Gettin’ Heavy

Things are likely to get downright heavy this weekend at the 11th annual Gathering of the Scots (GOTS) festival in Perth-Andover, New Brunswick. Here are short descriptions of the Ancient Heavy Events – equal parts raw strength and finely-tuned technique – that make up the athletic portion of most Highland Games and Festival.

The Stone Putt: Two styles: The “Open Stone” (where competitors are allowed to move their feet), and the “Braemar Stone” where the competitor must throw from a standing position.

The Weights for Distance: The weight (either 28 lb. or 56 lb.) is held in one hand as the athlete spins around. The weight will build tremendous energy leading up to its release.

The Hammers: The hammer (either 16 lb. or 22 lb.) is a lead ball attached to a handle. Starting out slow building speed as he goes, the competitor swings the hammer around his head releasing it “blind” over the shoulder. Watch for some unique “footwear” in this event.

The Caber Toss: There is nothing more awe inspiring than to watch a man pick up a twenty foot log, settle it into his hands, then run and flip it end for end. Cabers all vary in size, generally from 17 to 21 ft in length and weighing from 100-180lbs.

The Sheaf Toss: The athlete must “pitch” a 16 lb – 20 lb stuffed burlap bag up and over a horizontal bar using a pitchfork. World-class athletes will reach heights of 32 – 34 feet.

The Weight for Height: The 56 lb weight is swung with one hand between the competitor’s legs and then thrown up and over a bar landing just behind the athlete.

For more information on this weekend’s GOTS events please visit