Open Stone/Braemar Stone

The Open Stone and the Braemar Stone are rocks that are thrown for distance by Scottish Heavy Athletes. These events were historically a “test of manhood” and a test of strength. These events were adapted by the first International Olympic Committee to become what is now known as the Shot Put for modern track and field competitions. These events differ in that the Scottish Heavy Athletes still use a “round river stone” for competition instead of the standardized steel or lead ball that track and field uses.

The stones can be any shape, size, or material, though they tend to be round, oblong, or rectangular. The weights of the stones are different for the Open Stone and the Braemar Stone competitions. For the Men’s and Master’s divisions, the Open Stone weight is 16-22 pounds and the Braemar Stone is 20-26 pounds. The Women’s Open Stone weighs 8-12 pounds and the Braemar Stone is 13-18 pounds.Putting the open stone

Putting the Braemar stoneFor the Open Stone, the athlete must keep his or her feet within a box while throwing and may only use one hand on the implement. The athlete may have one foot outside the box on either side but may neither step past the back line or in front of or on the “trig” at the front of the box. The box is 4.5 feet wide by 7.5 feet long. The athlete must remain on their feet and under control at the end of their throw. Any style of approach is allowed.

For the Braemar Stone, the athlete must remain behind the “trig” at all times and must throw from a standing position. No approach is allowed.


 

Weight For Distance

The weight for distance is an example of the Scots using whatever implements were handy to test their strength and (unofficially) train for war. The weights thrown would have come from an agricultural scale and would have appeared much the same as they do today.

The weights consist of a block of metal attached by a length of chain to a circular, triangular, or “D” shaped ring. The overall length of the implement is 18 inches. TheWeight for distance weights thrown are broken down into two categories, light and heavy. For the Men’s division, the light weight is 28 pounds (2 stone) and the heavy is 56 pounds (4 stone). The Women’s weights are 14 pounds (1 stone) for the light and 28 pounds (2 stone) for the heavy. For the Masters, the light weight is 28 pounds (2 stone) and the heavy weight is 42 pounds (3 stone).

Similar to the Open Stone, the athlete must keep his feet within a box while throwing and may only use one hand on the implement. The athlete may have one foot outside the box on either side but may neither step past the back line or in front of or on the “trig” at the front of the box. The box is 4.5 feet wide by 9 feet long. The athlete must remain on their feet and under control at the end of their throw.

 

Hammer Throw

The hammer throw is another example of the Scots using whatever implements were handy to test their strength. The hammers originally thrown would have been blacksmith’s hammers with a long rattan handle. The original configuration has been slightly altered for competition as the original steel head has been replaced by a steel or lead ball. The Scottish Hammer was modified for track and field competitions by replacing the straight wooden handle with a wire and allowing the athlete to move during the toss.

The hammers consist of a block or ball of metal attached by a handle made of either rattan or PVC pipe. This allows the implement to flex and allows the athlete to develop greater amounts of speed when tossing it. The overall length of the implement is 50 inches. The hammers thrown are broken down into two categories, light and heavy. For the Men’s and Master’s divisions, the light hammer is 16 pounds and the heavy is 22 pounds. The Women’s hammers are 12 pounds for the light and 16 pounds for the heavy. Hammer toss

The athlete starts from a standing position with his or her back facing the trig. The athletes may not move their feet until after they release the hammer, and they may not step on or over the trig at any time. The athletes may wear specially designed “hammer boots”, which have metal blades on the toes which may be dug into the ground to help the athlete remain stationary. The athlete will wind the hammer in a circular motion, building up speed, and then releasing the hammer over their shoulder. The distance of the throw is measured from the center of the trig to the part of the implement that hits the ground closest to the trig. The athletes must remain on their feet and under control at the end of their throw.

 

Caber Toss

The caber toss is the signature event of Scottish Heavy Athletics. There are many theories as to how this event originated, but no one knows if any of them are true. One thing we do know is that it is one of the most exciting sporting events you will ever watch!

