Tossing the Caber
One of the most ancient games and probably one of the most
spectacular is the throwing of the caber ("pole"
or "tree"). It is an extreme test of muscle, balance,
timing, and skill. Scots have played it since the 16th century
and it is still one of the most popular events featured at
highland games all over the world.
It is frequently referred to as "throwing a telephone
pole" but that is not accurate. The caber is a long section
of tree trunk, tapered so that it is smaller at one end. The
length and weight of each caber varies from 50 to 130 lbs.
and 14' to 20' in length. Each competitor has three attempts.
The man who endeavors to compete in this event raises the
pole to a vertical position in his hands with the smaller
end down, generally resting the caber against his shoulder.
Then balancing it, the competitor runs to build up speed and
momentum and then throws it into the air and away from him.
He must make the large end of the pole hit the ground and
the pole fall in such a way that the small end will describe
a half circle.
Not only is considerable strength required, but considerable
skill is needed. The caber is as likely to fall sideways -
or back the way it came - when the large end hits the ground.
Scoring is based on the closeness of the fall to "12
Points are deducted according to the angle it falls from
the perfect mark.
Putting the Stone
Regular style: This event is the same as
the Olympic Shot Put except that a smooth rounded stone is
used instead of a steel ball. It weighs just over 12 lbs.
and is thrown from behind a 6" high by 4'6" long
toeboard (trig). It must be put from in front of the shoulder
using one hand only. there is a 7'6" run-up area and
each competitor is allowed three attempts. The best of the
three is counted.
Measurement is taken from the point on the trig where the
throw is made to the nearest break in the ground where the
stone lands. Touching the top of the trig or the ground beyond
is a foul.
Braemar or Standing style: this event is
the same as the Regular Style with two exceptions. The stone
used weighs 26 lbs. and no run-up is allowed.
Weight for Distance - 26 LB. and 56 LB
weights are of metal with a chain and ring handle attached.
The overall length of both weights is 18". the weight
is thrown one handed from behind the same trig used in Putting
the Stone. A 9' run-up is allowed.
The most efficient style is to spin like a discus thrower
although any style may be used. The competitor must be standing
after throwing the weight.
As in Putting the Stone, touching the top of the trig or
the area beyond it is a foul throw - whether or not the weight
was actually thrown. There are three throws and the measurement
is the same as for stone puts.
Weight for Height
weight is a block (or ball) which has a ring handle attached
with the objective to throw it up and over a bar similar to
that used in a pole vault.
The total weight is 56 lbs. and only one hand is usually
allowed. The starting height of the pole is the lowest height
requested by one of the competitors.
A competitor may pass on the lower heights but once it reaches
the height at which he starts to throw, he must compete with
each raise of the bar. He is allowed three attempts to clear
If the bar is touched by the weight but not dislodged, it
is considered a successful throw. If all competitors miss
at the same height, the winner is considered to be that one
with the fewer misses at the previous height. All measurements
are made from the ground to the top of the bar midway between
the upright supports.
handle (or shaft) is made of cane and the head is round and
made of metal. the Light Hammer is 16 lbs. and the Heavy Hammer
is 22 lbs. The overall length of both is 50".
The hammer is thrown standing style with the competitor facing
away from the throwing area.
Making sure his feet are firmly planted on the ground, he
takes the hammer three times around his head and then releases
it. His feet must not move until after he releases the hammer.
He has three attempts and the measurement and foul rules are
the same as for Putting the Stone.
The Hill Race
origins of this race may have been a trial for those to be
chosen by their King or Chieftains as carriers of important
messages between other parts of Scotland and over the border
The race is run over 3 miles and requires competitors to
race from the games field to the hill located to the south
which is over 600 feet in height; the race is the climax of
the athletic events and the winner is cheered home enthusiastically
by the crowd in their return.