Saturday, July 10, 2010

Back from the Highland Games

I'm back! I had a WONDERFUL time at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games on Friday, and although I didn't manage to meet up with the group from LOL after all (due to some logistical confusion), I chatted with at least a dozen different OUTLANDER fans during the course of the day.


My homemade sign -- a last-minute idea -- was extremely effective, and I will have no hesitation about using it at future gatherings and book-signings. <g>


We had no trouble at all getting a parking space close to the entrance...but then again, we followed their advice and got there when the gates opened at 8 am. And while we were waiting for things to get started, we were entertained by this group of pipers. (I never did find out which clan they were affiliated with.)



The weather was good, no rain while we were there, though it started to rain just as we exited the park and it rained all the way down the mountain on our way out. We were very, very lucky. <g>

I missed Albannach, but did get to hear Alex Beaton perform, and I bought a CD of his songs, which we enjoyed very much on the way home.


I bought a pewter key chain with the MacKenzie clan badge:


and a Fraser of Lovat pewter "kilt pin" with a stag and "Je suis prest" on it. (I was glad to find the latter, as they had a lot of Fraser badges and such, but only one Fraser of Lovat -- which is, of course, Jamie Fraser's clan. I wanted to hold out for the real thing. <g>)



The man in green shown below introduced himself to us as the chief of Clan Arthur, visiting from Scotland for the Games. He looked immensely dignified, and I liked the eagle feathers on his bonnet. <g>



We saw some of the Highland dance competition. I'd never seen the actual dancing before, only pictures, and it struck me as extraordinarily stylized, a bit like watching synchronized swimming. You can see from the picture (click on it to get a better view) that there were some boys competing as well as girls. <g>



One of the clan booths had a real broadsword that they let us try out, holding it by the basket hilt and waving it around. That was fun. <g> I don't know what kind of sword is pictured below, next to the targe (I forgot to ask), but maybe someone here can tell me? I only got one very quick glimpse of a dirk, but the point looked VERY sharp! <g>



We saw the last few minutes of the sheep-herding demonstration. I liked watching the border collies work. Especially since my friend Cathy MacGregor told me -- jokingly -- several years ago that I have a border collie personality. (She's quite right about that, by the way. It's part of what makes me an effective Section Leader on Compuserve, I think. That desire to have everybody marching more or less in the same direction, and to gently round up the stragglers and those who wander off on their own. <g>) The dog had no trouble herding sheep, but the ducks were significantly less cooperative....



We stopped for about an hour at midday while I plugged in my scooter's battery charger at one of the tents. While we were waiting, my mom went and got us lunch at the only Scottish-food vendor in the place. We had bridies, haggis, and chips. The haggis was surprisingly good, given its reputation, and we concluded that it's probably better not to think about what's in it or how it's made. <g> And I had asked for a bridie specifically because of the references to them in the books. It was delicious.

While we were eating lunch, we watched this woman spinning yarn with an old-fashioned pedal-operated spinning wheel. It looked to me like something that Brianna or Marsali might have used in the 18th century.



Finally, I have no idea why this woman was walking around wearing wings (possibly she's a faery?), but I couldn't resist getting a picture. <g>


We had a wonderful time and I would not hesitate to go back again next year!

2 comments:

MollyG said...

You sure got out at the right time! The storm on the mountain was really something and kept us confined to our tents most of the night (and all the music was cancelled for the night). It's a shame I didn't see you - seems like we were probably in close proximity some of the day. This was our first trip to these particular games and we plan to make it an annual event. You should get to the Scotland County games in Laurinburg - close to you and in cooler weather! October 1-3 - schgnc.org. Glad you enjoyed!

Anonymous said...

The pipe band in your pictures is the Grandfather Mountain Pipe Band.