Highland Games, Golf and Other Sports
Scotland has a rich sporting heritage. Whilst it may be best known for its fantastic golf courses (and golfers), there are many other sports that should capture your attention. The Highlands, in particular, is famous for its Highland Games with the iconic “Heavies” events always a popular attraction.
Another Highland specialty is Shinty which is akin to Field Hockey, but with a little more danger in the mix.
Whatever your sporting interests, you will find something to entertain.
During the summer months from May to September, the Scottish Highlands plays host to many Highland Games & Gatherings. These include a variety of sporting and cultural activities and competitions with a clear social element adding to the enjoyment of the day.
The most iconic events probably belong to “The Heavies” who compete in a variety of strength tests, including “Tossing the Caber”.
A typical Highland Gathering includes a broad range of activities that could include athletics, dancing, cycling, piping, wrestling, and tug of war. The whole day is family-oriented and makes for great memories.
Inverness is home to one of the most iconic highland gatherings making it a highlight of the Scottish events calendar. In addition to the traditional Highland Games, the Inverness gathering includes a range of other activities such as a craft fair, fantastic food, and craft stalls, as well as performances from many excellent musicians and singers.
There are many Highland Gatherings throughout the summer, with the main local games being:
- May – Gordon Castle Highland Games – Gordon Castle, Fochabers
- July – Forres Highland Games
- July – Inverness Highland Games
- July – Dufftown Highland Games
- July – Tain Highland Gathering
- July – Tomintoul Highland Games
- August – Dornoch Highland Gathering
- August – Newtonmore Highland Gathering
- August – Strathpeffer Highland Gathering
- August – Glenurquhart Highland Gathering & Games
- September – Pitlochry Highland Games
You can find a calendar of events at http://www.shga.co.uk/visitor-events.php
Learn more about the history and traditions of the Highland Games
Golf in Scotland
Scotland has some of the most famous golf courses in the world, and the Highlands of Scotland is lucky to have some of the best you can find anywhere. Located in the Capital of the Highlands, Inverglen Guest House is ideally situated for those wanting to test themselves on a variety of courses.
The jewels in the crown are probably Castle Stuart and Royal Dornoch but don’t overlook a host of other courses that are a delight to play.
Remember, with our long Scottish summer evenings you can play late into the day.
You can find out more about golf in and around Inverness on our GOLF PAGE
Whilst staying at Inverglen Guest House why not go and watch a sport that is seldom seen outside the Highlands of Scotland.
Shinty is a fast physical contact team game, similar to field hockey. It is played by teams of 12 using sticks and a ball. The Scottish Highlands is a stronghold for the game with Glen Urquhart Shinty Club near Inverness being a top team. Inverness itself also has a team – Inverness Shinty Club – who play regularly in the city at Bught Park.
Whilst Shinty is similar to field hockey, the games have several important differences. In shinty, you may play the ball in the air and you are allowed to use both sides of the stick. The stick is also used to block and to tackle. The game has a physical element and players can tackle by shoulder-to-shoulder contact. The combination of a hard ball traveling quickly, flying sticks and physical contact make this a game for the brave.
Games are played from spring all the way through the summer.
Curling dates back to at least the 16th century. This is evidenced by curling stones found in Dunblane, one of which was inscribed with the date of 1511.
The game is similar to bowls as a tactical sport. Players of two teams take it in turns to slide large polished stones (known as “Rocks”) across a sheet of ice towards a target called “The House”. The aim is to score points by getting their stones closer to the centre of the house than their opponents. After stones have been played points are scored based on the position of the stones in relation to the centre of the target. A game usually consists of between eight – ten ends and the team with the most points wins.
In Inverness, the curling season runs from September through until March. There are 5 Curling Provinces in Inverness covering the North of Scotland who meet weekly to play in a variety of competitions and bonspiels.
For those new to the game there are regular Try Curling’ sessions, so if you want to try some different why not give it a try.
Inverness Ice Centre plays host to a number of well known and prestigious competitions throughout the season such as ‘The Wheelchair Triples’, ‘The Inverness Skins’, ‘Highland Junior Curling International and ‘Highland Week’ to name but a few.
Find out more about Curling (and other ice based sports such as Ice Hockey) at Inverness Ice Centre.
Scotland is passionate about football and Inverness is home to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. League games are played from August through to May each year.
A little further north will take you to Dingwall which is the home of local rivals Ross County.
There are various running events held in and around Inverness each year with the biggest event being the Loch Ness Marathon and Festival of Running held in late September (or early October) each year.
The key dates for running events are:
- March – Inverness Half Marathon
- April – Glenlivet 10k Road Race
- August/September, Loch Ness Beast Race
- September/October – Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running
- October – The Culloden Run
Whilst the stronghold of Scottish rugby is further south in Edinburgh, Glasgow and the Borders, there is still strong competition in the Highlands. The main team in Inverness is Highland RFC who play in the National League. The season runs from late August through to April.
Click on the images below for more ideas of things to see and do in and around Inverness.