You cannot be vanquished, Macbeth was told, until Great Birnam Wood comes to High Dunsinane.

But the mobile timber of the Scottish play has nothing on what is planned for the world's oldest Highland games stadium later this year. The 150th anniversary of the Northern Meeting Park is to be marked by an attempt on the world record for caber tossing, with more than 50 throwers needed to best the existing record.

The organisers are thinking bigger than that and hope to achieve a veritable moving forest with up to 200 throws at the event.

Loading article content

The history of this traditional sport is unclear, but the best guess is that its arose from the need for Highlanders to throw tree trunks across narrow chasms in order to cross them, hundreds of years ago, sometimes during battle.

As a result, accuracy, rather than distance is rewarded. All the same, few would fancy being in the firing line of 200 cabers. So spare a thought for Danny, the horse employed by Highland Council to drag each of the freshly-cut cabers in readiness for the event. Underpaid and overworked, he is the very symbol of devoted public service. Unlike Macbeth, may he

never be vanquished.