Sunday, July 17, 2011

Scottish Highland Games & My Birthday

Yesterday was a wonderful day! It was my birthday, I turned 38 years old, and I had an amazing day with my family. We spent the entire day at the Portland Scottish Highland Games. My sister Amy and her family along with their Japanese exchange student were also there, I love getting to see my sister and her family, and I really enjoyed meeting their exchange student.

Before we left for the day, Gary and the kids gave me my birthday present- the new Yankee candles in the canning jars I thought were so cute, as well as some of the candle holders I had been eyeing and a small mountain lodge scented candle. I also got a new apple peeler/corer/slicer which will be wonderful for all of my baking! Here is a picture of my new candles. Thanks Gary, Sarah & Joseph, I loved my gift!!

I have enjoyed going to the highland games many times over the last 19 years, and every so often it lands right on my birthday, which I think is great. I really enjoy celebrating our Scottish heritage. I thought I would share some pictures of the games.

The Welcoming Ceremony is always nice, I love how they start it with a prayer, as well as the National Anthems of the United States as well as Canada and England. I love singing along with an entire stadium of people singing the national anthem. Here is a picture of the guest pipe band- The Prince Charles Pipe Band from San Francisco, CA. I am a huge fan of bagpipes!!

Here's the Flag.

After the welcoming ceremony, is the Kilted Mile Race. We always enjoy watching and cheering on the runners. The mile long race must be run wearing a kilt for the entire race.

Here are the runners heading to the start line, led by a bagpiper.

Another wonderful event to enjoy are the Highland Dancers. Here are a few pictures of the finalists doing the Highland Fling.

We never miss the Border Collie Demonstration. Our whole family loves Dogs, and these Border Collie are amazing, they respond to whistle commands and herd these sheep so quickly.

The air is filled with bagpipe music during the pipe band competition.

This year we didn't get to the upper Field to watch any of the heavy athletics- we will have to next year. We did enjoy browsing at the vendor tents, lots of interesting treasures. Sarah found a wonderful vendor who taught us how to do her hair up in a wonderful wrapped braid. Joseph's favorite was all of all of the swords and daggers for sale. I bought a special little treasure which I will share later this week in another post.

In one of the shops I saw this miniature key chain plaid flask, it was the first thing that caught my eye, I love all things mini, and I love plaid. But how could this teetotal girl purchase a flask!! So I left it, but my sweet dear hubby, who is wonderful at noticing the little things I take a fancy to, and very stealth at buying them without my noticing, decided it would be harmless, and surprised me with the little plaid flask later. I was very surprised. Here is a picture of my surprise.

We enjoyed the delicious Scottish foods- Scottish Meat Pies and Bangers (a sausage) are our favorites. So much our favorites that they were eaten before I even thought to take a photo. So we got a photo of the stand. The Fish and Chips were also excellent - of course with plenty of Malt Vinegar!! I am hoping to learn how to make the Scottish Meat Pies this summer, they are made a little differently from the meat pies I normally make- the crust is a bit different than a standard pie crust, and I will need to see if our local meat counter sells ground lamb.

The weather report called for a very wet and rainy day, which for the highland games is not very common, usually it is almost too hot. We came prepared with umbrellas, but ended up having lovely weather- not too hot, and no rain while we were there. The sky was beautiful, and lots of planes kept passing overhead, so I had to get a picture.

The Highland Games are ended with two really awesome events- the Caber Toss and the Parade of Massed Bands.

The Caber Toss is an event were very strong men pick up a caber, which is a tall tree trunk size timber, and throw it into the air and try to completely flip it. It is a little hard to describe without seeing it in person. I would highly encourage everyone to check out some of the better videos on youtube of caber tossing, it is a very exciting sport, and we all look forward to watching the competition. Here are a few pictures of The Caber Toss.

Here is the Caber arriving.

Here are pictures of the Caber Toss.

The Parade of massed bands is really something to see, all of the various pipe bands come together on the main field to play together, I love how they all work together so well. Here are some pictures below. I took some video of the mass bands, and am having trouble uploading the video, if I can figure it out, I will post the video of the massed bands later in the week.

Here are some pipe band members on their way to mass bands.

Here are the bands gathered on the field. They ended with Amazing Grace & Scotland The Brave.

The whole day was so enjoyable, I love spending time with my family and building wonderful memories with them.


  1. What a fantastic event, April. I know I would love it. Bagpipes -- love that sound.

    And your little flask is adorable. You can always put tea in it. :)

    Thanks so much for participating in YSB today.

  2. I am so very glad that you are taking the initiative and time to catalog our adventures. Your writing skills are obvious and your cooking skills are obviously responsible for my extra 30 lbs! Hey, somebody has got to sample all those goodies. :)

  3. Thanks Nancy, bagpipes are wonderful, love all the pictures at YSB!!

    Thanks Gary- glad you enjoy the blog & all my cooking. Sorry about the extra pounds :) Guess I'll have to work on a few new salad recipes. ;)

  4. Happy Birthday! That looks like such a fun day. BTW, I used to use ground lamb for moussaka but could never find it at the grocers, so I bought lamb chops (on sale usually after Easter) and ground my own. If you have a friendly butcher you can ask him to grind some for you.

  5. Happy belated birthday, and I'm glad you had a joyous day.

    It's interesting to see men in skirt!

  6. Happy Birthday! Sounds like you had a great time.

    Those candles smell so good.

    Bella Vida by Letty
    Have a great day.

  7. Thank You for the Birthday wishes everyone!

    Jane- Thanks for the tip about the ground lamb, my local butcher is very nice, I will have to ask him to grind some up for me. Moussaka is yummy too- my grandma had it a lot when she went to Egypt, and enjoyed making it when she got back.

  8. Happy belated birthday!

    sounds and looks like you had a great time!
    love those pictures very much!

    have a great week ahead!

  9. Happy Birthday to you !!! I ope you had wonderful day
    and looking throuh your photos it looks like the Scottish Games event is a great day out

  10. My belated birthday wishes to you. It seems you had a fun day. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

  11. Great photos. Happy belated birthday. Great plane photo.

  12. Thank You all for the birthday wishes and wonderful comments. Thanks for stopping by my blog!! :)


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