Fort William and The Highland Games

The weekend of Ben Nevis, I actually kind of cheated.

Well actually, I didn’t cheat, I lied.

IMG_0130

I know, I’m a bad person.

Because actually, this is the truth.  It wasn’t just a walk up Ben Nevis, it was an entire weekend away to Fort William.  I just sort of only joined them for the Ben Nevis bit.  I woosed out of the end of the West Highland Way-Kinlochleven to Fort William-because the plan had been to do this 15 mile stretch on the Saturday followed by Ben Nevis on the Sunday.

Now, I can hear all you die hard trekkers laughing in the face of my unfitness, but given that this was going to be my last walk in Scotland I sort of wanted to say ‘I’ve climbed Ben Nevis’!  The chances of this being successful would be significantly improved without having walked 15 miles the day before!  (Can you believe I had been in Scotland for 7 years and left it until my final month to ascend Ben Nevis?!  I know, sinful.  I even slightly hate myself for it).

Anyway, self loathing aside, I had a hidden agenda.  I had managed to rope an old flatmate and Geologist friend of mine (a Scout leader and full time lover of the outdoors) to come join me up at Fort William.  Unfortunately, she then had to disappear for graduation and actually didn’t manage to do the Ben Nevis walk (sad times.  Don’t worry pal, we’ll go back) but we had our own little adventures.

THE HIGHLAND GAMES

Fate had decided to shine upon us as word reached our ears that the infamous Highland Games had come to Invergarry, not too far from Fort William (well, we’d been driving for ages already, a little more wouldn’t hurt).

For those of you who don’t know, The Highland Games is a traditional Scottish event which usually involves a field in the middle of nowhere and a bunch of burly men throwing heavy sticks around.  Actually, it also involves track events, piping, Highland dancing competitions, fiddling (like a violin, nothing naughty here), dog shows, hammer throw and tug-o-war.  The tossing of the caber is one of the most iconic events in the Highland Games.  The aim of the game is to toss the massively heavy log (which basically looks the size of a tree) in the air so that it flips and lands in the 12 o’clock position.  Easy!  Check out our most successful candidate below…didn’t manage to flip it but he actually managed to pick the thing up…

Running

Running

Tossing

Tossing

And like all good things in life, once upon a time, the Highland Games were all about which clan was The Best Clan in the Land.  The honour and prestige that came from this title (true title, not even remotely made up) was substantial.

And don’t worry, Geologist friend managed to go to the top of Ben Nevis via a cable car route we found along the way.  At least we got some pictures, if not the fitness workout.

And yes, I did actually climb it the next day.  With my feet, not via a cable car.

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