Saturday, June 27, 2009

Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans

When celebrating in times of peace one of the Highlanders' favorite pastimes was the tainchel. For these "great hunts" very often several clans would combine. Chieftains would send word to the clansmen that such an event was planned and when and where they should assemble. For several days the greater part of the clansmen assembled would go out into the mountains and begin driving the red deer and other animals in front of them in a gradually tightening circle. Soon the animals were driven off the mountains and through the passes where the waiting armed huntsmen would make the kills.

After such a successful hunt a great feast and celebration would be held and venison would be sent to everyone who was unable to attend. Then the rival clansmen would relax by testing each other's prowess at various sports - running, jumping, wrestling, or primitive forms of weight putting with stones, or divided into roughly equal sides vying against each other in a very early form of camanachd or shinty. Lastly the clansmen would vie with each other in piping and in dancing, the pipers taking it in turns to demonstrate their skills and the clansmen to demonstrate their agility and neatness of movement by dancing complicated steps to the pipe music. These relaxations were in effect the forerunners of the modern Highland games.

San Diego has an annual Highland Games and Clan Gathering which should be on everyone's list of things to do at least once, even if youhave no Scottish blood. I'm lucky, I do have Scottish blood! Besides athletic events like the caber toss, there are sheepdog trials and lots of Celtic music.

I'm going to leave you with "Scotland the Brave" . Enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. How interesting! I'm going to watch for this next year! Great shots, Lisa - love the angles you chose and the motion shots - beautiful!