Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Highland Games Festival (warning: long, photo intensive post)

Our family has had a long stressful first quarter of 2008 and felt it was about time we got out for a little fun together. We have been missing our Daddy as he has been working so hard! I have always wanted to go to a highland games and was excited about the prospect of all I would have to photograph. In spite of my photo intensive post, I did not get to photograph all the things I had hoped to as it got too hot (92* - HELLO, have you heard it is ONLY APRIL!?!!! YUCK!) and the kids could not handle it. My poor little J Girl (Hey I have one too Amy!) could not handle all the people. So in the interest of family sanity we did leave a little early. I hope to go back again next year!

My interest in Scotland grew when I did genealogy group and found that several of my family lines came from Scotland at some point in time - Kirkland, Forbes, Blair, Parks, West and possibly Tisdale (before moving to northern Ireland). Sadly, I have not traced all the way back to Scotland yet. I also spent a week in Scotland, June 1994 and it is in my heart in a big way. I hope God gives me opportunity to take Hubby back some day.

This is who we saw in the parking lot. I took the photo to show my Mom what her husband would look like in a kilt! LOL This is the Buchanon tartan. All day I tried to talk my Hubby into getting a kilt. If we hadn't had a quickly and inexpensively planned wedding on a very small budget, I would have loved to have had him in a kilt instead of tails. He might have done it then if he thought that was the only way we were getting married! LOL He didn't even pick up on the idea of a utili-kilt, which I think look nifty and would be pretty comfortable in our hot weather! :o) He's a spoiled sport though!

There was a lot to see. First we stopped and watched some country dancing, which interested all three kids.

Then we saw these surly old bagpipers just hanging around.

Well, I guess I did get him in a kilt! HA! :o) Not quite what I was looking for, but I guess I'll have to be satisfied.

There was plenty of kilt wearers to behold! There were babies in plaid and old men in wheel chairs and knobby knees. I thought this little guy was the cutest!

This was kind of fascinating to watch as grown men swirled and twirled around. I thought it was only my girly girls that liked twirly "Sunday dresses", but I guess it's okay for the guys if they grunt and throw heavy objects while they twirl! :o) Seriously, it's not that easy to do. Sorry for the orange nets...they were up for obvious safety reasons.

They start out somewhat sedate (isn't this a pretty tartan?).

But they got a little wild and crazy too!

Next we watched the performance dogs. The kids had a blast with this. Aren't these puppies adorable?

They come out just briefly so they can get used to the noise, crowds and clapping.

These dogs really loved performing. One was so happy, he barked the whole time and pranced as he waited for the next command. Look at the intensity in this dog's face.

See the lady's hand? Most of the signals were done by hand.

This is the dog who was barking happy! :o)

This gal was really good with the dogs and you could tell she loved what she was doing.

After the dog show, we went to see the animals. First was a cow with an Irish name, that I can't remember. They are short-legged and I imagine they must be, like the ponies on the islands, for walking up and down the hills and dales and rocky slopes. J is in stripes, A in yellow.

There were quite a few Shelties. We love our Pixie, my friend Sonia's Sheltie that we babysit at Christmas time.

These are Highland cattle. They were not overly thrilled to be there and I have heard that they can have a bit of an attitude. There is a farm near the church we got married in that has these and in the midst of black and white dairy country, they do turn your head!

There were a few Cheviot sheep in a pen, wishing they weren't!

The lady whose Shetlands I photographed on Roc Day 2007 was there with some of her sheep. This is a ram lamb.

And I was really surprised to see D petting this little ewe. He's not overly adventuresome with sheep. Do you think this little girl loves being a farm girl or what? She held the lambs up for the other kids to pet.

There were some spinners there as well and I think this one Shetland ewe was partially shorn for demonstration purposes, but I'm not sure.

Then I saw these little sheep! They were so CUTE!

The one on the right came home for me. I think I'll name him "Hershey"!

There were two Clydesdales who pulled the Chief of the Caledonian club in a beautiful coach for the parade.

More puppies... who can resist. The border collie puppies were fluffy energy balls! :o)

A had fun petting this Gordon Setter.

This is a Harris Hawk.

And the falconer said this is a cross between a Peregrine Falcon and another kind of falcon, whose name I cannot remember.

D of course was all about the sports cars. His favorite was a bright yellow.

