Ceres Bannockburn Games, FifeThere are of course many Highland Games events held throughout Scotland nowadays, indeed further afield in Canada and elsewhere such gatherings abound. But the oldest of them, and the one with surely the most distinguished provenance, is to be be found at Ceres in Fife.
Ceres is a rarity in Scottish villages in that it has a village green, known as the Bow Butts from its use in medieval days as a place to practice archery. And the archery was not for sport, but rather more martial use: it is said that local laird Sir Robert Keith trained his soldiers on the green before the Battle of Bannockburn at which they proved invaluable.
The year after the battle Robert the Bruce chartered Ceres to hold an annual Bannockburn games to commemorate that great victory, and with a few gaps for world wars it has been held every year since 1315, always on the last Saturday in June.
Some more modern events including cycle races and a raft race are now included, but Sir Robert would recognize most of the races and tests of strength here: caber tossing; sheaf pitch; wrestling; throwing the weight; and the best of all, tug of war.
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