WATCH: Traditional Scottish sports take the high road to Loviisa

Throwing heavy object, bagpipe music and country dancing showed an alternative way to spend Midsummer weekend!


The skirl of the bagpipes livened up Midsummer holiday weekend in Loviisa, as enthusiasts of Scottish culture and sports gathered to celebrate a traditional Highland Games.

The annual event was a showcase for some of Finland’s strongest athletes who chucked, hoisted and hefted a variety of heavy objects in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd of spectators.

“Highland Games is wearing a kilt and throwing heavy stuff either long distances or very high” explains Arto Karppinen, one of the competitors.

Each of the athletes must compete in five different events: weight throwing for distance and height; hammer throwing, stoneput – like a shotput, but using a large stone instead; and tossing the caber.

In Scotland, tossing the caber involves carrying a large lot and flipping it over. In Finland it’s been adapted to use a Finnish birch tree log instead.

“I do basic weightlifting for getting strong, and then I just train the weights” says 34-year old Karppinen from Hämmenlinna who has a few cabers of his own at home to practice with.

The athletes – all from Finland – wore kilts during the sports events, but unlike true Scotsman they had been instructed to wear underwear as the Highland Games is a family event.

Although Karppinen has never visited Scotland he plans to go next summer with family and friends, and visit a real Highland Games.

In addition to the sports events, the Loviisa Highland Games also features a troupe of Scottish country dance enthusiasts who traveled from St. Petersburg; and members of the Helsinki Pipes and Drums pipe band.