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Caithness schools get active at Highland games events


By David G Scott

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Primary schools across Caithness took part in two special Highland games events as part of an initiative by Wick Active Schools (WAS).

On Wednesday, May 25, Wick Rural Highland Games held an event facilitated by Lybster Primary School on a wet and windy day that included other rural schools from Dunbeath, Bower, Keiss, Thrumster, Watten and Canisbay.

The Highland Games event at Lybster was a great success.
The Highland Games event at Lybster was a great success.
Primary pupils at Lybster braved the elements for the Highland Games event.
Primary pupils at Lybster braved the elements for the Highland Games event.
Highland Games activities at Lybster.
Highland Games activities at Lybster.

Approximately 120 P4-7 pupils were supported by eight coaches and the WAS coordinator taking part in three separate events – throwing (caber toss, shot putt, weight for distance and hammer throw), running (100 metre sprint, 4 x 100 metre relay race and 400 metre run) and a tug of war competition. The schools competed in a round robin tournament. Scores were accumulated throughout each of these events and the winning school was Canisbay Primary gaining 95 points.

Getting ready for the tug of war.
Getting ready for the tug of war.
All the pupils line up for the Highland Games event at Lybster.
All the pupils line up for the Highland Games event at Lybster.
Rain and wind failed to dampen the spirits of Lybster pupils.
Rain and wind failed to dampen the spirits of Lybster pupils.

Gary McDonald, WAS coordinator, said: “It was amazing seeing all the rural schools competing and being together again. It has been a long time since there was an event within the Wick region due to the Covid period.

"However, all the young people persevered throughout the wet day and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. I personally want to thank all my coaching staff for all their hard work on the day – considering the weather was not the greatest, they all managed to adapt and make the games more enjoyable.

The winners of the overall best boy and girl from Thrumster PS and Bower PS.
The winners of the overall best boy and girl from Thrumster PS and Bower PS.
Canisbay Primary School winning team.
Canisbay Primary School winning team.
Highland Games at Lybster Primary School.
Highland Games at Lybster Primary School.

"Lybster Primary School were excellent hosts during the event and they even made specific posters for each school to leave their belongings. Finally, thank you to all the schools that took part and a special mention to Canisbay Primary school for winning the overall games, I believe it was at least 10 years since they last won it.”

Noss and Newton's Primary 7 pupils.
Noss and Newton's Primary 7 pupils.

On Friday, May 27, Newton and Noss Primary Schools (approximately 80 P7 pupils) took part in a Highland games event at Wick High School (WHS) on a sunny day. The Wick Town Highland Games event was led by WAS with the help of eight coaches and Mr McDonald.

Both schools took part in the same activities played out at Lybster two days before. Scores were accumulated throughout each of the events and the winning school was Noss Primary School with 221 points, followed by Newton Park PS with 205 points. The event was only open to P7 pupils as it was believed to help with the transitioning period to WHS after the summer and seen as "a great way for everyone to work together".

One of the newton park pupils doing the weight for distance throwing event.
One of the newton park pupils doing the weight for distance throwing event.
Highland Games tug of war contest in Wick.
Highland Games tug of war contest in Wick.

Mr McDonald commented: “After the success of the rural Highland games it was the town schools turn. Fortunately, the weather was on our side and the atmosphere was more competitive in comparison to the previous event – even the school staff got involved which was a joy to behold.

"Although the games were competitive, it was a fun and friendly environment to be around and it was the first time I had seen both schools participating against one another. Throughout the day, the points tally between the schools were very much even. However, the deciding factor was the tug of war event where Noss Primary prevailed.

Highland Games tug of war team at Wick.
Highland Games tug of war team at Wick.
And they're off!
And they're off!
Children partake in another Highland Games activity in Wick.
Children partake in another Highland Games activity in Wick.

"Thank you to all the participants that took part, the staff that accompanied them and again my coaching staff that powered on through. Overall I was excited to host both events considering it was my first one after being in the job for nearly three years. The best part of the games for me personally was seeing all the young people within the East Caithness district together again.

"Covid has unfortunately hindered a lot these learners time away from health and wellbeing and I believe this is a positive turning point for all of them.”


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