Welcome to the Bearsden & Milngavie Highland Games

The Games started in 1973 as a small fundraising event for local communities.

Fast forward 50+ years and it’s now the biggest single day out in East Dunbartonshire. This family orientated event is immensely popular with the local community of Milngavie, Bearsden and the surrounding areas – we also attract visitors from around the world.

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The next games will take place on Saturday 8th June 2024 at the West of Scotland Football Club, Glasgow Rd, Milngavie, Glasgow G62 6AQ. Throughout the day, we have all the traditional highland games events; from wrestling, pipe bands, heavies, arm wrestling to Scottish dancing. The games also play host to the World Haggis Hurling Championship and everyone is encouraged to have a go! There’s also fairground rides and shows, great food and drinks venues, craft and trade stalls, as well as exhibitors and displays.

The Bearsden & Milngavie Highland Games are organised by volunteers who give up their time free of charge to make the event a fun-filled day out for all who come.

If you are interested in supporting this year’s games, you’ll find more information here.

If you would like to take a trade stall at this year’s games, click here.

Our Charity Partner

Funding Neuro has been the Bearsden & Milngavie Highland Games charity partner since 2014. Over the years, visitors to the games have very generously donated to help them find new ways to treat people with brain disorders.



Our 2024 Main Sponsor

A big thank you to Corum Property Bearsden for being our main sponsor for the games this year!

Our 2024 Chieftain is Leanne Maiden

It’s official! Leanne Maiden is our chieftain and master of ceremonies for 2024.

We are delighted and excited to welcome Leanne as our Chieftain for this year’s games. Leanne lives in Bearsden and many of you will have seen or heard of her amazing achievement, as she single-handedly completed a 3,000-mile charity row across the Atlantic.

Join us for a great day out!

Coming Soon!

The 2025 games will start in...

Events and Activities

The games start at 11am and finish at 5pm.

Events and activities run throughout the day. The timetable below is typical of the events we run each year. You can also listen out for announcements on the day.

  • Day Event Timetable

  • – Shot Putt
    – 28lb weight for distance
    – 16lb hammer
    – 56lb weight for height and caber

    By tradition a smooth, round stone from the riverbed is used, weighting approx. 16lbs. Such a stone is still often found outside many farmhouses in readiness for an impromptu competition. The stone, and now also a cast round ball or shot, is putted from behind a straight 4’6” long and 6” high called a trig. The throw is measured from the centre of the trig to the first mark made by the stone.

    The Scots hammer has a wooden shaft and developed from throwing the blacksmith’s hammer or farm male ham- mers. Today’s hammer with its round head and whippy shaft was developed because the standard hammer broke so easily. No turning of the body is allowed. The thrower stands with his back to the trig and digs in with the aid of two 6” spikes with protrude from the front of his boots. The shaft is grasped firmly with hands made sticky with resin. He then swings the hammer round his head 3-5 times and lets go.

    The weight weighs 56lbs and is thrown over a bar. Three attempts are allowed at each height and failure to clear leads to elimination. The competitor stands underneath the bar, picks up the weight with one hand, swings it between his legs and then up and over the bar. If thrown correctly the weight narrowly misses the athlete on the way down.

    The weight is a ball and chain with a handle on the end, weighing 28lbs. One hand only may be used. Nine feet is allowed for stepping back and this is marked with a peg. The thrower stands beside the peg facing the trig and swings the weight to the side and then round behind him. Letting the weight drag as far behind him as he can he then pivots round once, twice and on the third turn he heaves the weight round and throws it as far as he can.

    Caber tossing started as a strength competition among woodmen to see who could turn the biggest tree over. Thus they started with a large tree and shortened it until someone tossed it successfully. A typical caber is a tree trunk weighing about 150lbs, 18 feet long and tapering from about 9” thick at one end to 5” thick at the other. The Caber
 is not tossed for distance but for style. The competition is judged on an imaginary clock face which the tosser creates as he completes the toss. The tosser runs up balancing the caber as best he can. When ready he stops and tosses. This point is taken as 6 o’clock. The caber describes an arc, lands end first and completes its fall to the ground. A perfect throw is one which goes straight over and lands at 12 o’clock.
    The judge usually runs behind the competitor as close as is safely possible, to judge the position of the caber on the ground relative to the run up. Here at Taynuilt we have a caber which has never been tossed successfully and there is a large money prize for the first person to do so.

