Picture us on a cloudless September day, warm sun, slight breeze, sitting on a grassy slope at the base of Loon Mountain. That’s where we spent Saturday with Hunton and Cecelia watching the Highland Games. A gathering of Americans celebrating their Scottish heritage. There were bagpipe competitons and fiddlers and dancers. Whiskey tasting was on the agenda but as responsible grandparents, we didn’t participate in that.

A large area was set up with booths for the different Clans to display their tartans and maps of Scotland were marked with their areas. Bearded and kilted men were in the booths talking about their Scottish heritage. The children were given “passports”, blank books that they carried to each clan booth for a stamp repesenting the clan.

A living history area was devoted to interpreters, in costume, explaining about early Scottish life. One woman had a collection of herbs used for medicines, another was carding and spinning wool. Over an open fire an iron pot held simmering food while more women chopped vegetables with primitive tools.

Men dressed in colorful military uniforms from different eras demonstated weapons of the period and talked of Scottish history and the wars between the Scots and the English, All fascinating to young (and old) boys.DSCN3241

The most intriguing part of the day were the athletic events that we watched from the side of the mountain. The Caber Toss kept our attention as athletes from around the world competed to flip a 22 foot long log at a precisely 12:00 angle (the winner tossed to 11:30). Then they competed to flip an 18 foot log over and then the farthest. Less than half the logs actually flipped.

The morning games had started with putting 22 pound rocks, and another event of whirling a stone and letting it go. To end the day, after the amazing physical feats all day, the competitors were required to lift huge concete balls, carry them several feet and lift them onto six foot high platforms. There were six balls ranging in weight from 240 pounds to 340 pounds and they had to be finished in 90 seconds Most of the men stuggled, two didn’t finish but the amazing Dan Ford hoisted each one on his shoulder, dropped it easily onto the platfom and finished in 54 seconds.Balancing and running with the caber

Tossing the caber

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t give a fig about sports but I was impessed. The childen followed the action intently, lying on the grass with their heads in Grampy’s lap. What nicer way to spend a Saturday in September?DSCN3313