Scotland’s Loch Lomond is best-known for being “bonnie” (beautiful), but also serves as the setting for one of the coolest events in the extreme sports calendar. Welcome to the Loch Lomond Highland Games.
The games, which will happen on Saturday, July 14 in the tiny community of Balloch, offer a relentlessly Scottish, somewhat flip take on athletics. During the games, kilted athletes participate in a range of gritty events from the caber toss to wrestling and tug-of-war. Other events include running, cycling and for merry good measure, some Highland dancing and “solo piping.”
The Loch Lomond Highland Games kicked off in July 1967, launched by a bunch of community businessmen eager to advertise the area and revive its popularity with locals and travelers. Back then, the goal was to raise £500 to run the Games in the hope that enough spectators would show to justify holding them yearly. That goal has been achieved, the organizers of LLHGB say, adding that the Loch Lomond Highland Games now numbers among Scotland’s top three Highland Games events. Up to 15,000 visitors attend the Games annually, with over $20,000 of prize money and trophies for local and open events to be won.