Please Sign In | Register
Google pluspinterestShare on Stumble UponShare on RedditFacebookShare on Tumblr
TITLE
Throwing the Hammer at the Highland Games, Portree, Skye
EXTERNAL ID
SLD_182_023
PLACENAME
Portree
DISTRICT
Skye
OLD COUNTY/PARISH
INVERNESS: Portree
DATE OF IMAGE
1973
PERIOD
1970s
CREATOR
Olivia James
SOURCE
Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre
ASSET ID
39468
KEYWORDS
highland games
Highland Games arena
pipers
Skye Games
heavy event
Throwing the Hammer at the Highland Games, Portree, Skye

An array of waterproof coats and jackets in the crowd provides a colourful backdrop to one of the 'Heavy' events at the Skye Games as a competitor throws the hammer and a piper paces the display platform behind, no doubt playing a March.

The 'Heavy' events in the Highland Games, which take place throughout northern Scotland during the summer months, include Tossing the Caber, Putting the Shot and Throwing a Weight over a Bar, and Throwing the Hammer. Competitors aim to throw a hammer (a metal ball weighing about 22 lbs which is attached to a wooden handle) as far as they can. Using a circular motion to whirl the hammer above their head before releasing it behind them, each competitor has three attempts. They are not allowed to move their feet or they are disqualified. The person achieving the greatest distance wins the event. The majority of those taking part, and certainly the winners, train very seriously and compete at events across the Highlands.

Although looking like a natural amphitheatre, the arena used for the Highland Games and other events was mostly created when stone was quarried for building work in Portree, including the Skye Gathering Hall. An early reference to "Lord Macdonald's Games" occurs in 1833 and these were undoubtedly a precursor of the modern games. They took place at Home Farm in Portree until land was purchased in 1892 at the Meall, or the "Lump", as it is more often referred to. The first Skye Games took place on 6 September 1877 and were linked to the annual Skye Balls held in September. The events are now independent of each other and the Games are a prominent feature of the summer tourist season on Skye, taking place on the first Wednesday in August. Due to recent increases in the number of visitors, certain alterations have had to be made to the retaining wall round the cliffs. A new external walk has been created and this gives good views of Portree harbour and the loch.




Olivia James
The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.
'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan.


This image may be available to purchase.
For further information about purchasing and prices please email
Skye and Lochalsh Archives

For guidance on the use of images and other content, please see the Terms and Conditions page.
High Life Highland is a company limited by guarantee registered in Scotland No. SC407011 and is a registered Scottish charity No. SC042593
Powered by Capture

Throwing the Hammer at the Highland Games, Portree, Skye

INVERNESS: Portree

1970s

highland games; Highland Games arena; pipers; Skye Games; heavy event

Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre

Olivia James Collection

An array of waterproof coats and jackets in the crowd provides a colourful backdrop to one of the 'Heavy' events at the Skye Games as a competitor throws the hammer and a piper paces the display platform behind, no doubt playing a March.<br /> <br /> The 'Heavy' events in the Highland Games, which take place throughout northern Scotland during the summer months, include Tossing the Caber, Putting the Shot and Throwing a Weight over a Bar, and Throwing the Hammer. Competitors aim to throw a hammer (a metal ball weighing about 22 lbs which is attached to a wooden handle) as far as they can. Using a circular motion to whirl the hammer above their head before releasing it behind them, each competitor has three attempts. They are not allowed to move their feet or they are disqualified. The person achieving the greatest distance wins the event. The majority of those taking part, and certainly the winners, train very seriously and compete at events across the Highlands. <br /> <br /> Although looking like a natural amphitheatre, the arena used for the Highland Games and other events was mostly created when stone was quarried for building work in Portree, including the Skye Gathering Hall. An early reference to "Lord Macdonald's Games" occurs in 1833 and these were undoubtedly a precursor of the modern games. They took place at Home Farm in Portree until land was purchased in 1892 at the Meall, or the "Lump", as it is more often referred to. The first Skye Games took place on 6 September 1877 and were linked to the annual Skye Balls held in September. The events are now independent of each other and the Games are a prominent feature of the summer tourist season on Skye, taking place on the first Wednesday in August. Due to recent increases in the number of visitors, certain alterations have had to be made to the retaining wall round the cliffs. A new external walk has been created and this gives good views of Portree harbour and the loch.<br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <br /> <b>Olivia James</b><br /> The images in this collection are a selection from a set of high quality Agfachrome slides taken by Olivia James. Mrs James, a semi-professional photographer, took the photographs on visits to Skye between 1968 and 1989, using a Pentax S1A camera and CT 18 film. They record a variety of locations, people and activities which have now changed or indeed disappeared, and provide one person's view of the island through the camera lens. Born in Elderslie, Renfrewshire on 26th April 1932, Olive Grace James (née Purcell) moved to England in 1944, trained as a teacher and married Richard James in 1956. Her husband's forbears were from Skye and they began visiting on a regular basis in 1968. In addition to the slides, Mrs James has written an evocative account of her memories of places, events and people on Skye which she named 'Skye Magic', a copy of which is held at the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre.<br /> 'Skye Magic' has been incorporated into her privately printed autobiography 'Neivie, Neivie, Nick, Nack' which she has kindly donated to various institutions including the Clan Donald Library on Skye, the Mitchell Library in Glasgow and the Weaver's Cottage, Kilbarchan. <br /> <br /> <br /> This image may be available to purchase.<br /> For further information about purchasing and prices please email<br /> <a href="mailto: skyeandlochalsh.archives@highlifehighland.com ">Skye and Lochalsh Archives</a>