Saturday, September 15, 2007

Highland Fun!

After a very long wait, the 2007 Virginia Scottish Games finally arrived! This year, they were in beautiful Sky Meadows State Park. The weather was perfect--70 degrees, sunny, breezy and not a trace of humidity. Perfect weather for the kilt!

To get in the spirit, we started the day with a traditional Scottish breakfast: one fried egg, bacon, toast, coffee, jam, honey and, of course, haggis! Oh, man, that breakfast was good, and it sets with you all morning so you don't feel hungry all day!

Jim and Lisa and Desi and Sharon were to join us, and after I heard Desi would be wearing the kilt, I had to convince Jim to do so as well. (It didn't take much convincing!) I have to say, it was fun being there with so many kilted men--true manly men!

The festival was really fun. Our first stop was to see some of the early Athletic events. I wandered among the competitors, and finally found Bryan McClain, who has recently been profiled in the Washington Post. Bryan was really friendly, and he introduced me to several of the competitors (a shout out to Mike, Jeff, and Chris!). Bryan gave me some suggestions on how to start training if I want to join the games next year, and invited me to start training with him in Vienna. Mike, who lives in West Virginia and works in Purcellville, has a full set of highland gear and invited me out to his place to start training. SCHWEEET!

After we watched the athletes for a bit, we started wandering among the various tents. We stopped by the Clan Campbell tent to sign in, and then meandered through the many vendor tents. When all was said and done, Luke fleeced me for several quid and ended up wearing a kilt in the Black Watch. I was so proud of him. The only thing that made me more happy than wearing my own kilt was to see my son proudly wearing his. By the end of the day, Luke had acquired for himself a rabbit fur sporran and a Fletcher kilt pin (to honor his mother). I picked up a Fletcher pin as well for my own kilt.

The food was dreadful, but you can pretty much expect that at all festivals of this sort. The haggis looked rather like something that came from under the "Johnny on the Spots". We ate hot dogs and some rather uninspired London Broil wraps. For all this, we waited over an hour in line and paid over 40 bucks. Honestly, this was the low point of the day. They could have easily supported triple the number of food vendors.

The boys enjoyed watching the sheep trials, seeing the various rescue dog organizations that had terriers and Shetlands to pet. The antique British car show was pretty cool too, though most cars had left already as the day drew to a close. Of course, there was lots of piping, fiddling, and dancing, all of which was excellent.

The highlight for me was watching the caber toss before we left. In the 30 to 40 attempts we saw, I think maybe only three had a successful throw. To be a proper throw, the pole must tumble end over end--anything less is a disqualification.

The pole is at least 20 feet tall, and weighs something over 150 pounds. With the wind up so much, the men were having trouble even balancing it before the throw. Many valiant efforts were made, but only a few were truly spectacular, and when that pole went tumbling end over end, the crowd erupted. It was really exciting to see.

Luke is so jazzed about his kilt that he ran upstairs when we got home and assembled himself his outfit for church tomorrow. Yes, he insists on wearing the kilt to church tomorrow. God love him. I suppose I will have to do the same!

Lastly, here is a collection of the videos I took from the day, including videos of the athletics, piping, and fiddling.

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