Highlands-themed Harpenden gathering to test how far you can hurl haggis

Harpenden Lions and young helper Patrick. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS

Harpenden Lions and young helper Patrick. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS - Credit: Archant

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Haggis hurling. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS

Haggis hurling. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS - Credit: Archant

Haggis hurling is one of many activities visitors can enjoy at a Highlands-themed gathering in Harpenden.

The Harpenden Lions Highland Gathering will be held in Rothamsted Park from 10am to 5pm on Sunday, July 9.

Members of the public will have the chance to stand on a whisky barrel and see how far they can hurl a 500gram haggis - and whether they can beat the current world record of 217ft. The record was set by Lorne Coltart at the Milngavie Highland Games in 2011.

The event will also feature pipe band displays, bagpipes, dancing and a last man standing challenge. Traditional games will include weight over the bar, tossing the caber and putting the stone.

The Wight Hot Pipes. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS

The Wight Hot Pipes. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS - Credit: Archant


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Local scout troops will compete in a cannon race event and Celtic rock band The Wight Hot Pipes will perform their bagpipe rock.

There will be gymnastics displays, falconry demonstrations, battlefield reenactments and sheepdogs herding geese and ducklings. Events for children include a funfair, novelty track events and a climbing wall.

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Stalls will sell refreshments, craft and novelty items, as well as beer and cider stalls run by pubs.

Proceeds from the games will go towards mental health charity Combat Stress, children and families charity Kids in Action and the Lions Life Skills programme, which supports PSHE education in local schools.

Weight over the bar. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS

Weight over the bar. Picture: HARPENDEN LIONS - Credit: Archant

Incoming Lions president Mohan Cashyap said: “The continuing success of the Harpenden Lions Highland Gathering depends on the help of so many in the community pulling together through many months of planning to make this day happen.”

The first local Highland games was held at Beech Hyde farm in Wheathampstead in 1946, organised by St Albans and Mid-Herts Caledonian Society.

It was a fundraising event to help Scottish engineers who had been working in aircraft factories during the Second World War, including De Havilland in Hatfield.

Harpenden Lions Club organised the first of the modern games in 1996. It is now one of the largest gatherings outside of Scotland.

Entry costs £4 in advance or £6 on the gate, with children under 16 year old going free. Programmes are available online at www.harplions.com

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