Most Highland Games are recognized mostly by the Caber toss. This may be due to the fact that there really is nothing like it in the sporting world. The caber is basically a tree trunk that has been trimmed down and tapers to a slightly wider end. Cabers can vary from 16-22 feet (some women’s classes may have them down to 12 feet) and weigh 60-180 pounds. The caber is raised up to the thrower with the smaller end on the ground. The thrower hoists the caber up in the palms of his hands; this is known as “the pick”. The thrower may run with the caber then throw it so it goes end over end. Being that it is an accuracy event, the official judges the caber based on degrees of a clock with a 12 o’clock throw being considered a perfect throw.
Similar to the Olympic shot put. We use the “open stone” (weighing 16-22 lb.) in which the athlete is allowed to move through the throwing area and must not go past the trig (a block of wood). The word “put” means to thrust
This is not the Olympic hammer which is a weight connected to a cable. The Scottish hammer is really more like a hammer; it’s a stick with a weight on the end. In this event the athlete doesn’t spin, but grips the stick and uses his shoulders to spin the hammer around. The hammers to be thrown were maces and war hammers in the past.
There are two events consisting of light and heavy weight for each athlete. Like the stone, there is a throwing area with the trig on the front of the area. The object is to simply throw the weight as far as you can. Athletes may spin in this event. For men the weights are 28 and 56 lb. , masters (40+ in age) it’s 28 and 42 lb., and for women it’s 14 and 28 lb. These are on a chain with a handle.
This event uses the same weights as the heavy weight for distance, but usually shorter in length. The athlete tosses the weight in the air trying to clear a bar set at a certain height. This event is progressive. Each athlete gets 3 attempts to clear each height, if they make it they go on to the next height.
This event comes from a farmer tradition in Scotland. Like the weight for height you must clear a bar and the attempts are the same. An athlete uses a pitch fork to hurl the “Sheaf” (a weighted burlap bag) into the air over the bar. Best height wins the event. The sheaf weight is 20 lb. for the men, 16 lb. for masters, and 10 or 12 lb. for women.
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