Highlands & Islands

Prince Charles backs Highland Games schools pilot

Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall at the Mey Games in Caithness Image copyright PA
Image caption Prince Charles and his wife the Duchess of Cornwall at the Mey Games in Caithness

Traditional Highland Games sports such as tossing the caber and tug-of-war are to be taught to pupils at schools in Caithness and Sutherland.

The initiative has been backed by Prince Charles through his new charity The Prince's Foundation.

The prince, who is chieftain of Caithness' Mey Games, hopes to help encourage more young people to participate in Highland Games.

The sports could be taught as part of PE classes.

Pupils of Thurso High School, Wick High School, and Farr High School could be involved in the pilot.

The schools' local authority Highland Council, and the council's leisure provider High Life Highland, said the scheme was still in its early stages.

A council spokeswoman said: "While both Highland Council and High Life Highland are broadly interested in the proposal there are no commitments and it is very early days to comment further."

'Family connections'

Kenneth Dunsmuir, who will serve as executive director of The Prince's Foundation, said schools could play a part in encouraging more young people to enter Highland Games events.

He said: "We hope that, in time, the initiative can act as a catalyst to generate more awareness of, and enthusiasm for, traditional Highland sports among younger generations."

Charlie Murray, chairman of The Scottish Highland Games Association, added: "The participation of athletes in Highland Games has traditionally been through family connections, but, now, that is happening less and less often and we need to take action.

"We're hoping to roll out a certificated Highland Games programme across Scotland.

"Piping is taught in just about every school in Scotland now, and I would like to see the Highland Games sports taught in schools to make people aware that there are other sports they can enjoy and compete in."

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