Tug-o-war, pipes, drums, and a Lady in red
Hurray, good weather is predicted for the day. We head up into the mountains towards Braemar to watch the final and most important highland games of the year. What we didn't realize was that this was the 200th anniversary of the Braemar Highland Games so there were lots of extra happenings for our experience. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
The windy, as in curvey, and windy, as in actual wind, road up into the mountains was a beautiful drive. Heather was in bloom and virtually covered the hill sides. Here and there were sheep grazing, rocky patches, and remnants of old buildings of various sizes. We made a quick pit stop at the top of the pass where there is a small ski area. When we got out of the car we were shocked as to how cold the wind really was, causing us to scurry back to the car quick as we could.
The games were so much fun to watch. It began with early elimination trials and lots of children competitions especially dancers and runners. There were tug-o-war competitions all day between different armed services groups that were taken very seriously by all. Big men seemed to really enjoy throwing very heavy objects. Lots of foot racing from young kids to adults running round the track, sprinting across the track, and finally a hill climb run that was practically straight up a hill that we could see tiny dots moving as they went. The brogue of the announcer sounded like he was calling the race the "hell climb", seemed appropriate to me.
About 5 events are happening at the same time including pipe and drum bands on the field. I don't know how that announcer managed to keep up but it was quite impressive. He'd give the call to participants for one area, who's performing in another area, play-by-play action on the tug-o-war, what's happening in each area, sharing the names of winners from a just finished event, all without missing a beat.
At midday there was a "mass pipe and drum" performance with special groups attending for the big anniversary celebration. When the last of the marching group came into the arena they covered about two-thirds of the track. My ears are still ringing with the bag pipe music, which sounds much better when played outside. The different groups wore different traditional tartans and costumes. Two of the groups were extra special for the anniversary celebration.
3:00pm roles around and the eliminations are finished. Then everything stops as three new Landrovers enter the arena. Everyone stands as a stately lady in red emerges from one of the vehicles. God Save the Queen is played and everyone gives a big cheer. She said she liked the children's sack races the best... not to me but we read that in the paper later. What a day!
Wow. I wish sporting events here were that fun.
I enjoy reading the adventures with a few glimpses from your camera
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