Caber toss“Caber” is a Gaelic word that means “tree”, which is exactly what the implement is. A caber can be any size such that it provides a challenge to the athletes. A good caber is one which at least 1/3 of the competitors are able to “turn”. Typically, a Men’s or a Master’s caber is between 16 and 22 feet in length and weighs between 70 and 145 pounds, though Pro cabers can be up to 200 pounds. Depending on availability, the Men and the Masters divisions may toss the same caber. A Women’s caber is typically 10 to 16 feet in length and weighs between 40 and 100 pounds. The cabers should have a taper to them and be relatively straight. The caber may be taped or reinforced to help it survive the shock of impact.

During the caber toss, the athlete will start with the caber standing up with the large end in the air and the narrower end on the ground at his or her feet. The athlete will then squat down with the caber leaning against their shoulder, squeezing the caber between their palms. They will then rapidly lift the caber off the ground and slide their hands underneath it, cupping the end of the caber in their hands. This is called the “pick”.

Once the competitor has control of the caber, they will begin to run forward. The back judge will follow directly behind them, noting the direction of the run. When the competitor feels they have enough forward momentum, they will stop, drop down by bending their knees, and then pull their hands upward as quickly as possible, throwing the end of the caber into the air. This is called the “pull”.

The heavy end of the caber will cause it to turn in the air. When the heavy end hits the ground, the caber will hopefully continue to flip end-over-end, with the light end of the caber hitting the ground away from the competitor. This is called “turning the caber”. The direction in which the competitor was running determines the 12:00 position of a clock face. The closer the narrow end of the caber lands to this imaginary 12:00 position, the better the turn. The competitor will be given a score between 9:00 and 3:00 based on where the end lands, with 12:00 being a perfect toss.

If the caber does not turn all the way over, a side judge will instead give a score based on how many degrees above horizontal the caber reached, up to 90º for a caber that stands straight up and then falls back. A turned caber always beats a degree score.

Each competitor gets three attempts to toss the caber, with their best toss being counted. In the event of a tie, the second best tosses are compared, followed by the third, if necessary. If a tie still exists, the rounds in which the best scores were made are compared, with those who scored the best in the earliest round winning. If there is still a tie after comparing all of these scores, the result stands.

 

Weight For HeightWeight for height

The weight for height, sometimes known as the Weight Over Bar (WOB) is a test of the Scottish Heavy Athlete’s strength, timing, and stamina. The implement for this event is the same as the Heavy Weight for Distance, except that the connecting chain is usually shortened. The overall length of the implement is a maximum of 18 inches. For the Men’s division, the weight is 56 pounds (4 stone). The Women’s weight is 28 pounds (2 stone). For the Masters, the weight is 42 pounds (3 stone).

In this event, the athlete uses one hand to toss the weight up and over a bar that is set at a certain height. The athlete may use any technique, as long as he or she only uses one hand on the weight. Each athlete is allowed three attempts per height. If they do not clear the bar in three attempts, they are eliminated from the competition. An athlete may choose to skip heights at the beginning to conserve energy, but once they begin throwing, they may not skip any more heights. After all throws are completed at a particular height, the bar is raised by a predetermined amount agreed upon by the athletes and any competitors not previously eliminated are given three chances to clear the bar. The competition continues until all athletes have been eliminated. The winner is the athlete that cleared the highest bar. In the event of a tie, the number of attempts required to clear the highest height are used to determine the finishing places. If a tie still exists, the attempts at each previous height are compared until a winner is determined. If a tie still exists, the result stands.

 

Sheaf Toss

Sheaf toss

 

 

Using a three-tined pitchfork, the athlete hurls a sheaf (burlap bag filled with hay) over a horizontal bar raised between two standards, similar to the crossbar used in the pole vault. The athlete has three attempts to clear each level of the bar.

After all attempts at that level, the bar is raised in 6 inch or 1 foot increments. The continually rising bar reduces the field as competition continues until all but one athlete is eliminated. Men use a 16lb or 20lb sheaf and women use a 10lb sheaf.

This height event has its origins in the farm country during harvest time. To bring the harvest into the barn, the field workers would toss sheaves of wheat or bales of hay into a wagon using pitchforks. As the bales piled up in the wagon, the workers would have to pitch the bales higher and higher to fill the wagon. Once the wagon was brought from the field to the barn, the workers would then pitch the bales up to the storage loft on the barn's second floor.