Best Highland games

TRADITIONAL Highland Games are quintessentially Scottish, and during the season (from late May to late September) nearly every village from the Central Belt northwards seems to have posters advertising its local event.

They make a great day out for the family, with the heavies tossing the caber and throwing weights, standard track races, tugs o'war, Highland dancing, piping, often a race up the local hill and back, maybe cycling and plenty for the children.

You'll have to buy tickets in advance to get into the really popular Games such as Braemar and Lonach, but generally you can just turn up and pay a modest sum at the field.

For a comprehensive list, see

Here are five examples:

DRUMTOCHTY, 27 June In the Glen of Drumtochty in Kincardineshire, these Games have a stunning location and a real buzz.

GAIRLOCH HIGHLAND GATHERING, 4 July If you're in Wester Ross you must go – there's a great variety of events that are guaranteed to entertain you.

THE GATHERING, Edinburgh, 25-26 July Edinburgh doesn't normally put on a Games, but this is the year of the Homecoming and the two-day spectacular in Holyrood Park is part of the celebrations.

NEWTONMORE, 1 August Many visitors take up the challenge of the hill race (with two crossings of the river) alongside the local shinty players and regular hill runners.

ARGYLLSHIRE GATHERING, Oban, 27 August This one's always on a Thursday, and is proud of its piping competition; there are races and events for children as well.