FX Excursions

FX Excursions offers the chance for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in destinations around the world.
WF awards

Scottish Traditions and Highland Games

by Angelique Platas

Apr 16, 2018

David Watmough | Dreamstime.com

Destinations / Europe

Though the Olympics ended months ago, the Highland Games in Scotland can replenish your thirst for competition. Bring the family to the Braemar Gathering in the Scottish Highlands, beginning Sept. 1, and celebrate the age-old tradition of rough-and-tumble sports, unique tests of strength and ancient history.


You’ll be in good company watching the Highland Games in Braemar, Scotland, alongside the Royal Family. The historic tradition, rooted in the 1800s, has been played since all over the Highlands of Scotland, but most famously celebrated in Braemar. Watch on and cheer as athletes participate in unique games and expect to see your fair share of kilt- and tartan-clad athletes competing with bagpipes booming in the background.


From the beginning, the 11th-century Scottish Highland Games started off as a mere footrace, but certainly evolved. The games modernized in the 19th century, expressing more competitive interest in strength, endurance and speed. Since the games gained immense popularity in the 19th century, not much changed by way of games, intense level of competition and brut strength.


The annual and highly anticipated tradition tests athletes in three major categories: heavyweight games, traditional dance and musical competitions. Expect serious competition and year-long training from heavyweight competitors, like the caber toss.


The caber toss is the signature game, when competitors carry logs more than 12 feet long. Participants require full-body strength to pick up, stabilize and fast-walk to their destination.


Highland Games - Scotland - Throwing the Hammer

Throwing the Hammer, Highland Games, Scotland. Photo: Steve Allen | Dreamstime.com


Next up, the stone put (much like the shot-put) is another popular competition for fans and competitors. The weighted stone toss is a primitive sport and time-long tradition, as well as the Maide Leisg toss, meaning “lazy stick.” All of the games remained mostly the same for hundreds of years — never modernizing with technology.


The dances too remained rooted in tradition with the Sword Dance of Gille Calum, dating all the way back to the year 1054. Bag pipe bands and solo pipe competitions make up another vital part of this Celtic tradition, where onlookers can dance, listen and enjoy the hauntingly beautiful competition. Expect the kids to dance along as the fans and onlookers love the musical aspect as much as the physical competition.


With a competitive tone close to the Olympics and the added cultural flare of tradition, the games are quite a spectacle in Scotland. Bring the family and enjoy the unique culture and family fun from a bygone era.


Insta Feed
Jun 18, 2024

COMO Hotels and Resorts Unveils Exclusive Summer Offers

COMO Hotels & Resorts invites family travelers to celebrate its summer offers at select properties around the world, new for 2024.

United Continues Its Global Expansion

United Airlines keeps soaring to new heights, recently announcing another expansion of its leading global route network. The airline added new non-stop flights between Newark (EWR) and Marrakesh (RAK), Morocco; Tokyo (NRT) and Cebu (CEB), Philippines; and Houston (IAH) and Medellin (MDE), Colombia. That’s not all: United also plans to increase flights to popular worldwide destinations including Hong Kong (HKG); Seoul (INC), South Korea; and Porto (OPO), Portugal. Following the recent agreement to increase flights between the U.S. and Chinese governments, the airline now adds four weekly flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Shanghai (PVG).

Jun 17, 2024

Tauck Introduces “Smaller Groups” Tours

Family travelers interested in a tour with less people, look no further than Tauck’s new Smaller Group tours. This tour operator’s new offering will average 15 guests per group, an even smaller average than its Small Group tours of about 24 guests. Tauck’s land tours host 35–44 guests.

Jun 17, 2024

These Resorts Launch a Study Abroad Program for Families

The Family Coppola Hideaways in Belize and Guatemala offer a new study abroad concept for family travelers seeking enriched educational experiences. The all-new Coppola Curriculum includes hands-on volunteer work in local communities, wood carving and textile looming, Creole and Spanish classes, cooking lessons, and visits to nearby archaeological sites.

Jun 14, 2024

5 Hotels to Watch Fourth of July Fireworks

This Fourth of July, family travelers can discover the ultimate destination for patriotic celebrations, including fireworks, parades, rooftop views and more. Here are five U.S. hotels offering not only a one-of-a-kind stay but also the best holiday celebrations.

Jun 14, 2024

The Best Travel Card for Kids: BusyKid Debit Card

It is never too early for family travelers to teach the youngest members of the family about money and how to handle finances, even when traveling. For instance, cash can easily be lost or stolen anytime, especially when traveling. If you’re worried about this financial risk for your children, you can consider getting them the BusyKid Debit Card, which eliminates concerns over having on-hand cash. It’s also easy to use; secure; and it teaches children to manage money and budget, perfect for something like trips.