Children's Highland Games Notes
Fri, 13 May 1994 23:22:09 EDT
I m sorry to take so long getting back to you, but I ve been having to do
more at work than usual (I m in the process of developing some office
management software). You were wondering how to go about scaling a Highland
Games for younger children, Cubs in particular, I believe.
What we do when we hold a Children s Games at home (Cape Breton Island) is to
hold the competition in three basic person-sizes , one for younger children
(usually about eight to ten years old or so), one for the Middles (about
eleven to fourteen), and one for the Olds , (fourteen to eighteen or so).
In general, weighted events (such as the Caber) are scaled to the body size
range. This means that the caber weighs anywhere from 50% to 75% or so of the
median weight for the age group. So children who weigh eighty pounds are
going to have a scaled down caber of anywhere from forty to sixty pounds,
give or take. A less experienced group should be provided weighted event
pieces toward the lower end of the weight range.
As you can see, the weights are not going to be precise, but they will be
consistent throughout the age group, since the same caber will be used by
all. Having been to the Highland Games before, you will already have a good
idea of how the caber is tossed, and you may also have a good idea of how the
event is scored. When choosing your cabers, keep in mind that a good caber
should be half again as long as your competitors are tall.
If you are from the hilly part of Tennessee, you will be able to find some
ideal stones for such events as the Clachneart in stream beds. (Clachneart is
roughly equivalent to the shot put, only you have to use a round rock as the
throwing weight.) Since we were holding this Camp in Delaware, though, we had
to be a bit more inventive. We used an old sack of concrete, nicked some old
Tupperware from various Mums, and learned a little about concrete casting to
make our weighted events pieces for the Clachneart, weight throw, hammer
toss, and weight toss. We cast our stones for the Clachneart inside hollow
synthetic rubber balls. The ones that needed handles or chains attached, we
cut a bit of the ball away and cast the object to include the handle or
chain. We cut the ball away after the concrete had dried.
Though we were a bit worried about it, none of our concrete competition
objects fell apart on the day, and will likely see further service in the
future. (Despite some adults fears of the dangers of allowing kids anywhere
near anything this potentially lethal, the kids had an absolute ball, and
nobody got hurt.)
When it came to the weight toss, we had the Scouts wear bicycling helmets,
just in case some little wally managed to toss the thing straight up and not
be clever enough to get out of the way in time when gravity decided to take
We used hay bales to build the sheaves for the sheaf toss, packing different
weights of hay onto burlap bags and firmly binding the result with baler
twine. This was considerably better at keeping the grounds clean and the
sheaves intact than allowing the kids to toss half bales, or such. (Very few
of them clued into the fact that tossing the sheaf over your shoulder will
loft the thing higher than a forward toss, though.)
Are we all thoroughly confused yet? It s certainly easier to describe when
you are standing in the middle of a Highland Games in progress!
We used long 2x4s for two sets of uprights (one each for the weight toss and
the sheaf toss). We used plastic pipe for the cross-bar, which was rigid
enough to maintain an even height between the uprights, yet light and springy
enough to come loose If the object so much as touched it.
So, there you are - how to match a Highland Games to the size of your
competitors. If you have any further questions, please don t hesitate to ask!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City