    You can enter the Heavy Events on the day or go to the contact page and fill in the contact form to book your place.

    The ancient art of Haggis Hurling will take place throughout the day, with opportunities for all to take part.

    The aim is simple – to stand atop an aged whisky barrel top, and hurl the Chieftain O’ the Puddin’ Race as far as possible. You can adopt whatever technique you like, as long as you remain on the barrel until the Haggis lands, and it lands within the designated Hurling area.

    The event will culminate in the Haggis Hurling World Championships at 4pm, where elite athletes identified during the day’s competition are invited to take part in the quest to become World Champion.

    Follow Haggis Hurling World Championships on: Facebook: Haggis Hurling WC
    Twitter: @WorldHaggis

    Teams of 6
    Groups: Adult Male / Adult Female / Adult Mixed

    Teams of six with a coach pull against each other. The rope is marked 6 feet on either side of the centre. When the Judge commands “take the strain” and the rope is taut, he marks the middle of the rope by placing a stick in the ground. The contest is decided when one or other of the markers on the rope passes the marker on the ground.

    Emphasis is heavily directed towards fun. Go on have a go!

    Teams of 6
    Age groups: Under 10’s / Aged 10 – 15

    Teams of six with a coach pull against each other. The rope is marked 6 feet on either side of the centre. When the Judge commands “take the strain” and the rope is taut, he marks the middle of the rope by placing a stick in the ground. The contest is decided when one or other of the markers on the rope passes the marker on the ground. Just a bit of fun for the kids!

  • Throughout the day

  • Please: All entries for the competition must be submitted by Wednesday 5th June.

    Bearsden & Milngavie Highland Games is one of a number of venues for Highland Dance Competitions that carry a high status in the sport and attract dancers from around the World in addition to those from Scotland. Each year some 100 dancers come to Milngavie to take part in a number of competitions graded according to both age and skill level. Only dancers registered with the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing may take part, this ensures a uniformly high standard of judging and of dancing.

    Highland Dancing should not be confused with Scottish Country Dancing. The Highland Dance is a style of competitive solo dancing developed in the Scottish Highlands from steps taken from the French Court, probably through Mary Queen of Scots, where this style of dance was performed by the Scottish gentlemen who served in the French King’s Bodyguard. Forms of these dances had occurred much earlier in Scotland of course, the oldest being the Sword Dance which dates from 1054. Following a duel with claymore swords, the victor took his victim’s weapon and crossed it with his own on the ground. He then danced over the naked blades in the ecstasy of victory.

    Highland Dancing is very technical requiring considerable stamina and formed part of the physical training of the Highland Regiments and travelled through the United Kingdom, the New World and the Commonwealth with them. It evolved further during the 19th and 20th Centuries in competitions held at public events such as Highland Games and has been subject to many influences, ballet for example.

    At early Highland Games the dances were only performed by male performers, however, as women were not expressly forbidden from taking part, a girl called Lorna Mitchell entered a competition. She has been followed enthusiastically by other female dancers and today they make up over 95% of all entrants.

    To enter the Highland Dancing Competition, go to the contact page and fill in the contact form no later than 5th June.

Home of the World Haggis Hurling Championship

We are very proud to be the home of the World Haggis Hurling Championship. Each year we encourage everyone to have a go – even the Chieftain!

With entrants from all over the world trying their hand, it’s a great competition to be part of.

The present world record for haggis hurling was set at 217 feet (66 metres) by Lorne Coltart at the games on 11th June 2011, beating Allan Pettigrew’s 180-foot (55-metre) record which had stood for over twenty years.

Congratulations to Garry McLay (centre) for defending his title successfully for what seems like more years than the Games have been running for. The winning throw was not that far off the World Record (see below).

Congratulations also to the Luka Bardelli (left) and Connor Davie (right) for coming in 2nd and 3rd place, and well done to everyone who took part. And thanks go to Jennifer for presenting the medals.

Could 2024 be your year?


West of Scotland Football Club,
Glasgow Rd, Milngavie, Glasgow G62 6AQ

The official Highland Games car park is a short to moderate walk away from the venue and is well sign-posted, there is disabled parking close to the event.

Supported by

Each year we are thankful for the support of our sponsors and volunteers who help make the games the best day out ever! Find out more information on our Supporters page.