18th Niagara Celtic Heritage Festival & Highland Games

September 15 & 16, 2018

Saturday 10am-10pm | Sunday 10am-6pm

Highland Games

highland games athlete

Cheer on your favorite athlete as he or she competes in the centuries old strongman competitions known as Highland Games. A highlight of Niagara Celtic, our diverse games include Pro, Am, Open and Youth for both men and women.

We host one of the largest multiple division games in the world! Over 80 athletes from across the U.S. and Canada will be competing in 13 different divisions over two days, to decide the winner of “Athlete of the Day” in each division. We will also be awarding "Athlete of the Year" for each of these divisions, which is decided over the course of the year by earning points for where they have placed in seven games starting back in October.

2018 Schedule

Competitions Include:

Braemar Stone Throw for distance | Caber Pole Toss | Sheaf Toss | Stone Throw | 56 lb. weight for height | 28 lb. weight for distance | 56 lb for distance

2018 Divisions



Men's Masters 40+

Men's Masters 50+

Pro Masters 40+

Pro Masters 50+

Women's Juniors

Women's Masters

Women's Amateur

Men's Amateur Group 1

Men's Amateur Group 2

Men's Pro

Men's Masters 60+

Men's Pro Masters 60+

Men's Junior

Special Awards

2018 Award from the Clans

Beat The Pro's!

Top amature athletes will have a chance to throw in our two professional divisions to earn a professional status. Good Luck to any of our athletes that may try to advance this year! To earn a pro status you must both win your division AND also except prize money.

Athlete Meet & Greet

Feel free to stop and meet the athletes anytime of the day. We'd be happy to answer questions and/or take photographs. Just make sure we're not growling, snorting or have a heavy stone in our hands!

Games History

What are Highland Games?

Long ago Scottish clans (frequently and with fiery, violent passion) defended their territories from one another. As Highland chiefs prepared for battle, they chose the best and strongest warriors based on their performance in a series of physically demanding contests during clan gatherings. Legend suggests these contests are the basis of the Highland Games today. These ancient contests have evolved over the centuries into a modern event, which consists of the Stone Throw, the Weight Throws (28 and 56 pound stones), the Hammer Throw, the Caber Toss, the 56-pound Weight Toss, and the Sheaf Toss.

Origins of Highland Games and Competitions The history of the Highland Games has been linked to Malcolm Canmore, an 11th century King of Scotland. History tells us that about the time the Norman Conquerors were forming modern England, Malcolm was in Scotland searching for fast runners to carry messages. One way to discover the best runners was to organize a footrace. The race Malcolm organized proceeded to the summit of a mountain near Braemar, Scotland.

Over the years, piping, dancing, tests of strength and other skills were added as a way to find the best men to be part of a king's or chief's retinue. These competitions tested men for strength, stamina, accuracy and agility. The implements of the contests were found in any village or on any farm: the blacksmith's hammer was used for throwing, a rounded stone from the river for "putting the stone", ordinary block weights for throwing and a fallen tree trunk for the caber toss.

In 1746, after the bloody Battle of Culloden, the Highland Games ceased to exist for several decades. The English government outlawed the wearing of the kilt, playing the pipes and public gatherings in Scotland.

In 1782, these bans were lifted and Highland Games were once again held throughout Scotland. They have flourished ever since in Scotland, Canada and the United States.

Caber Pole Tossing

caber pole toss

The origin of this most traditional of Scottish athletic events is somewhat obscure, even though records of its existence date back to the 16th century. This event may well have begun as a military discipline developed to breach fortifications and barriers, or possibly it was an impromptu way to span swift mountain streams. However, the modern Caber toss has a more peaceful purpose. It measures strength, accuracy and balance.

In the amateur events, the caber is 17 feet long and weighs 90 pounds. In professional events, the caber is 23 feet long and weighs 135 lbs.

The object of the contest is to toss the pole end-over-end so that it lands with the small end pointing directly away from the contestant. The athlete with the straightest toss wins. Distance has no bearing on the outcome of the event. Three tosses are allowed and all are scored to judge the winner.

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May your laugh, your love and your wine be plenty, thus your happiness will be nothing less.

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