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Grandfather Mountain Games 2002
Thanks to Terry Cochrane for sending us these pictures and report

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 tartan design.


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 out!


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!

Grandfather Mountain 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 Scottish craftsmanship.


Remember, if you’re in America for this Highland Games, plan ahead! Reservations in local hotels and cabins go fast. Check it out at

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