For many of the visitors to the Highland Games the Heavy athletes and their almost superhuman acts of strength hold an enthralling interest. From the earliest of days Ballater has attracted the finest of athletes, the famous Donald Dinnie of Aboyne first appeared in 1868 when he set new records for the Heavy Hammer 90 ft. 2 in., and Heavy Stone 38 ft. After the Second World War local man Robert Shaw of Glengairn broke records and was Scotland's champion shot-putter. In the 1960s and 70s, it was Bill Anderson of Aberdeen and Arthur Rowe of Yorkshire that battled for the records.
To this day Bill Anderson holds the British Native records for the Light Hammer 151 ft. 2 ins. At Lochearnhead in 1960 and the Heavy Hammer 123 ft. 5 ins. At Crieff in 1969. Bruce Aitken holds the Ballater records for the Heavy Hammer 119 ft. 4 in. in 2008, and the Light Hammer 144 ft. in 2000. Today the names of Bruce Aitken, Bruce Robb, Craig Sinclair, and John McLeod are amongst those competing for the honours.
The Highland style of the heavy events is unique, hammers with solid shafts, stones taken from the river bed and the world famous caber, a tree trunk to test the best of men.
At Ballater Highland Games there are principally seven heavy events competed for: Light and Heavy Hammer — Light and Heavy Stone — Tossing the Caber — Weight for Distance and Throwing the Weight over the bar.
The following is a basic guide through the events and their basic rules.
for DISTANCE —
THE BAR —
When you are visiting Highland games enjoy the sport as the heavies battle through the competition and may the best man win.
The above article about the heavy events at Ballater Highland Games (and others) was written by Eddie Anderson.
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