CLANNA NAN GAIDHEAL RI GUALLIBH A CHEILE
The hundred and forty eigth
Annual Gathering of the GLENISLA HIGHLAND AND FRIENDLY SOCIETY
Friday 18th August 2017
For the preservation of the Language, Music, Games and Dress of the Highlands of Scotland.
Events and Prizes.
Coupar Angus Pipe Band will be very much at home on the banks of the River Isla, as a young and vibrant band they bring the Games to a tremendous start at 12:30. A sample of things to come as they take to the field again around 3:00pm.
Putting the stone
Putting the stone is traditionally the first event of the heavyweight programme, this was originally a smooth stone from the riverbed, sometimes shaped by a local mason. The stones used to vary greatly in weight and shape but now the stone is either 16 lbs or 22 lbs. The weight is the putt (delivered) with one hand only from in front of the shoulders.
Throwing the hammer
This event represents an old contest where the young locals would compete to see who could throw the blacksmiths sledgehammer the furthest. The sphere of the hammer weighs either 16 lbs or 22 lbs and has a wooden shaft measuring 4’2’’ overall. No turning is allowed. The thrower stands with his back to the trig and with the aid of 6’’ spikes protruding from the front of his boots, he swings the hammer round his head to gather momentum and then releases it. The hammer should fly off straight behind the thrower. It requires strength and good timing.
Throwing the weight for distance
This event combines rhythm and power. The weight is a 28 lb sphere on a chain with a handle at the end. The thrower swings the weight to the side then round behind him. He then waltzes around and on the third turn heaves the weight round and throws it as far as he can.
Tossing the caber
Tossing the caber is the most spectacular of heavy events. The caber is a tree trunk weighing perhaps 150 lbs and about 18’ long. The caber is lifted by placing interlocked hands under the narrower end and resting its length on his shoulder, he then runs as fast as he can, stops dead and tosses the end he is holding into the air so it lands pointing away from him. The competition is judged with the aid of an imaginary clock face. It is delivered from 6 o’clock. A perfect throw is one which goes straight over with the light end landing at 12 o’clock.
Throwing the weight over the bar
The weight is 56 lbs with a ring attached. Great strength is
required although this is belied by the nonchalant attitude adopted by most competitors. Thrown correctly the weight
narrowly misses the competitor on the way down. The weight is equivalent to half a bag of coal yet our ground record is 15’9’’ so this is like throwing a seven year old child over a double decker bus.
The Highland dances performed today were all born of legend and are widely recognised as being amongst the most complex and sophisticated folk dances in the world.
The Highland Fling
This is the most famous of the solo Highland dances said to derive from the antics of a rutting stag on a Scottish hillside. The raised arms imitate the stags antlers. There are no travelling steps in the fling the whole dance being performed on one spot. The stag does not like to run from his woman, he expects them to come to him!
The Sword Dance
This dance originated in 1054. Since then it has become a ritual before battle in which the clansman would dance as close as possible to the sword blades. This was a sign of daring because touching the blades was a bad omen for the next day.
This is a graceful dance, in Gaelic meaning “old trousers”. The dance starts slowly and increases in tempo on the final two steps. This dance recognised the repression after the Jacobite rebellion of 1745 when both bagpipes and the kilt were banned. Any dancing had to be done in trousers and the slow tempo represents the disgust at having to wear them, the shaking movements represents the shaking off of the trews and the quick steps are a display of pleasure when the Scots were once more able to wear the kilt.
Reel O’ Tulloch
This is a dance of four that is said to have originated on a wintery Sunday in the small village of Tulloch in Perthshire. The minister was late and in order to keep warm the
congregation started to dance reel steps and swirl each other by the arms across the aisle. Although the dancers dance in fours they are not judged as a team, but