Saturday, July 14, 2007

The 52nd Grandfather Mountain Highland Games

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has often led,

Welcome to your gory bed,

Or to victorie.

Just after sunset on the eve of the Games the commentator intoned Robert Burns' evocative words as a fiery cross descended Grandfather Mountain to light torches held by eighty clan representatives, each of which then declared the clan present with a short speech. Most of us there knew that clans rarely, if ever, stood shoulder to shoulder in battle, normally being preoccupied with the theft of each other's cattle, but this detail did not detract from the successful drama of the occasion.

Next day it was a real pleasure to go round the clan tents, discussing clan lands and talking of homecoming journeys, past and future. Here in Scotland we tend to wear our name lightly, often unaware of its origin, or details of our clan's 'named ancestor'. We may have a kilt but we are oblivious to the major characters in our family's history. Not so in North Carolina! Here they all know the history, or were there to discover it. Particularly whilst there, it seemed a wonderful accident of birth to be born a Scot in Scotland!

One recurrent theme was the International Clan Gathering, to be held in Edinburgh in July 2009. This will be the largest gathering of clansmen in Scotland since George IV visited in 1822. And in 2009, as then, there will be a march by the clans up the Royal Mile to Edinburgh Castle. The Games will be held in Holyrood Park and the highlight of the event will be a clan pageant on the castle esplanade.

Now there's something that even Scots in Scotland can get excited about!

If you would like to visit your Scottish homeland, then drop me an email.

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