Featuring a slightly revised name and an all-new location in 2018, the 3rd Annual Saltwater Highland Games is bringing its familiar Celtic flavor and charm — not to mention a Scottish-tinged spirit of competition and a unique set of Highlands-themed sporting challenges — back to the Grand Strand this March 23-25.
Formerly known as the Myrtle Beach Highland Games, the event has developed a strong following after two successful years at The Market Common, last year drawing visitors from 26 states and five countries. But with added elements and activities creating a need for additional space this year, the growing Saltwater Highland Games will now be held at the North Myrtle Beach Park & Sports Complex.
The event is best known for its unique, Scottish-themed athletic challenges. Among the traditional Highland Games competitions to be staged at the Saltwater Highland Games:
Open Stone Put — Reminiscent of the shot put competition seen in the summer Olympic Games, this event sees participants throw a stone weighing between 16 and 22 pounds in an attempt to record the greatest distance with their toss. The event is termed “Open” because any style of throw is allowed, with the spin and glide styles favored by most competitors.
Braemar Stone Put — This throwing competition uses a larger stone, this one weighing between 22 and 28 pounds, and requires that it be thrown from a standing position.
56 lb Weight for Distance — In this event, competitors throw a 56-pound weight that is either block or spherical shaped and is attached via links to a handle.
Hammer Throw — Participants in this event stand with their backs to the target area, then launch a 16- or 22-pound hammer outfitted with a lead or steel head and a bamboo or rattan handle over their shoulders, attempting to record the greatest distance thrown.
Caber Toss — Competitors in this event toss a trimmed-down, 16- to 22-foot tree that varies in weight from 100 to 180 pounds. One end of the caber is slightly slimmer than the other and has been rounded for an easier grip during the throw. The goal of the toss is to flip the caber over and have the narrow end land as close as possible to the 12 o’clock position directly in front of the thrower, with the participant achieving the smallest angle declared the winner.
Sheaf Toss — In this event, competitors use a pitchfork to toss a 16- or 20-pound burlap or plastic sack stuffed with rope, straw or mulch over a crossbar of varying heights.
Weight for Height — This competition sees participants toss weights of 28 and 56 pounds over a crossbar with one hand.
While the athletic events may be the top draw, they are by no means the only reason to attend the Saltwater Highland Games. Other attractions include live entertainment from Celtic musicians and bagpipe bands from throughout the Southeast, “Tour of the Land” whisky tastings featuring an array of Scotches from the different regions of Scotland, a Kids Glen where the young ones can get in on the sporting action, and even a Quiddich tournament hosted by Coastal Carolina University. Further, vendors selling an array of food, souvenirs and beverages will offer plenty of other Scottish and Celtic flavor to interested attendees.
Offering an authentic taste of Celtic culture in the Myrtle Beach area, the 3rd Annual Saltwater Highland Games is fast becoming one of the Grand Strand’s premier annual festivals. Get your clan together for a great long weekend at the festival, and book your stay at The Breakers Resort on the Myrtle Beach oceanfront for easy access to the events and comfortable accommodations during your getaway.