Scottish Highland Games Association
Immerse yourself in Scotland’s ancient Highland games.

See hundreds of years of this tradition vibrantly depicted in Disney•Pixar’s Brave. A show of strength and honour, it continues to be a major cultural event in Scotland and worldwide.


null

Disney•Pixar’s Brave captures a snapshot of many aspects of Scottish culture and in one memorable scene, a particular tradition is vividly brought to life. Mystique still surrounds the Scottish Highland games, a traditional clash of titans dating back centuries. The early Celts living in Scotland would have viewed the event as a war game to test the mettle of the strongest and most courageous fighters.

A man tosses the caber during Highland Games celebrationsOver time, they grew to be a means of appointing an entourage. Clan chieftains were known to select the fastest runners for couriers, the fittest and most formidable competitors for bodyguards and the best dancers and musicians for their entertainment. In Merida’s case, the time-honoured tradition is used to find her a suitable husband though the impetuous, flame-haired heroine of Brave is far from enamoured with her suitors.

Today, more than 60 games are held in towns and villages across Scotland between May and September by the governing body, the Scottish Highland Games Association (SHGA). Some are even held in the atmospheric grounds of castles, such as the games at Drumtochty Castle or the Strathmore Highland Games at Glamis Castle, the stunning 14th century fortress immortalised in Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Highland dancers display their fancy footwork during a competition at a Highland Games celebration

Bringing together communities in a colourful celebration of Scottish heritage, the Highland games in the 21st century are no longer about demonstrating skills to wage war. They are great social gatherings with an electric festival atmosphere, attracting thousands of revellers each year and are a must-see event in Scotland.

A team of kilted competitors use all their strength in the tug-o-war during Highland Games celebrations

The biggest - the Braemar Highland Gathering - regularly welcomes many thousands of visitors to cheer on the competitors as they display their Herculean strength. Spectators can watch in awe as kilted participants contend in events like tossing the caber, the hammer throw, shot put and the tug-o-war. No games are the same, with a variety of events, food, dancing and music to savour at each one.

Enjoy this fantastic spectacle in Disney•Pixar’s Brave, then experience a traditional Scottish Highland games for yourself.

Back Explore more

Discover more of what Scotland has to offer

horsescotland

null

Experience Scotland’s landscapes with an adventure on horseback.
Read more

Historic Scotland

null

Discover the magic of Scotland’s real history as it is brought to life.
Read more

Scottish Highland Games Association

null

Immerse yourself in Scotland’s ancient Highland games.
Read more

National Trust for Scotland

null

Delve deeper into Scotland’s heritage at its many great estates and castles.
Read more

Scotland Food & Drink

null

Discover Scotland, Land of Food and Drink.
Read more

RSPB Scotland

null

Discover Scotland’s legendary birds and wildlife on our network of nature reserves across the country.
Read more

National Museum of Scotland

null

Explore Scotland’s rich heritage of real stories behind the myths and legends.
Read more

Highland Wildlife Park

null

Discover Scotland’s Highland wildlife.
Read more

Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Park

null

Explore Scotland’s first National Park and discover stunning scenery and a wealth of wildlife.
Read more

Forestry Commission Scotland

null

Explore Scotland's ancient forests and enchanting lochs.
Read more

Woodland Trust Scotland

null

Discover Scotland’s atmospheric woods and forests.
Read more

Visit Cairngorms

null

Explore and enjoy the landscapes of Scotland's largest National Park.
Read more

Scottish Wildlife Trust

null

Discover the Lost Species of Scotland.
Read more

The Mountaineering Council of Scotland

null

Experience Scotland’s landscape from the top of its mountains.
Read more

Scottish Natural Heritage

null

Discover the best of Scotland's amazing wildlife and magical places at Scotland's National Nature Reserves.
Read more

WWT Caerlaverock Wetland Centre

null

Discover the beauty of wild birds in Dumfries & Galloway.
Read more

Wild Scotland

null

Be courageous and explore the beauty of wild Scotland.
Read more

Historic Houses Association Scotland

null

Discover Scotland’s real royal castles.
Read more

Scottish Archery

null

Get to grips with Scotland's ancient sports.
Read more

Scottish Canals

null

Explore and enjoy Scotland’s majestic landscapes from the water.
Read more

Winner!

VisitScotland’s Brave competition winner was Tania Trucchia, Horsham, UK. Congratulations!

merida

Itineraries

Bring Brave to life with these themed itineraries and uncover a selection of Scotland's popular attractions. A truly legendary experience awaits...

elenor

Travel Experiences

Choose from this fantastic range of things to do and places to stay and plan a truly unforgettable trip to Scotland.

fergus