They were forced indoors to toss their cabers in lockdown, but now we can gawp at them showing off their special skills in public again… the Highland Games are back!
Ours, in North Berwick, east of Edinburgh, is on August 6.
The Highland Games have, of course, their origins in the training of the clans for warfare.
Although what use lifting a trunk and then heaving it forward is anyone’s guess.
Unless, of course, you wanted to land it on a gentrified Englishman’s slippered foot.
If some of the events look familiar from Olympic Games you’ve watched then it’s because they are those events…
The stone put, the Scottish hammer throw and the weight throw.
Because Baron Pierre de Coubertin was influenced to renew the Olympic Games after watching a Highland Games Exhibition in Paris in 1889.
The Heelan’ Games
The Heelan’ Games, as we Scots like to call them, are celebrated around the world.
Ours in my youth were the Luss Highland Gathering which we would regularly attend in the summers.
The Cowal Highland Gathering in Dunoon in the West is held in August.
And it is thought to have the most competitors in the world, at 3,500.
The Americans though naturally do it bigger in terms of numbers of spectators.
We’re told the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival is the go-to Games in North America.
The Cowal Games does though host the World Highland Dancing Championships.
With my wee Irish dancer herself, my Dear Old Mammy.
Now because us Jocks are a peripatetic people you’ve probably heard us coming before you even saw us in our wee skirties.
And that’s why they still have Celtic festivals around the world…
And may I recommend plenty of water when doing Eightsome Reels in the Barbados sun.
Games around the world
Of course Commonwealth countries and the English-speaking (well their English) USA are obvs to the fore.
But there are Highland Games too from Rio Janeiro to Jakarta with Brazil and Indonesia both getting into the twirling and the swirling.
While Central Europeans get in on the act too.
And well the mountainous Swiss already have a head-start on us for the fells running.
The Belgians are somewhat of an outlier in Western Europe.
But there are few more Brit-loving countries in the world… and again there’s the beer.
So get your Scottish vibe on and don’t worry if you don’t know the steps.
There will always be someone there to teach you how to do a Gay Gordon’s or a Dashing White Sergeant.
Aye, the Highland Games are back.