Images From Cobourg Highland Games 2012

It was a splendid Saturday as Cobourg Ontario saw high white clouds sailing past in the the otherwise sunhine and blue that marked the Highland games. A bit of Scottish good fortune as Cobourg  dodged the rainstorms to the South and Northeast. But in 2008  there was a general  washout so bona Fortuna smiled Gaellically this day. And there was plenty to see at the Highland games with the Heavy Weight throwing events starting along with the highland dancing right at the 8:30  breakfast tip of the morning to you.  Here are some of the images from a most enjoyable Highland Games.

The Heavy Weights

The Heavy Weight events  started early in the morning and closed near the end of the day. Many competitors entered almost all of the events from the StoneThrow through the HayTossing and HammerThrow  to Tossing of the Caber. Its like an Olympic Decathlon devoted to the heavy lifting field events. It was a busy day full of events – seen below is the action from the morning

As you can see from the pictures below women competed as well as men and put on a fine showing.In some of the events like the Hay Tossing they matched their male couterparts. But in the hammer Throw, Stone Throw and Caber Toss the men, despite having greater weights to throw, prevailed.

The title tells all.


Here is another animated view of the action

Having worked on farm many years ago, this work is truly back breaking.

The Heavy Stone Throw

If you watch the London Olympics you will see the same basic form used in the Shotput event as shown here in the StoneThrow. Having once competed in the Shotput in school days, it was interesting to see how much the stone weighed – 19lbs versus the shotput in the Olympics weighs 16lbs. The competitors were throwing 35-37 feet in the mens event where as at the Olympics the winner will throw a lighter “stone”  70feet or more.

Highland Dancing

No Highland Games would be complete  without the dance competition. These vary among Highland Fling to a Sword Dance. The dancers  are age and training rated from beginner, novice, and intermediate to the Premier dancers. Here is a sampling of the Sword Dancers.

The Young Sword Dancers

[jj-ngg-jquery-cycle html_id=”jjcycle1″ gallery=”54″ width=”750″ height=”570″ timeout=”5500″ speed=”1000″ fit=”0″ pause=’1′] These youngsters were really quite advanced novice if not intermediate in terms of enthusiasm and form; but as you can see in the pictures above not quite in sync.

In contrast the older premier dancers were quite good in keeping form and movement in synch. And for their size, some of the best showed lightness of touch.
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Demo of SheepDog Herding

An artist friend, Neil de Witt lives in the Foothills of Alberta near Banff National Park. She had a border collie [Blackberry] that, despite having a broken foot, could herd the ducks and geese from pond to pond on a simple command and in marvelous display of ingenuity without losing any bird to flight.
Sheep dogs are not always collies but some of the best are. And at the Highland Games spectators were treated to the clever “movings” made by a border collie in getting 4 sheep to move around the Donegan park’s soccer field and into and out of a small pen. All this was controlled by just a few calls and whistles from the dog’s trainer. He added a few gestures to the mix; but admitted this was unusual – that calls and whistles more than suffice. Scores of us wathced this demostartion at least two times during the day. What was fascinating to see was how the dog adopted lion like stands and movements to “hunt”=herd her prey. To this observer, this demo was the best of show.

Combined Marching Bands and Dancers

At noon the Pipers and Marching Bands arrive from downtown Cobourg and with the Highland Dancers put on a combined show. First of course the bands assemble and the Highland Dancers form a huge square around the bands[done on the baseball pitch]. Then the politicians speechify followed by a singing of the national Anthems {US visitors are treated to Star Spangled]. Finally the Highland Dancers and the combined bands add  Scottish melodies and Highland Fling Dances and then everybody parades back out.