In Scotland they used to throw around twenty-foot tree trunks for fun. In Alexandria next Saturday, they'll be doing that again, as well as tossing twenty-five-pound sheafs of hay with hayforks, throwing four-foot-long hammers, and heaving twenty-two-pound weights. Thus will be chosen the Highland Hepthathlon Champion of the United States, in the fourth annual Virginia Scottish Games. In a kind of many-ringed athletic circus, contest will be going on all day, from fiddling to bagpiping to Highland Flings and Sailor's Hornpipes.Contestants have been practicing all year and traveling from all over this continent and Europe. But local children will also be invited to compete for ribbons in relay races and games, starting about noon. Adults are invited to participate in finding their clan names and tartans, buying Scottish clothing from bonnets to hose, and eating meat pies, shortbread and lesser known Scottish foods while watching country dancing, sheepherding and border collie demonstrations, and cheering on the competitors. Bring a chair or a blanket, and plan to mill around for a few hours with ten or twelve thousand other spectators in the enormous field. Plans are for a grand finish with a massed band parade about 5 p.m.

Virginia Scottish Games, Episcopal High School Stadium and fields, 3900 Braddock Rd, Alexandria Saturday, July 23, 8:30 a.m. to about 5:30 p.m. Admission $4 adults, $1 children under 12 Advance tickets $3 before July 22, from Alexandria Tourist Council, 221 King St. 549-0205.