Kilts On and No Swearing – New Highland Games Rules Announced

Repeated swearing is set to be outlawed during events such as the Tug O’ War

Repeated swearing is set to be outlawed during events such as the Tug O’ War

The Scottish Highland Games Association has for the first time published a universal Code of Conduct to be used by competitors and judges. The 15-page document aims to impose identical rules at more than 60 Highland games across Scotland, endeavouring to do away with an alternative form of events and disciplines.

One rule strictly forbids the removal of kilts during competition and states tug o’ war participants may swear only twice before being disqualified.

The guide also states: “The practice of throwing a light caber for distance is not tossing the caber. It should be discontinued.” Over centuries the discipline, which began as a way for clan chieftains to test their warriors, has evolved, with different Highland games issuing their own codes of conduct.

The code also enforces rules that participants must dress traditionally and preserve modesty, stating: “All competitors must appear and compete while wearing a kilt. No competitor will be permitted to dress or undress in the Games arena.”

Cyclists must “present a neat and tidy appearance”, while wrestlers “shall take hold where they please, subject to the following restrictions – the hair, flesh, ears, private parts or clothes”.


About Nadine Lee

Originally from New Zealand, Nadine is a documentary researcher now based in the north east of Scotland.

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