My favorite was this Triumph from the year I was born.

This little man took his job quite SERIOUSLY! He did a good job too. He was the beginning of the whole parade. We had a hard time photographing the parade because of all the really RUDE people who kept walking in front of the camera and walking in front of the parade participants. I have never seen such rude behavior at a parade and the security people were getting really irritated too as no one was listening to their directions.

Naturally there were bag pipers!

And some awesome drummers.

Each clan had members marching. Forbes is one of my families that is a genealogical "brick wall."

These were the POW-MIA, armed services and veterans.

Then the parade went chronologically back in time. Here are representatives of WWI and WWII Scots soldiers.

Common foot soldiers - J said "I think these men in hats are the bad guys"! LOL

I don't know who they were, perhaps "Red Coats"? Notice how TALL the flagbearer is!

Medieval lords and warriors.

And the ladies followed.

Next came the Scottish Terriers. I was disappointed to not see Westies (West Highland Terriers) represented. I saw them all over the place when I was in Scotland.

This cow was a little surly but strutting it's stuff!

Mr. Happy here was another story. He was on a short leash for good reason. I thought for a minute they were going to have to turn around and go back to the pens, but he got around the big crowd and was okay.

Here you can see the short stubby legs on the Irish cow.

Look at all these lovely shelties. It was neat to see their different colors.

After the parade Hubby and I shared a scone and strawberries and a Scottish meat pie. These gentlemen (or are they?!) strolled by while we were eating. The Scottish meat pie was really good. It was a pastry like dough but not sweet and had ground beef and oatmeal inside. It tasted like onion and black pepper for seasoning. Very simple but extremely tasty. I would like to try it in a calzone.

We listened a bit to Wicked Tinkers and they were a fun group. I would love to have gone to the Ceilidh that night but that's one of the things that doesn't happen with kiddos in tow. I LOVE Celtic music, not the new age stuff, but the real stuff and I also love fiddlers, both traditional and new or crosses like Canadian Natalie MacMaster.

What I was really interested in seeing was the sheep herding and so we waited in the grandstand for a half hour.

The sheep were tired of waiting too, so they ventured into the middle of the arena to check us all out! LOL

Apparently there was a family emergency with the shepherd, so we left there for a little shopping. I could have spent a lot of money if I had a lot. There was some gorgeous jewelry and authentic tartan wools. I did buy a silver broach with celtic design and a cat eye shaped light amethyst in the center, which I plan on using with shawls.

I took a picture of these Welsh love spoons to show my step dad who is learning how to carve.

Aren't these woven wool ruanas beautiful?

Unfortunately we didn't meet up with Ruth or Amy's family, but I did see Margaret, who I met when Amy and her friends came to Babetta's on their yarn crawl and it was so fun to see her. She caught my eye because she was knitting. I wondered what she was doing and when I got closer I thought, "Hey! I know you!" My brain was too tired to think at that point or I would have gotten a picture! Hi Margaret! It was great to see you! :o)

This picture could be for one of those "priceless" commercials. :o) The greatest pleasures in life are almost always simple. Here the kids are playing in the mud at the base of an olive tree while waiting for Mom as she shopped!


Scrabblequeen said...

Sorry we didn't meet up at the Games. Too many people! Let's plan better for next year...including less heat. :-(

Silverwolf said...

What a wonderful story told in pictures! It all sounds so much fun :)


Wool Winder said...

Thanks for sharing your pictures. It felt like I was there.

Donna B said...

We are planning to go to a Highland Games down south in June, when we visit my parents. I've never been before, so getting a taste of it was nice!

Suzanne said...

Hey Theresa!
Looks like ya'll had a blast! I know the music was super, too bad ya'll didn't make the dance (ceilidh;)
Good luck on your genealogy, your roadblock is in Scotland at least, mine is my maternal grandmother!


ikkinlala said...

It looks like you had a great time! I've never seen performance dogs like that before.

Charlotte said...

OOh! I am jealous. Still using the scottish heritage cookbook I bought from you at Christmas. My son had the salmon in puff pastry dish at his request for his 13th b-day. We have a farmer friend who raises Highland cattle...good sausage.

Theresa said...

I love this post! We have highland games up in NC, but have never attended. My good friend from SC and her husband do it up right though, right down to the Wardlaw tartan!