Traditional Scotland Games

The first two sports that come to mind at the mere mentioning of Scotland are football and golf and for a good reason. The performance and mark the Scots have made on history with these two is more than many a nation can boast about. We love playing games and some even play online with promotions like However, they are not the only games we know how to play.

Tossing the Caber

This is one of the best-known Scottish games around the world and the one most associated with Highland Games. In a caber toss, the participant is expected to lift a long and heavy log, about 19 feet 6 inches that weighs 12.5 stone, hold the bottom of it with both hands while the rest balances on your upper torso, run forward, and toss it. The point is for the caber land in line with your running track, aiming for 12 o’clock.

The distance is not important. What’s important is the precision. The best possible outcome is for the caber to fall away from the tosser, but you can still get sufficient points if the caber falls toward you, provided the vertical angle is satisfactory.

Maide Leisg

The game is pronounced as made leash and means lazy stick. This is a game for two participants. They sit across from each other with their legs spread and feet touching. They both hold a stick and try with all their might to pull it. The weaker participant, or the lighter one, obviously, gets lifted off the ground.

Weight for Height

Another Highland Games favourite, this game involves throwing a weight of 4 stone above your head and see how high you can reach. Here’s a bit of a twist, though – you only use one hand. You start by putting the weight back and placing your other hand on your knee to get leverage. After the initial swing, put your legs in a semi-squatting position and toss the weight into the air. Be careful not to hit your head!

Tug O’ War

Even those that know next to nothing about Scotland have played some version of tug o’ war. There are two teams and a rope between them. The goal is to pull on the rope so hard that the other team loses their footing and/or goes over a designated line. This game has been adapted for various parties and game shows, so sometimes there is a mud pit or a pool for the losers to fall in.


This is a children’s game where the object is to follow instructions and chant while bouncing a ball off a wall. The first bounce is plain as it involves nothing but bouncing the ball and catching it, hence plainy. The second one involves clapping before catching the ball – clappy. After that, the instructions are left to the rhyme. One of the more common chants is: “Plainy, clappy, rolley, to backey, hippy, tippy, a jelly bag and basket.” The game has traditionally been played by girls.

British Bulldog

A common children’s chasing game, British Bulldog has one player, who plays the role of the bulldog, stand in the middle of a circle while the rest of the children chant. At the end of the chant, the bulldog chases the children. The person caught becomes the next bulldog. Nothing competitive about this game, it’s all good fun.