Clan Carruthers

CLAN CARRUTHERS: Carruthers competes in Australian Virtual Highland Games.

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Craig and Liz at Mog’s Brewery, at his Bar: the Whinging Pom

Throwing the Scottish Hammer on the Surf Coast of Australia!

Scotland doesn’t forget its traditions. Australian immigrants of Scottish descent are proud to carry on the Highland Games today, thousands of miles from where they originated. Determined not to let the virus stop competition entirely, Chuck N Big went ahead and organised a backyard event as part of the Ringwood Virtual Highland Gathering in Melbourne, Australia.

The ‘2021 Backyard Gathering’ brought competitors from all over the state of Victoria. The event took place in the pretty coastal town of Ocean Grove, on Sunday 24th January. Male and female athletes competed together in the presence of officials, but no public audience was present, to comply with Covid-19 restrictions.

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Highland Games began over a thousand years ago, in the Scottish Highlands. The Games provided tests of strength and endurance, and gave Clans and individuals the chance to show prowess. Dancers and musicians were also welcome. The Ocean Grove event was restricted this year, but its spirit continued undiminished in the Open Stone, Hammer, Light Weight for Distance, Caber, and Weight Over Bar events.

Chuck N Big’s Joshua described the high point of organising the gathering as ‘the diverse backgrounds of the competitors’, who ranged from a champion strongwoman and a Highland dancer to a race jockey and an IT professional, amongst others.

‘There’s a wonderful camaraderie with the athletes, learning, growing and sharing stories about their throws and tosses while embracing the history of the Highland Games heavy events,’ said Josh.

Fran Fitzpatrick set a new record on the day, benchmarking the Australian Women’s Scottish Heavy Hammer throw at 65’10’’. Many congratulations, Fran, and long may you continue!

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Scottish hammer throw illustration from Frank R.Stockton’s book “Round-about Rambles in Lands of Fact and Fancy

Craig Monument (from Geelong), Regional Secretary for Australia of the Clan Carruthers Society – International, represented Clan Carruthers at the years Games.  Craif was making his first appearance ever in the Master’s section.

His favourite event was the Hammer Throw, which involved hurling a ball of steel, weighing 16lb on the end of a wooden handle as far as possible across a field. This takes a lot of skill, effort, coordination and strength and has been used competitively at many a Scottish Gathering throughout the years. As a first attempt, Craig threw it a creditable 64’8’’ and really did Clan Carruthers proud!

His fellow competitors included Ryan Bartok, who made a come-back after knee surgery; Sean Poole, who previously won Victoria’s Strongest Man, and is currently Melbourne’s Strongest Man; Amber Jones, who previously achieved 1st place in various heavy lifting/carrying events; Kay Hodgson, a champion female Strongman of 5 years; Morgan Westmoreland, the veteran of fifteen top-3 placings in Highland Games Drysdale; Michael Peska, a keen weight-lifter; Tracy McMurtry, who has flipped a car and pulled a tram a quarter of an inch with a partner; and Fran Fitzpatrick, the National Highlander women’s champion in 2019. Fran set a new Australian’s Women’s record at the Ocean Grove Gathering. This terrific group of competitors were photographed on the day by event officials and reflected the high standard of competition that Craig had chosen to compete against.

The Results

 

MEN

1st

Morgan Westmoreland

2nd

Michael Peska

3rd

Sean Poole

 

WOMEN

1st

Fran Fitzpatrick

2nd

Tracy McMurtry

 

3rd

Amber Jones

 

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Craig preparing for the Caber Toss

The Event was organised by Chuck N Big, and sponsored by Kilted Haggis and Monarch Perth and B&W photographs are used with permission of Anthony Rogers Photography

Craig is very proud of his Carruthers ancestry. Like many who wore Bruce tartan before our chief was confirmed, Craig’s ‘Carruthers’ tartan kilt is in hand. His lovely wife Liz, who is in the final stages of her PhD, is the Co-Editor of the Society’s Journal: Promptus et Fidelis.

The Chief and our Society send our heartfelt congratulations and thanks.


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