A long tapered pine pole or log is stood upright and hoisted by the competitor who balances it vertically holding the smaller end in his hands. Then the competitor runs forward attempting to toss it in such a way that it turns end over end with the upper (larger) end striking the ground first. The smaller end that was originally held by the athlete then hits the ground in the 12 o'clock position measured relative to the direction of the run. If successful, the athlete is said to have turned the caber. Cabers vary greatly in length, weight, taper, and balance, all of which affect the degree of difficulty in making a successful toss. Competitors are judged on how closely their throws approximate the ideal 12 o'clock toss on an imaginary clock.
There are some differences from the Olympic shot put in allowable techniques. The thrower is allowed to use any throwing style so long as the shot is put with one hand with the stone resting cradled in the neck until the moment of release. Most athletes in the open event use either the "glide" or the "spin" techniques.
This event is similar to the hammer throw as seen in modern-day track and field competitions, though with some differences. In the Scottish event, a round metal ball weighing 16 or 22 lb is attached to the end of a wooden shaft 4 feet in length. With the feet in a fixed position, the hammer is whirled and thrown for distance over the shoulder. Hammer throwers sometimes employ specially designed footwear with flat blades to dig into the turf to maintain their balance and resist the centrifugal forces of the implement as it is whirled about the head. This substantially increases the distance attainable in the throw.
Here we have two separate events, one using a light (28 lb) and the other a heavy (56 lb) weight. The weights are made of metal and have a handle attached either directly or by means of a chain. The implement is thrown using one hand only, but otherwise using any technique. Usually a spinning technique is employed. The longest throw wins.
The athletes attempt to toss a 56 pound weight with an attached handle over a horizontal bar using only one hand. Each athlete is allowed three attempts at each height. Successful clearance of the height allows the athlete to advance into the next round at a greater height. The competition is determined by the highest successful toss with fewest misses being used to break tie scores.
Although self-explanatory it is of note that the Clan Chiefs often favoured the fastest runners as the best messengers. Long before the advent of email and SMS this was the only form of trustworthy communication!
Another favourite event at Aberlor Strathspey Highland Games with the record set to 6.28m (A. Milne: 1984) for a Long Jump and 1.785m (A. MacDonald: 2006) for a High Jump.