Cool Summer Fun at Grandfather Mtn
Highland Games in NC 2002
The biggest Highland Games
in the US began with a cold mist on Grandfather Mountain, NC on July 11th
for the calling of the clans and lighting of the Fiery Cross to call them
all together. We huddled and shivered as each clan announced its arrival,
laughed at some of them too. One said “watch yer sporran, we’re here!”
Another looked like Conan the barbarian (hereabouts known as Mad Max) and
blew a horn. Then all headed out to campgrounds, cabins and hotels to
prepare for the next day’s events.
Friday was cool, misty and certainly authentic weather for a Highland
Games! As the various clans set up, the games started to take shape.
Friday featured Scottish and Irish dancing, music in three “groves”,
Gaelic singing/lessons, shoppes, and border collies putting the sheep
through their motions.
I noticed Clan Skene set up near us (Fraser) and really liked their setup.
They’ve been busy and one member has made some fine crafts using their
Clan Skene’s Chief, Danus
Skene, is an historian, a teacher, a musician and an outdoorsman. He helps
people research their roots and has offered Clan Skene members his
services as a personal guide and driver when visiting Scotland! Their
chief lives in Kinross, near Loch Leven.
Next, I took a walk around and checked out the new shoppe that features
handmade boats from Callanish Boats. They have some of the finest
workmanship I’ve ever seen. People were invited to sign up for a chance to
win one, so I did too! Wish me luck.
Then, a walk around to the
Groves to hear some music brought me into the sounds of the Glengarry
Bhoys, Clandestine, The Full Moon Ensemble, and Colin Grant Adams (of Oban,
Scotland). I stopped to catch up with Colin and his sweet wife, Julia, and
with the guys in the Ensemble. Watch for them in August of this year –
they’ll be touring in Scotland! Here’s Colin with the FME on stage behind
him, and one pic of a group of musicians entertaining the crowd.
Saturday was again damp,
misty and chilly, but not too cold. That didn’t deter the crowds! As usual
for Grandfather Mountain games, the shops were doing a brisk business, the
athletes were soaked, but still tossing the caber, sheaf, hammer, weights,
etc. and the clan tents were packed. I was pleased to see my friends from
Sumter and the St. Charles Brewery, Rick and Kandie Norred. They presented
the newest McLeod, who was only 3 lbs at birth, but is doing better now!
Little McKaleigh is adorable! Here are “before and after” pics of her.
Of course, as Secretary of
Clan Fraser, N. America, I was obliged to be in the Fraser tent a bit with
other Clan officers, Blake Fraser (Chairman), Chris Williams (Vice
Chairman) and Mark Simmons (NC Convenor). Here, Mark Simmons receives an
award for his dedication and attendance at so many NC Highland Games and
the Simmons family.
Here is Chris Williams
(Vice Chairman) and our athletes Eric and Scott Frasure! Eric isn’t even
out of high school and can dead lift 530lbs! Other Scottish athletes, look
Due to weather and my
camera, I couldn’t get many pics of the athletic events, but did get one
of tug o war and the Douglas Clan won, as they usually do!
featured more music than ever this year. Along with all day music from 3
Groves, Friday night was packed for the Celtic Jam featuring the musicians
from the Groves. People sat on the soggy hillside in their rain gear,
picknicking and enjoying the comraderie as well as the music. Saturday
evening was the Celtic Rock Jam featuring Clandestine, Bragh Adair, and
more. Hmmmm, bagpipes and rock guitar…. It works.
My Saturday night at Grandfather always is at the Clan Ross dinner at
Winston Ross’ home on nearby Sugar Mountain. With William the Piper
leading, the haggis is piped in with ceremony and as usual a Rabbie Burns
poem in tribute to the haggis is addressed by Sandy Ross. It’s always
impressive and folks, this haggis tastes pretty good!
Sunday had us all lining up
for the Parade of Tartans by 10:30am. It was a long one, with some dressed
in day attire, some a cross between Scots and Native American (as many of
us in the USA are), and some in Jacobite dress. Although rain threatened,
it didn’t rain and got warm for the first time all weekend. I took a last
walk around after the tartan parade and listened to Jamie McDonald (lately
of St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia) and his uncle Don
McDonald teach and sing Gaelic songs and teach a few phrases in Gaelic.
Being a Gaelic speaker myself, this is lots of fun for me, too.
Then, in the grove behind
the Gaelic tent, I heard the strange mix of pipes and digeridoo? Yes,
that’s what I heard. A new band by the name Gael Warning was playing in
the grove. I had a listen and they’re quite good. I believe they’ll do
well in the future.
Clan Malcolm lines up for a
picture to commemorate the event and a handspinner shows traditional
Remember, if you’re in
America for this Highland Games, plan ahead! Reservations in local hotels
and cabins go fast. Check it out at