Nothing says Summer in Burntisland like the return of the annual Highland Games and Fair. The community here is justifiably proud of the fact these games have been running since 1652, second only to the Ceres Games which have been running since 1314.
The Games used to be more about choosing the strongest or most able-bodied men for the clan chieftain’s household and less about Scottish culture and Candy Floss but no Highland Games would be worth its salt without the ‘Tossing the Caber’ event. The caber is just short of six metres tall, lifted, balanced and completely flipped by the competitor. The highest scores go to those who land the caber straight ahead, in the 12 o’clock position. Aside from these shows of brute strength, there are dancers and music and all manner of athletic competition.
In Burntisland, the Games are also accompanied by fairground attractions which stay in situ long after the high energy of the Highland Games has dissipated. Being next to the beach during the long summer days, you can see why Burntisland was the high point for Glaswegians going on holiday ‘doon the watter’ during the Fair Fortnight.
My sister remembers hot days when the black tarmac was too hot to walk on barefoot, and everyone was sunburnt and happy eating ice creams. The roads were closed so visitors could wander unhindered and there was always an air of excitement and frivolity as all members of the family joined in the celebrations. These days some of the ‘family’ tradition has been lost, but it’s still a much-anticipated summer celebration.
A staple favourite has to be the Big Wheel though. What better way to see across the Fife coastline or feel the wind in your hair or whistling around your ankles? Whatever you are doing this summer, I hope you have fun and I hope you are making memories that you’ll still be talking about many years from now. If you are looking for a souvenir of your time at the Burntisland Games or you’d like a reminder of the summer vibe in Burntisland, why not treat yourself (or someone you care about) to Bumbumbee’s unique Burntisland Map (Click the link to purchase). That way, if you ever get lost in life, you will always be able to find your way back to Burntisland.