Famous Highland Games that You Should Consider Attending

Posted by Maris on 8th Jul 2024

Famous Highland Games that You Should Consider Attending

The Highland Games are held throughout Scotland, each with its unique charm and traditions. Here are some of the most famous Highland Games that you should consider attending:

Braemar Gathering

  • Location: Braemar, Aberdeenshire
  • Date: First Saturday in September
  • Highlights:
  • Royal Attendance: Regularly attended by members of the British royal family, including the Queen.
  • Events: Traditional heavy events, Highland dancing, piping, and tug-of-war.
  • History: One of the oldest and most prestigious Highland Games, with records dating back to the 11th century under King Malcolm III.

Cowal Highland Gathering

  • Location: Dunoon, Argyll
  • Date: Last weekend in August
  • Highlights:
  • Scale: One of the largest Highland Games, attracting competitors and spectators from around the world.
  • Events: Massed pipe bands, traditional sports, Highland dancing, and ceilidh.
  • Atmosphere: Known for its festive atmosphere and grand finale featuring massed pipe bands.

Inverness Highland Games

  • Location: Bught Park, Inverness
  • Date: Usually in July
  • Highlights:
  • Historical Setting: Held in the capital of the Highlands, offering a blend of tradition and contemporary events.
  • Events: Heavy athletics, track and field, tug-of-war, and pipe band competitions.
  • Family-Friendly: Includes events and activities suitable for families and children.

Lonach Highland Gathering and Games

  • Location: Strathdon, Aberdeenshire
  • Date: Usually the last Saturday in August
  • Highlights:
  • Lonach Highlanders: Features the march of the Lonach Highlanders, a group of men dressed in traditional Highland attire.
  • Events: Traditional heavy events, Highland dancing, and piping competitions.
  • Community Spirit: Known for its strong sense of community and preservation of tradition.

Glenfinnan Highland Games

  • Location: Glenfinnan, near Fort William
  • Date: August
  • Highlights:
  • Scenic Location: Held in a picturesque setting near the Glenfinnan Monument and Loch Shiel.
  • Events: Traditional games, pipe bands, and Highland dancing.
  • Historic Significance: Commemorates the raising of the Jacobite standard by Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745.

Crieff Highland Gathering

  • Location: Crieff, Perthshire
  • Date: August
  • Highlights:
  • Traditional Events: Includes heavy events, tug-of-war, and piping competitions.
  • Cultural Activities: Features a variety of cultural displays and family-friendly activities.
  • Heritage: Celebrates local history and culture with a strong community focus.

Oban Games

  • Location: Oban, Argyll
  • Date: Fourth Thursday in August
  • Highlights:
  • Historical Significance: One of the oldest games, first held in 1871.
  • Events: Includes traditional heavy events, Highland dancing, and piping competitions.
  • Scenic Setting: Set in the beautiful coastal town of Oban, offering stunning views of the surrounding area.

St. Andrews Highland Games

  • Location: St. Andrews, Fife
  • Date: End of July
  • Highlights:
  • Iconic Location: Held in the historic town of St. Andrews, known for its university and golf courses.
  • Events: Traditional games, athletic events, and cultural displays.
  • Community Involvement: Features strong participation from local and international athletes.

Ballater Highland Games

  • Location: Ballater, Aberdeenshire
  • Date: Second Thursday in August
  • Highlights:
  • Royal Deeside: Located near Balmoral Castle, attracting royal spectators.
  • Events: Traditional heavy events, Highland dancing, and piping.
  • Local Tradition: Emphasizes local customs and community involvement.


The Highland Games are a vibrant celebration of Scottish culture, showcasing traditional sports, music, dance, and community spirit. Each event offers a unique experience, reflecting the local heritage and charm of its location. Whether you’re interested in the grandeur of the Braemar Gathering or the community spirit of the Lonach Games, the Highland Games provide an authentic and exhilarating insight into Scottish traditions.

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