Anyone who attends a Highland Games event will be aware that the athletes wear boots or shoes with spikes at the toes.  This is a tool to enable the thrower to anchor him/herself to the ground and as such enable them to attain greater distances for the throws.

This is a fairly new innovation and the first person to use this tool was A J Stewart.  Alexander J Stewart was born at Ester Achavaich in the Braes of Glenlivet on 7
th October 1907.  He grew up in the farming tradition and, as did many of the young lads that worked on the farms, he attended the local Highland Games in the area where he took part in the Heavy Events.  
A J Stewart was not built like some of the Heavies that compete today, but he was a very good Hammer Thrower particularly the Light Hammer.   Being of lighter build he decided that he needed some aid to enable him to attain better distances in his throws.   He decided that metal spikes attached to the front of his boots would assist so he visited the local Brookie, at Slateford in the Braes, and had a pair of cleats made.  


The first time he used them there was apparently some considerable consternation amongst his fellow competitors; however within a very short time all the heavies had boots with cleats and the distances for throwing hammers increased significantly. 


A J set the world Record for throwing the Scottish Light Hammer at Aboyne Games in 1934 with a throw of 125’ 7”.  The current record standing at 158’ 8½”was set by Bruce Aitken in 2000 also at Aboyne Games. 


A J Stewart, known as The Pocket Hercules, retired from farming and moved to Aberdeen where he had a restaurant and he died there on 15th August 1976 in his sixty ninth year.