Scotland is a proud sporting nation and if the National Football team has fallen on hard times in recent years, success in the shape of Andy Murray (Tennis) , Sir Chris Hoy (Cycling) and Catherine Grainger (Rowing) have broadened the nations sporting horizons. Team Scotland’s 24 medals in the recent 2012 Olympics were in athletics, cycling, hockey, judo, rowing, sailing, slalom canoeing, swimming and tennis.
Of course this summer Glasgow is host to the twentieth Commonwealth Games and the city has been transformed. The ‘Friendly Games’ are proving to be a great success with visitors, competitors and locals alike. So far the Commonwealth Games have been a roaring success for Team Scotland. They currently sit 4th in the overall medal table with 13 golds, 12 silver and 14 bronze medals. This has beaten the previous record set in during the 2010 games in Delhi.
Scotland is the undisputed birthplace of golf with its spiritual home being the old Course in St Andrews. It is therefore fitting that the next Ryder Cup is taking place at Gleneagles. This transatlantic clash of the titans, is a 5 day festival of world class golf. Unfortunately, match day tickets are all sold out but practice day tickets can still be snapped up. Europe currently hold the title and having not won since 2008 the USA will be keen to wrestle it from their grasp. Will ‘home’ advantage be enough for the Europeans to retain the trophy?
Sir Chris Hoy has raised cycling’s profile in the United Kingdom with 7 Olympic medals ( 6 of which are Gold) over his career and his legacy continues in the form of the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow. Scotland’s rugged landscape offers plenty of opportunity for road cycling and mountain biking. Enthusiasts can indulge their passion for road racing at the South Lanarkshire Classic (a 63 mile race). If mountain biking or velocross are more your style then The Fat Tyre Weekend in Fort William is right up your street. With endurance races and downhill events and the promise of new tracks at the Nevis Range, 2014 is looking to be an exciting year.
If pounding teh street is more your style then runners are well served with 7 half and full marathons across the country. The Edinburgh Marathon Festival on May 24th is the country’s most popular event with 30,000 runners taking part. Besides the marathon a variety of racing options are possible during the 2 day festival ( half marathon, 5 k , 10 K , relay and junior races ) with places available. If you want to try out a wilder marathon why not consider entering the Callanish Stones Marathon on Stornoway ( August 2nd) or the Loch Ness Marathon ( September 28th).
As with Golf before it, Rugby sevens were invented in the borders of Scotland in 1883 by Ned Haig. The club that started it all celebrates the short form of the game with a tournament every year. The 124th Melrose sevens fall on the 12th of April and will involve teams from the world over. The two day event is a great celebration of the game and is a fantastic day out for all the family.
There are many other sporting events on the calendar in 2014 and some are surprising to say the least. For those seeking a more sedate sporting event the World Stone Skimming Champions on Easdale Island Oban may be for you. The event began in 1983 and was revived in 1997. Once again competitors will travel from the world over to make this a truly world class event on the 28th of September. The event is so popular now that entries are limited to 350.
The Strathaven Balloon Festival is a feast for the eyes. From August 29th for three days the sky is filled with all manner of dirigibles and hot air powered flying machines. There is also a classic car show that runs over the weekend. Previous entries have even included a Giant Strawberry Balloon.
What sporting events are you planning to visit or take part in this year? Please feel free to share your experiences or pictures with us.