Senior Heavy Events

bhg2016-heavy-events-04Bute’s heavy events attract exceptional talent from all over Scotland as well as competitors from overseas.  In recent years Bute has had the privilege to welcome competitors from as far afield as Germany, the USA, Iceland and New Zealand.

Each competitor has three attempts in each event, the key events being …

Shot put – Athletes ‘put’ a steel ball from inside a circle measuring 7 feet in diameter.  The ball can be thrown with any technique as long as the shot is thrown with one arm and is rested against the neck until moment of release.  The distance of the throw is measured from the toeboard at the front of the circle. The shot put weighs 16lbs and 8.8lbs for men and women respectively.

Weight for Distance – The 28lb weight (14lb for women) consists of a metal ball attached to half-moon shaped handle.  The competitors throw the weight with one arm, usually in a rotational motion, inside a circle with a 9ft diameter.  The distance is measured from the toeboard at the edge of the circle to the point where the weight initially hits the ground.

Scots Hammer – A 16lb ball (8.8lbs for women) attached on to a 4ft wooden shaft is swung round the competitor’s head with the feet in a fixed position and is then thrown over the shoulder.  The distance is measured from the toeboard behind which the competitors stand.

Weights for Height – The competitors take it in turns to throw a 56lb weight (28lb for women) over a bar.  The athletes get 3 opportunities to clear the height before they are eliminated. Once cleared the bar is moved up to a greater height.  The winner is the person to clear the greatest height.  On the chance of a draw the winner is decided on count back of previous attempts.

Caber – The caber is one of the iconic images of any highland games and, thereby, one of the most anticipated events of the day.  The tall wooden structure (normally about 18ft in length/150lbs in weight) is picked up by the athlete so that it is rested upright against their shoulder and then thrown by the two hands it is carried by. The objective of the caber is so that it is thrown to turn it over, such that the end held by the competitor is then pointing away from their position after a 180 degrees turn.  A perfect throw is when the caber turns and falls straight in front of the thrower.  This is measured from a clock face in which a perfect throw is 12 o’clock.  If the caber is turned and not in a 12 o’clock position, it is measured by how many minutes away it is from 12.  If the caber is not turned it is measured by degrees – from 0-90 degrees.

The trophies competed for are …

Duke of Rothesay Trophy Duke-of-Rothesay-Trophy

Awarded  to the Overall Winner of the Heavy Events Competition. In 1987 Bute Highland Games was honoured with the presence of Prince Charles (Duke of Rothesay) and Diana, Princess of Wales, (the then Duchess of Rothesay). The Salute to the Chieftain was taken by Prince Charles and the presentation of trophies was carried out by the Princess of Wales.

 In 1999 Prince Charles commissioned Chris Pye, a master woodcarver of international repute, to create a special trophy which would be competed for during Bute’s Millennium Highland Games. That trophy is known as the “Duke of Rothesay Trophy” and the winner of the Bute Heavy Events’ Competition is presented with the prestigious trophy by the Chieftain at the end of the competition.

Due to the status of the benefactor and the uniqueness of the trophy it is carefully packaged and safely returned to a secure base until the following year.  In the Millennium Year 2000 Mark McDonald, the inaugural winner, was presented with the trophy by the Duke of Argyll. During his speech the Duke of Argyll was heard to remark that it seemed “historically strange for a Campbell to present such a prestigious trophy to a McDonald, especially on such a warm and friendly occasion”.

Craigie Macfie Memorial Trophy Craigie Macfie Memorial Trophy- Web Size

Also awarded to the Overall Winner of the Heavy Events’ Competition but, unlike the Duke of Rothesay Trophy, it can be taken off the island if the winner is not a Bute resident.

“Big Craigie”, as he was affectionately known, was an enthusiastic competitor who competed at highland gatherings across Scotland favouring Bute Highland Games and the Cowal Gathering.  He was a former British and Scottish Heavyweight Wrestling Champion although his prowess was as a Heavy Athlete participating in the Local and Open Heavy Events.

Craig had over 40 years’ association with Bute Highland Games both as a competitor and latterly as a member of the organising committee.  When he stopped competing he was appointed to act as an official to assist in overseeing the smooth running of the Heavy Events’ Competition.  To commemorate his passing (September 2010), and to recognise his contribution and dedication to the competition and Bute Highland Games, his family donated the “Craigie Macfie Memorial Trophy”.

BHG Salver - Ladies' Heavy EventsBute Highland Games’ Salver

In recent years, as was evident at Bute Highland Games,  it became apparent that highland games were attracting many lady competitors in the heavy events’ competitions – an extremely integral element of traditional highland games.  Accordingly in 2014, for the first time, to recognise the strenuous efforts applied to the various events by our female entrants, the committee introduced the Bute Highland Games’ Salver to be presented on an annual basis to the overall winner of the women’s events.

Clan Currie ShieldClan Currie Shield

Additionally in 2014 the Clan Currie Shield was generously donated to Bute Highland Games by Mr & Mrs Andy Currie of Rutherglen and, as with the Bute Highland Games’ Salver, the Shield is presented to the overall winner of the women’s events on an annual basis.

Andy and his wife, Janelle, also realised there was a need for ladies to be recognised and suitably rewarded for their efforts in the various disciplines which constitute the heavy events at the Games.

Andy has been attending and officiating at Bute Highland Games for several decades and “hangs up his cap” when he returns to Bute in order that he and Janelle can rekindle friendships and experience the wonderful atmosphere and camaraderie of the Games.

The organising committee of Bute Highland Games is truly grateful to Andy and Janelle Currie for their generous support of the Games.


Operated under Scottish Athletics’ Laws & Rules
Open to men and women

1.   Putting the shot (16lb for men; 8.8lb for women)
2.   Throwing the weight for distance (28lb for men; 14lb for women)
3.   Throwing the Scots hammer for distance (16lb for men; 8.8lb for women)
4.   Throwing the weight for height (56lb for men; 28lb for women)
5.   Tossing the caber


In addition to the trophies being competed for the following prizes will be awarded …


1st Prize  –  £300
2nd Prize  –  £240
3rd Prize  –  £170
4th Prize  –  £130
5th Prize  –  £90
6th Prize  –  £50
7th Prize  –  £40
8th Prize  –  £30


1st Prize  –  £150
2nd Prize  –  £120
3rd Prize  –  £85
4th Prize  –  £65
5th Prize  –  £45


Please note …

1.   Bute Highland Games will contribute towards travel expenses at their discretion
2.   All competitors must appear and compete in “kilt & hose”
3.   In sponsored events, no competitor shall be allowed to wear any prominent form of advertising except where the advertisement relates to the firm or company supporting the event
4.   Once an event has started competitors arriving late will only be permitted throws in rounds not yet completed within their assigned event
5.   Senior heavy events are due to commence at approximately, all competitors should report to Alan Pettigrew on the field no later than on the day
6.   Events may not run on the day in the sequence shown
7.   All the above events will be held on grass at The Public Stadium in Rothesay


£5.00 per competitor for men and women

(Entries will not be processed unless fees have been paid)


Click here

(Competitors are reminded they must pre-register their entry, regrettably entries on the day cannot be accepted)

If further assistance is required please contact …

Alan Pettigrew
Tel.No.  –  01294 538179
Email  –