The stone put
is one of the main Scottish
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...
heavy athletic events at modern-day Highland games
Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &Highland games are events held throughout the &(-è_çà in Scotland and other countries as a way of celebrating Scottish and Celtic culture and heritage, especially that of the Scottish Highlands. Certain...
gatherings. Similar to the shot put
The shot put is a track and field event involving "putting" a heavy metal ball—the shot—as far as possible. It is common to use the term "shot put" to refer to both the shot itself and to the putting action....
, the stone put more frequently uses an ordinary stone or rock instead of a steel ball. The weight of the stone will vary from 16 to 26 lb
The pound or pound-mass is a unit of mass used in the Imperial, United States customary and other systems of measurement...
for men (or 8 to 18 lb for women) depending on which type of stone put event (Braemar stone or Open stone) is being contested and also on the idiosyncrasies of the event (mainly because stones in use have no standard weight). There are also some differences in allowable techniques and rules.
Origin of the stone put
As with most aspects of the Scottish Highland games, and Scottish Highlands
The Highlands is an historic region of Scotland. The area is sometimes referred to as the "Scottish Highlands". It was culturally distinguishable from the Lowlands from the later Middle Ages into the modern period, when Lowland Scots replaced Scottish Gaelic throughout most of the Lowlands...
culture generally, a certain amount of legend has grown around the origins and antiquity of the stone put.
Michael Brander, in his 1992 book Essential Guide to the Highland Games
reports on some of the stories concerning the stone put which have become traditional. He discusses what have become known to tradition as the "stones of strength" which were of two types. In one, the Clach Cuid Fir
(or Manhood Stone), a very large stone of well over 100 lb is employed and the test is to be able to lift it to a certain height or place it on a wall.
In the other type, the Clach Neart
(or Stone of Strength), a smaller stone, variable in weight, but around 20 or 30 lb, was employed. The object was to see how far the stone could be thrown or putted.