Highland Games competitor James Gerrick about to toss the caber at a Highland Games gathering. (Black Press File)

156th Highland Games in Victoria welcomes back World Champion

Up to 15,000 spectators expected to soak up Scottish culture and watch athletes compete

Andy Vincent, one of only two athletes ever to turn the Jim Maxwell Challenge caber, is set to return to this year’s 2019 Victoria Highland Games and Celtic Festival.

The Topaz Park festival runs May 18 – 20 and one of the highlights is the Jim Maxwell Challenge caber toss, where athletes competing in the pro division have the chance to turn the festival’s special caber. So far, only two men have managed to fling the 19 foot 150 pound piece of wood in the air, turning a full rotation before watching it crash to earth.

ALSO READ: What leisure facilities and programs would you like to see in Central Saanich?

“We’ve got some of the top throwers from Canada and the USA coming to town,” says Carl Jensen, director-at-large of the Victoria Highland Games Association.

“On Saturday and Sunday mornings you’ve got your amateur level athletes and in the afternoons there’s a pro men’s class and an elite women’s class. There’s going to be a fantastic group of athletes, like on the men’s side, we’ve got Chuck Kasson coming, who actually won the World Championship in Victoria, last year.”

Jensen adds that on Monday the focus shifts to traditional “strong-man type events” such as athletes lifting atlas stones or performing a farmer’s walk carrying 400 pounds in each hand. It is also a chance for novices to compete, often one of the best supported classes as friends and families flock to see them strut their stuff.

ALSO READ: Drug-driver vehicle hit and run in Brentwood Bay

Jensen, who is an avid competitor, is excited by the talent in the women’s pro and amateur divisions, with an especially strong group competing this year, hoping to build on last year’s performances, where a Victorian competitor broke a world record.

The festival has been running 156 years and will host a variety of traditional strength and athletic competitions, including a traditional tug of war.

But the festival isn’t all muscle-bound warriors throwing telegraph poles about, visitors can watch cutting challenges, broadsword demonstrations and see Celtic fashion.

Those looking for a relaxed day in the sun can sup Lighthouse Brewing Company’s special Highlands Challenge ale from one of the two beer gardens, or mill around the stalls and clan tents. The festival attracts duelling pipe bands from all over B.C. and the Pacific North West, and many attendees will be wearing kilts in their families’ tartan. Kids activities will also feature such as face painting.

ALSO READ: Coast Guard shows off Canadian can-do attitude

The festival organizers encourage people to come support the 20 local amateurs, who often train multiple times a week, as well as to see the mountainous pros in action. Jensen says he expects up to 15,000 people will attend and watch the 40 amateurs and 18 elite athletes. He looks forward to people having the opportunity to explore pictish culture.

“As our President Jim Maxwell says, ‘When you’re at the Highland Games, everybody can be Scottish for the weekend.’”

For more information on the Topaz Park event visit victoriahighlandgames.com. Tickets are between $12 and $30. Dogs are not permitted on site.



nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

nick.murray@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

Light wind sends half of Swiftsure yacht fleet back to shore early

Many racers return overnight in unusual race conditions

Leaving dog in hot car can result in $75,000 fine, prohibition from owning animals, prison

B.C. SPCA received 800 calls last year about dogs left in hot cars

Radio Host Erin Davis pens Mourning Has Broken following death of her daughter

Book by North Saanich woman gives advice to others struggling with grief

Bed Races on Beacon champs ready to defend their title

Race takes place July 7 on Beacon Avenue, raising funds for the Peninsula Youth Clinic

Saanich preschool celebrates 30 years with reunion event

Thousands invited RSVP for Carrot Seed Preschool 30-year celebration

WATCH: Thousands enjoy sunshine at second annual Village Block Party

Cook Street filled with local food, music and more

Social media giants in hot seat as politicians consider regulations in Ottawa

Committee members will also grill representatives from Facebook, Twitter

Wildfire crews watching for dangerous wind shift in High Level, Alta.

The Chuckegg Creek fire is raging out of control about three kilometres southwest of the town

UN urges Canada to take more vulnerable Mexican migrants from Central America

The request comes as the United States takes a harder line on its Mexican border

Mistrial declared in Jamie Bacon murder plot trial

Bacon was on trial for counselling to commit the murder of Person X

B.C. VIEWS: Money-laundering melodrama made for TV

Public inquiry staged to point fingers before 2021 election

Canadian homebuyers escaping high housing costs by moving to secondary cities

In British Columbia, exurbs have grown in the Hope Valley and Kamloops

Feds lay out proposed new rules for voice, video recorders in locomotives

Transport Canada wants to limit use of recorders to if a crew’s actions led to a crash

Most Read