Highland Games & Ceilidh

Chattanooga-area homeschool families are invited to join us for our Highland Games and Ceilidh! Highland games are traditional Scottish sports; we will be doing modified versions of traditional events suitable for students of a variety of ages. A ceilidh is an evening of Scottish dance, often with additional music and poetry performances.


Participants will be divided into five teams representing the five Scottish clans below. To the extent possible, participants from the same family will be assigned to the same clan. Points earned by all participants in the games and the poetry competition will be counted toward your clan’s total score; the clan with the highest score wins the day – medals will be awarded to the first prize clan only.


Fuimus (We have been) – History


Jamais Arriere (Never behind) – History


Per Mare Per Terras (By sea and land) – History


Virescit Vulnere Virtus (Courage grows strong at a wound) – History


Pro Libertate (For liberty) – History


For the games

  • Each team will have its own tartan; team members are required to wear their team’s tartan (available upon arrival; must be returned at the end of the day).
  • If you have them, kilts are optional; must reach below the knee.

For the ceilidh

  • All: Semi-formal/Sunday best or traditional Highland dress

Opening Ceremony

All participants parade to enter the games competition area as a brief history of the clan they represent is read.


  • Poetry competition – Interested students have an opportunity to memorize and recite traditional Scottish poetry; please contact the Tutor by March 31 if you plan to compete. In both the Short and the Long categories, medals will be awarded for 1st prize, with the addition of 2nd and 3rd prizes depending on the number of competitors. Poems must be chosen from the following and must be word-perfect according to the pages linked below:
  • Music performance – Interested students have an opportunity to perform traditional Scottish music (harp, fiddle, or any other portable instrument; a piano is available). Please contact the Tutor by March 31 if you plan to present.
  • Poetry reading – We will read as a group Beowulf – The following ISBN is required, as we will all need to be, quite literally, on the same page: 9780393320978.


All events will be divided into gentlemen’s and ladies’ competitions. All throwing events are best of three tries. Specific rules – modified from standard events to be suitable for students of a variety of ages – will be published shortly. A good video introduction to the standard (i.e. not modified) sports is available here. If you plan to compete, it is strongly recommended that you practice in advance with similar objects and begin with light weights.

  • Caber toss – The caber (not full size!) must flip end over end and land as close to the twelve-o’clock position as possible
  • Sheaf toss/weight-for-height – Throw a sheaf (or a bundle of material substituted for grain stalks) as high as you can
  • Stone put – Throw a rock as far as you can (distance); must begin beside your chin (not overhand or underhand)
  • Hill run – Run up and down a relatively-steep hill as fast as you can
  • Farmer’s Walk – Carry a heavy object (bucket of rocks) in each hand over a fixed distance as fast as you can


Dinner is pot-luck. Each family should bring a dish to share as well as a drink and/or dessert. Traditional Scottish dishes are welcome. Water and some traditional Scottish dishes will be available in addition.

Ceilidh / Ball

The evening will conclude with group singing of traditional Scottish songs and a ball of traditional Scottish dances.

For the 2022 games, RSVP is required by April 5th