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Sport Alternative: Scottish Log Throwing


“Hey, let’s pick up a tree and throw it!”

Want to hear something alternative to sports?  Try Scottish log throwing.

It is as basic as it sounds and while it may seem barbaric to just about everyone outside of Scotland, it is seen as the manliest sport in the land where men wear skirts.

Yup it’s just as simple as picking up a log the size of a telephone pole and throwing it as far as you can.  Most people cannot throw it further than a few feet but let’s see you give it a try.

Known as Caber Tossing to seem less grizzly, this “sport” requires muscles in every part of the torso, arms, and legs.  Just about every muscle in your body must be at its maximum strength to avoid doing this without injuring or possibly killing yourself.  People in Scotland actually cheer this on.

While football is seen as the sport for real men in America and Rugby for men in many other countries, Caber Tossing is for the manliest men.  Wearing skirts no less.  Put it this way.  Think WWE except that instead of some guy on more steroids than Barry Bonds, you have a 350-400 pound guy taking a log the size of a telephone pole and throwing it in the air as far as he can.  The catch you might ask?  You must wear a kilt while doing this.  The sport itself is manly, but the uniforms suggest otherwise.  So before you say to the Scottish that your sports show off masculine power, you might want to think twice about it.

The scoring itself is judged on how the caber lands.  If the bottom part of the caber lands directly away from the thrower and the top end is facing the thrower, that is a perfect score.  Otherwise, the trajectory of the caber provides the score.  If the caber stands straight up vertically before falling, that results in a 12.0 (because it is shaped like the hour hand on a clock).  If the caber seems to look like it is 11:00, then the score is 11.0.  If it looks like it is on 10:30, the score is 10.3.

Here is a video of how to perfectly throw a caber.  It’s not the distance that matters, it’s the form of the caber.

The sport itself is very similar to an Olympic event: there is no championship or teams.

The caber toss is an event at the Highland Games, which measure the physical prowess of an athlete.  The caber toss has become the iconic sport for these games because it is the only event that is truly unique to Scottish culture and it does not resemble another sport like other events in the Highland Games e.g. the Stone Put is very similar to the Shot Put.

While the Highland Games originated in Scotland, the events are practiced in other countries including all 50 states of the U.S. and in fact there are the Celtic Festival and Highland Games of the Quad-Cities located in Davenport, Iowa.  So in case you want to witness the caber toss event, the seemingly barbaric game of throwing telephone poles comes to the cornfields of Iowa so you might want to check it out.

What do you think about Caber Toss? Would you ever give it a try? Leave us a comment and get in on the conversation.

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