Blantyre Highland Games, 1907

Many readers of this page will remember Blantyre Highland Games at Bardykes Farm in the late 1980’s. People look back fondly to those well organised, popular events which gathered many thousands of spectators.

However, you may be surprised to know that the 1980’s weren’t the first Highland Games to happen in Blantyre.

On the last Saturday of June, 1907 the annual Highland Games took place at Castle Park, on Forrest Street, Blantyre. It wasn’t the first event which was known to have been taking place since at least 1903.

Organisers were Lodge Livingstone 599 and with good weather favouring the gathering, it was certainly a factor in its success and so many attendees.

For weeks before the Games, Secretary John Muir had been working hard to sign up local competitors for the various races and events. By the big day, competitors took place in 100 yards, Half mile, Piping Marches, Highland Fling, Piping, 200 yards, Putting the Ball, Five Mile race, Highland Dancing, Sword Dance, Sailors Hornpipe, Tug of War, Team Races Obstacle Race and 12 stone wrestling (which lasted 6 minutes!)

Prizes were given out with refreshments available to the crowd. By all accounts a marvellous success which had local people talking about their “good day out” for weeks afterwards.

Photo: For illustration only. Not Blantyre.


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  1. Hello! I am translating a book about a wrestler named Maeda Mitsuyo who attended these games in 1907 along with two other Japanese Judo wrestlers. Are there any more pictures taken this day. It would be neat if they could be seen in the crowd.

  2. Michael Glangevlin McGovern

    We have The Highland Games each year here in New York. It is held in a park called “Old Westbury Gardens” just outside New York City about 2 miles from my house. This is where I bought my “Scotland” bumper sticker.

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