The Cambridge Highland Games

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Can you tell yet how excited we are to get our Highland on?!

Only one month away until we board our flight to beautiful Scotland! In anticipation for our first adventure together, Andrew and I decided to go to our hometown’s annual festival, the 40th Annual Cambridge Highland Games. I had never gone before, but Andrew had attended a few years back. Being a first timer and never having experienced anything Scottish in my life, I was eager to go and see what these games were all about.

No where near the same caliber as what you would find over in the UK, but I think the Cambridge Highland Games put on a good showcase of what these games would have looked like years ago. A lovely tradition that is kept alive here in Cambridge, thanks to kindly donations that keep this festival running year after year.

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Costs for the Day

The entrance fee is a reasonable $17.00 for adults, $13.00 for students and seniors. That just includes your admission though. Food and other souvenir purchases are additional costs.

Schedule of Events

The day consists of several different Scottish activities and events. Piping & drumming and Highland Dancing are some of the competitions that go on for most of the day and you can catch at any point.

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We missed the Heavy Events Competition (sad to have missed this), where different teams of men chuck logs and heavy objects to see who can toss the farthest distance. An event we did catch in time was the Tug O War Competition.

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Tug O War goes far beyond what you may have used to play on the school yard – it’s an official sport with rules and all! And yes, there is an actual Canadian Tug of War Association – who knew!

“The beauty of tug of war is in four areas: Art, wisdom, science and humanity.
It’s an art because it is a demonstration between power and rhythm.
 The wisdom is in the perfect balance of still and movement.
 It is a science because of the integration of science and strength.
And its humanity is that it is a war of peace, it is a strong team linked together with a rope.”
(from the Bluewater Tug-of-War Club website)

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Other things the Cambridge Highland Games has to offer include a ceilidh the evening before, and even a sheep dog demonstration.  We did not get to see the demonstration this year, but I was lucky to see one when taking my students on a field trip in Saskatchewan. If you ever get the chance to watch one, do it! It is so interesting to watch, especially seeing the dogs at work!


Aside from the competitions and ongoing activities, there are several booths set up displaying the different clans. Each booth has something different, each showcasing their clan’s history and each member bursting with pride as they do so. A little part of me wishes I had some Scottish in my bloodline – the history and passion behind the clans is something truly wonderful. Scottish or not, you can count on me buying something tartan when we visit Scotland next month – I’ll just choose the tartan pattern I think is prettiest and go with that clan, think they’ll mind?

Scottish Eats

Food trucks galore and little bakeries and trinket shops are set up as well for the weekend event. We bought our lunch at Poor Bhoy’s Eatery, ordering the Burger of Athenry – it was to die for! An all-beef Guinness burger with Irish-spiced pulled pork on top? Can I get an amen?

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All in all, I am so happy that we came to the Cambridge Highland Games. I have lived in Cambridge all my life and I am a little disappointed that this was my first time coming to this community event. I’ve never been one to come out and support local events in my city, but this year so far, after attending the Tour de Grand, Riverside Park’s Canada Day Fireworks, and now the Cambridge Highland Games, I am feeling a deeper sense of community here in Cambridge. I always raved about North Battleford‘s community and how everyone got together as a city, especially during hockey season, and made you feel like you were part of the group. I never tried to seek this out in Cambridge, but this summer I am making an effort and I’m loving every minute of it. Next City of Cambridge event for me? The Cambridge Mill Race Folk Festival – stay tuned!

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Have you attended the real Highland Games or a sister festival?

What summer festivals do you most look forward to in your town/city? 


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