On Saturday a small municipality in the Czech Republic, just south of the border with Poland, will become Scotland for a day.

For the 23rd time Sychrov Castle, once frequented by composer Antonín Dvořák, will play host to the country's own Highland Games, complete with caber tossing, Highland dancing and a free dram of whisky on arrival.

Founded in 1999 by Václav Rout, who wanted only to entertain a few friends, the Skotské hry (literally 'Scottish games') were the first Highland games to be organised in Eastern Europe and today attract up to 10,000 people from all over the Czech Republic and beyond.

The Herald:

He told The Herald: "When I was young, about four years old, I heard Highland pipe music and I fell in love with it.

“After that I got into studying not only piping but the history and culture, and I found I am totally in love with Scottish culture.

"So I decided to set it up just for a couple of friends, and for two or three years there were about 200-300 people, just friends.

“One of them invited me to an event he organised in Sychrov Castle, and we met with the director and they offered to organise it for the public.

“I said, ‘we can try it’ and the very first year we had 3,500 participants and it’s been there ever since.

The Herald:

"We had 10,000 at one point four or five years ago but it was too much, it was over-crowded. My focus is for people to enjoy it and relax, not to be in some over-crowded place.

“So now we’ve limited it to 2,500 people, plus kids who go free of charge, and obviously the musicians and artists and people like that. So altogether it’s about 4-5,000.”

Mr Rout is nothing if not committed in his love for Scotland. He owns a private whisky bar - Whisky&Kilt - in Prague and has an estimated 5,000 bottles in his personal collection.

He plays the bagpipes - making him, by his estimate, one of around 30 people in the whole country to do so, co-organises a Burns Night in the Czech capital every year and even successfully registered a national tartan for his homeland.

The background colours are blue, green and black to represent the water, forests and minerals of the Czech lands, with blue, white and red as the central motif to represent the flag of the country and yellow and red stripes to represent the regions of Silesia and Moravia.

It was granted official approval on January 25, 2007 - Burns Night.

The Herald: The registration for the Czech national tartan and (inset) the tartanThe registration for the Czech national tartan and (inset) the tartan (Image: Skotské hry)

He explains: "I said ‘I am Czech and I think it’s crazy just to take some Scottish tartan’. Why not have one for Czech people who might want to wear one but have no connection with any Scottish ancestors or any Scottish region?

“It takes a bit of time, because you have to design it, then you have to send it to the Scottish authority so they can check it’s not a duplicate of one which is already registered.

“So they asked me to prepare a sample and send it to them.”

As it transpires tartan weaving mills are hard to come by in Eastern Europe, so Mr Rout had to fly to Scotland.

In order to weave the tartan a pattern first has to be programmed into the machine, which set him back £1,500. Furthermore, for the factory the cost of producing a 30x30cm sample wouldn't be worth the outlay, so he ended up with the smallest possible length – 100 m double width.

Mr Rout's quest didn't end there. The authorities asked for proof that the tartan was officially accepted in the Czech Republic, which was provided by the Consulate General in Edinburgh.

The Herald: Highland dancing at the Czech Highland GamesHighland dancing at the Czech Highland Games (Image: Jaromír Zajda Zajíèek/FotoZajda.cz)

When approval finally came he could have insisted on a trademark meaning only he could produce fabric bearing the tartan but, wanting anyone in the world to be free to use it, the only restrictions are on commercial use.

Now the tartan is being worn as far afield as Vancouver and Texas.

The Czechs, like the Scots, are known for enjoying a bevvy - the nation consumes the most beer per capita on the planet, and by a margin of 25% more than second-placed Austria. The average intake of 140 litres per year is double that of the UK.

For Mr Rout though, picking a favourite whisky from his extensive collection is no easy task.

He says: "I don’t focus on which one is my favourite, it depends on what you’re eating or things like that.

It’s like asking which is your favourite kid - it’s all of them.”