Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Day 8... Highland Games

September 8

I think that I have set the world record for the most bagpipes seen in one day. We woke at the crow of the seagulls and headed to the bus station to catch our bus at 7:30 am to head to the wee town of Pitlochory. The highland games involve events that depict the masculinity of the men (and in the case of the one woman that participated) through a series of events that generally involve lifting or throwing heavy objects and sometimes both.  The day started off with 27 bagpiping groups to process through the arena, planning their own tune. The first 10 maybe even 15 were great but by the end of the ordeal I felt like I was going to rip my hair out.  The games were intermixed with the serious Scotsmen and the young boys that are going to wear the kilt next. Some of the events mirrored those of a modern track meet and others were interesting to think about how they were invented. The most bizarre event required the participants to throw a 56 pound weight over a bar similar to the high jump.  The bar reached a maximum height of 12 and a half feet! The weather for the day couldn't have been nicer, the sun was out and we were all sweating in the stands. We had prepared for a cool rainy day in the Highlands but instead got a nice sunny day in a valley surrounded by the Highlands. 14 of the Highland Games for the season had been cancelled due to poor weather but we were fortunate enough to be surrounded by approximately 2,000 other spectators. After the games we finished we had a couple of hours to roam the quaint and welcoming village before we had to catch our bus back to Glasgow. After a long day of sitting in the sun we were famished and head to a local restraunt. The bus arrived shortly after we finished and we headed back to the city. On the bus I thought that I was going insane, I heard bagpipes but couldn't figure out if they were in my head or on the radio on the bus. It turns out that a boy from our group, several rows back was watching the videos that he had taken on his camera of the procession of bagpipers. The person I was sitting next and myself were happy to discover that we were not insane and that there was really music being played. The short getaway from the city was very enjoyable. I am so happy that we got to see the Games, I think that it explained a lot about the history and culture of the people in Scotland.

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