Luss Highland Games

Normal service has been resumed!

Work took me to Luss for the Highland Games! I feel very lucky to be employed in a position that takes me to loads of interesting and beautiful places, and this trip was no exception. Luss is always a peach to photograph.  

However, this was my first Highland Games! I was excited to see all the events and generally be immersed in traditional Scottish culture. Other games held around Scotland are grander, but the Luss games were a nice mix between serious competition and a local community coming together to celebrate its heritage.

And I mean heritage. The games are still opened by the Laird of Colquhoun [Cul-hoon] who was accompanied his son and grandson and by the Helensburgh Clan Colquhoun Pipe Band (it’s a good thing I don’t mind bagpipes, my ears were ringing with the sound by the end of the day!).

First off was the hammer throw, similar to the ‘modern’ version found in the Olympics. Rather than on a wire, the weight is attached to a flexible stick. The event was pretty close with the hammer being thrown impressive distances and the following event, the shot put, proved the same.

Next up was the caber toss – arguably the most famous event of the games! I didn’t know this until the announcer said so but the point of the caber toss is not the distance travelled but actually how straight you can land the caber. It’s thought that this event became a part of the games as throwing the caber in a straight line would have been very useful, way back when, to create a makeshift bridge across a river out in the wilds of Scotland.

It was insanely impressive to watch (particularly when you think of all the splinters!)

Then there were more… unusual events, like the sheath toss which is basically high jump for a stack of leaves. I assume this event came from farming skills but it was still very strange to see the same competitors who had tossed the caber then pick up a pitchfork and throw a bundle of branches over their shoulders.

While all these events were happening, spectators were listening to many bagpipers play as there was also a piping competition going on. Hearing all of them play different tunes at once made everything descend into a cacophony of noise…

But the coos didn’t appear to mind so much!

After the games, we departed for Hill House in Helensburgh. Unfortunately photography isn’t allowed inside the house, so I can’t show you the incredible art nouveau architecture and furnishings (I genuinely developed a newfound appreciation for the style when I was there) but I’d definitely recommend a visit even if you have no idea who Charles Rennie Macintosh was!

There’s also a pretty nice view of the Clyde from the rose garden too! Very grateful to have gone on this trip!

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