length from five to 6.5 metres and weigh from 45 to 80 kg. with the smaller end rounded off enough for a thrower to hold in their cupped hands. He then takes a short run with the caber and then stops and pulls the caber so that the large end hits the ground and the small end flips over and faces away from the thrower. Scoring is like the face of a clock (our digital generation may have to visit a grandparent for a visual) with the player facing 12:00, a judge behind the thrower calls how close the competitor is to the perfect throw of 12:00 that the small end of the caber lands. A caber pointing at 11:00 would be worth more than 10:30 but the same as 1:00. A caber that lands and falls back towards the thrower is scored lower than any that falls away but will still be based upon the maximum vertical angle that the caber achieved.
The hammer throw, and stone throw put are pretty self explanatory with different weights for categories. The sheaf toss is a bag made of burlap or plastic and stuffed with chopped rope, straw or mulch and weighing between seven to 10 kg.
The sheaf is over a cross bar with a pitch fork. The bar is raised after each player has had three tries to get over the cross bar.
For more information please visit www.highlandgathering.ca.