A Short History of West Lothian Games:
While West Lothian has the reputation of being an area of new development of homes and businesses it has been pulled together over years by the community spirit of the surrounding towns and villages. There is recorded mention of some form of Highland Gathering in Bathgate in 1919 but formal evidence of The Highland Gathering starts in 1922 where it was said that the Kilt was by far the thing to be seen in on the Saturday, where the conservation and celebration of Scottish Traditions was in much abundance. Field events, Pipe Bands and highland dancers abound being celebrated by the many attendees. In 1925 the local newspaper gives mention of the event winners and aims to identify winners for future games from other competitors, listing general outcomes of games, dancing, how the band performed and who they are and where they are from. This would have sold a few papers of that week I expect, I’m sure there will still be a copy or two in a drawer with a greyish fuzzy photo of a dad or uncle a sister or a mother perhaps gone but never forgotten.
The reporting of local heroes and their home towns and past achievements is still a feature of games today. This celebration of all that is Scottish may appear to be declining in recent years; however if searching for Highland Games you may be surprised to find that there are events in the tradition still celebrated in many other countries and indeed while Tossing the Caber is not a weekly event, watching it will still give a feeling of pride as it always has.
While there may have been an annual event in West Lothian from 1922, due to poor records and/or reporting there is little further mention of the Gathering or games until 1972. This was when the first modern form of our current games was founded. It began with a Pipe Band competition and was then succeeded by what is now the modern day Highland Games. Still held in Bathgate today, though incorporating the entire area of West Lothian, the Games aims to continue the long established tradition of Scottish sportsmanship, preservation of historic competitions and celebrations. Traditions that hope to include individuals and incorporate people of West Lothian, people, families and businesses who have chosen West Lothian as their base, home and community.
We are proud to bring you the 47th “Modern” West Lothian Highland Games in 2019. Let’s make it unforgettable and hope to see you in the ring.