Highland Games Heavy Events are a fore runner of the modern Olympic Games.
Donald Dinnie from Birse, Aboyne was the worlds first sporting superstar due to his Highland Games exploits.
This is a collection of highland games heavy event photos from Aboyne Highland Games, Ballater Highland Games and Braemar Gathering. Photography by Bill Bagshaw photography
Highland Games Heavy events include tossing the caber, weight for distance, hammer throwing, putting the stone or ball, and weight over the bar.
Click here for The Dinnie StonesPutting the stone or ball. This is where the Olympic event of putting the shot came from.
Weight for distance. – The competitor spins around to throw a heavy weight on the end of a chain. One hand is used to throw the weight and the other arm is used for rotational balance. The competitor throws the weight as far as he can.
Throwing the hammer. The hammer is spun around the head several times using both hands and then released. The competitors have long spikes attached to the front of their boots to anchor them to the ground.
Weight over the bar (for height) A weight is thrown upwards over a bar; which is raised up, to assess the highest height achievable.
Tossing the caber. Competitors balance a long wooden pole on one end then run with it until they are going fast enough to tip it over end over end. The caber is thrown for accuracy and not for distance.
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The Falls of Feugh on the outskirts of Banchory is a great place to watch salmon jumping upstream over the rocks. The pedestrian walkway on the upstream side of the bridge is an superb vantage point to watch the salmon run. Salmon can be seen during a surprisingly long part of the year.
The winter salmon run starts in September and continues to November.
Lonach is by reputation Scotlands friendliest Highland Games. Lonach Gathering and March always takes place on the fourth Saturday in August at Bellabeg Park, Strathdon.
Click here to go to Lonach slideshowLonach banners fly on a beautiful misty Scottish morning. The Gathering comprises of Lonach March followed by Lonach Highland Games.
The fine tradition of The Gathering and March has been passed on from generation to generation. This Gathering is hard to beat for sheer spectacle and is always well attended. The Gathering patron is Sir James Forbes whose ancestors founded the Lonach Friendly Society. Sir James is shown in the slideshow donning his feathered cap to commence The March.
The March is headed by Lonach Pipe Band, followed by Clansmen who carry pikes. Everyone calls in for a dram of Scottish whisky at various patrons during the march. The marchers call in for a Scotch at the houses of several patrons including Candacraig, the former home of Billy Connolly.
The procession is always traditionally followed by a horse and cart ready to carry anything needed during The Lonach March. A replacement carthorse was used in 2013 as Rosa the normal horse was injured. After some initial spooking; at being part of a public event; Wull the new carthorse soon settled into his role.
The Dinnie Stones are located outside the Potarch Hotel between Aboyne & Banchory, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. Together they weigh approximately 8 cwt.
Legendary, world famous Scottish strongman Donald Dinnie was born at Birse by Aboyne in 1837, the son of a stonemason. Donald Dinnie was the worlds first sporting superstar and achieved international fame from his exploits in America, Canada and Australia.
Potarch hotel is currently closed and scheduled for redevolopment.The Dinnie Stones could be stored elsewhere
The Dinnie stones are 2 giant rocks. In the 1830’s huge iron rings were attached to the stones so that they could act as counterweights; for scaffolding; during the pointing of Potarch Bridge.
Ordinary folk would struggle to lift even the smallest Dinnie Stone. Donald Dinnie carried them both across the width of Potarch Bridge, and back – a distance of 4-5 yards.
Several people have successfully lifted both Dinnie Stones, but walking with them is completely different !
Both Dinnie Stones have only ever been both lifted and carried over a distance by 4 people:- Donald Dinnie himself, The late Calum Morrison of Aboyne, Glen Ross from Northern Ireland, and Peter Puzser of Slovakia.
The photo shows both Dinnie Stones being lifted by Aboyne strongman and Highland Games Heavies participant Tommy Fyvie. Potarch Bridge spans the beautiful River Dee, on Royal Deeside, Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Braemar Gathering takes place on the first Saturday in September. The Gathering is held at at The Princess Royal & Duke of Fife Memorial Park in the centre of Braemar. The patron of The Games is Her Majesty The Queen whose Scottish residence is nearby Balmoral Castle. Events start at 9.30 a.m.
The photo shows The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh; arriving in their Bentley; at Braemar Gathering. The Royal couple are accompanied by Prince Charles.
Parking facilities are on the fields on the edge of the village. The grassy banks of The Memorial Park form a great natural vantage point. You can also buy grandstand tickets in advance (recommended).
You are advised to arrive early to avoid traffic congestion. If you are coming over Glenshee watch out for red deer. The best chance of spotting red deer in summer is in the evenings. Remember if one runs across the road it’s likely to be immediately followed by several others.