Communal games involving men and older boys ranged up and down the streets of many towns and can still be observed each New Year in Kirkwall’s Ba’ Game, between „Uppies“ and „Doonies“ on 1st January. The border towns kept their Common Ridings, and many others celebrated an annual beating of the bounds, in all cases accompanied by fairgrounds, music, dancing and the public consumption of a great deal of alcohol. Quoits, cockfights and bare-fist boxing were all popular, and all provided opportunities for gambling as well as for social drinking. These events often took place in the open air, but premises were also built or adapted to put on such entertainments. Public disapproval turned such sports into furtive events, and as such they have not wholly disappeared.
|Bare-fist boxing match|
Meanwhile other sports were encouraged. Golf, which had been popular with the Stewart kings as far back as James V, survived with equipment improved by the new technology, and the modern game took shape, with St Andrews as its capital. In 1860 the first Open Championship took place. The ancient winter sport of curling became popular and received a set of rules from the royally patronised Caledonian Curling Club (the use of the word 'Caledonian' in public titles frequently indicated a harking back to half-remembered or wholly imaginary Scots traditions).
|Scottish curling team in Montreal|
In the Highlands, hill-running races and shot-putting became regular events in the communal Highland games that began in Braemar in 1817 and spread to many other places, often with spurious claims to origins in medieval times. While some form of football had been practised for centuries, it was essentially the two English forms of the game that were formally established in 1873 by the Scottish Footbal1 Association for soccer and the Scottish Football Union for rugby. The significance of these foundations goes beyond sport. There was no obvious reason not to form British associations. The related associations south of the Border did not always have the word 'English' in their titles, nor did they often proclaim themselves as 'British'. No one suggested that there should be differences between Scottish rules and English rules for games. Distance might have been a problem for Scots clubs affiliated to an English league; though reasonably rapid rail transport was possible, all amateur clubs had but modest funds. That was not the crucial issue. With a habit of mind as automatic as a key turning in a well-oiled lock, the founders of these associations created them as Scottish institutions.
|England vs Scotland 1872|
|Brother Walfrid, an Irish Marist Brother and founder of Celtic Football Club|