5/20/2014

In the Highlands

A couple of weeks ago, my Scotsman husband and I headed for Prescott, AZ to enjoy the annual Highland Games. It seemed entirely appropriate to celebrate our anniversary with bagpipe bands and watching men throw heavy objects. After all what do good plaid-wearers do for special occasions? Watson Lake Park was the perfect venue. Its unique rock formations were a gorgeous backdrop for the multitude of events.

The good news right at the admission table was that we were both eligible for the senior discounts. What a boon for my husband who's a pro at pinching pennies. We checked in at the Clan Wallace booth to meet the kin and swap family histories. Then it was on to the herding dog demonstrations with border collies showing off their skills. Rather than sheep, which is standard fare, we were treated to a  flock of cranky domestic ducks. The dogs manipulated the fowl every which way and finally into their pens. The ducks seemed to prefer the pen to running willy nilly around the arena. They didn't seem to be in favor of canines.

Duck Herding
After that, the field games grabbed our attention. It seems that any self-respecting Scotsman must heave rocks, hammers, and even large poles called cabers. The sign around the field cautioned bystanders that they were free to move if any flying object came their way. I did step back a time or two when a caber landing seemed a little uncertain. Women joined in the fun and I give them a bucket of credit for tossing a small telephone pole. The tossing of the caber has a lot to do with balance and finesse rather than brute strength. The brutes were over throwing small boulders in another section.

Wallace Plaid on a Good Dog

Throwing weights over a bar
The music was absolutely fantastic. I'm telling you there's nothing like three, yes three topnotch bagpipe bands playing Amazing Grace, America, the Beautiful, and the traditional Scottish marches.That music stirs the heart. Then there were the funky bagpipers -- California Celts and The Wicked Tinkers. Jigs, folk songs, a little Robert Burns, pirate tunes, and some calypso was thrown in for good measure. Excellent musicians and entertainers all around.

My husband enjoyed a Messy Nessie which was a banger (sausage) with cabbage and ground beef over the top. Very high in protein. I had a shepherd's pie which is vegetables and meat under a layer of mashed potatoes. Haggis was available, but neither of us were willing to get that authentic. As you might expect whisky tasting was very popular, but we rambled to the vendors who offered plaids, knives, swords, and all manner of Highland garb.

The Highland Games have been around for a thousand years at least and were brought back to popularity by Queen Victoria who was enamored of all things Scottish. She became the patron of The Gathering. Some interesting history can be found at this link: http://www.royal-deeside.org.uk/brhistory/gathering.htm.

The folks who put the Prescott Highland Games on do an excellent job. Parking was a breeze. There were tractors and wagons carrying folks who declined the walk to admission. The layout and ease of taking in all the sights was well done. Enjoy the photos and video of our little excursion to Prescott. If you're considering a visit next year, visit their website at www.prescotthighlandgames.com.




Choosing a caber - Notice the name on far caber.
Bonnie Lass and the Caber
video

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Positively encouraging

5/20/2014

In the Highlands

A couple of weeks ago, my Scotsman husband and I headed for Prescott, AZ to enjoy the annual Highland Games. It seemed entirely appropriate to celebrate our anniversary with bagpipe bands and watching men throw heavy objects. After all what do good plaid-wearers do for special occasions? Watson Lake Park was the perfect venue. Its unique rock formations were a gorgeous backdrop for the multitude of events.

The good news right at the admission table was that we were both eligible for the senior discounts. What a boon for my husband who's a pro at pinching pennies. We checked in at the Clan Wallace booth to meet the kin and swap family histories. Then it was on to the herding dog demonstrations with border collies showing off their skills. Rather than sheep, which is standard fare, we were treated to a  flock of cranky domestic ducks. The dogs manipulated the fowl every which way and finally into their pens. The ducks seemed to prefer the pen to running willy nilly around the arena. They didn't seem to be in favor of canines.

Duck Herding
After that, the field games grabbed our attention. It seems that any self-respecting Scotsman must heave rocks, hammers, and even large poles called cabers. The sign around the field cautioned bystanders that they were free to move if any flying object came their way. I did step back a time or two when a caber landing seemed a little uncertain. Women joined in the fun and I give them a bucket of credit for tossing a small telephone pole. The tossing of the caber has a lot to do with balance and finesse rather than brute strength. The brutes were over throwing small boulders in another section.

Wallace Plaid on a Good Dog

Throwing weights over a bar
The music was absolutely fantastic. I'm telling you there's nothing like three, yes three topnotch bagpipe bands playing Amazing Grace, America, the Beautiful, and the traditional Scottish marches.That music stirs the heart. Then there were the funky bagpipers -- California Celts and The Wicked Tinkers. Jigs, folk songs, a little Robert Burns, pirate tunes, and some calypso was thrown in for good measure. Excellent musicians and entertainers all around.

My husband enjoyed a Messy Nessie which was a banger (sausage) with cabbage and ground beef over the top. Very high in protein. I had a shepherd's pie which is vegetables and meat under a layer of mashed potatoes. Haggis was available, but neither of us were willing to get that authentic. As you might expect whisky tasting was very popular, but we rambled to the vendors who offered plaids, knives, swords, and all manner of Highland garb.

The Highland Games have been around for a thousand years at least and were brought back to popularity by Queen Victoria who was enamored of all things Scottish. She became the patron of The Gathering. Some interesting history can be found at this link: http://www.royal-deeside.org.uk/brhistory/gathering.htm.

The folks who put the Prescott Highland Games on do an excellent job. Parking was a breeze. There were tractors and wagons carrying folks who declined the walk to admission. The layout and ease of taking in all the sights was well done. Enjoy the photos and video of our little excursion to Prescott. If you're considering a visit next year, visit their website at www.prescotthighlandgames.com.




Choosing a caber - Notice the name on far caber.
Bonnie Lass and the Caber
video

No comments: