Monday, July 23, 2012

Bagpipes and Blueberries

Around here, mid July is marked every year by two of my favorite things, Bagpipes and Blueberries, and this last weekend we enjoyed both.

One of our favorite family events to attend in July is the annual Portland Scottish Highland Games.

Saturday was the 60th annual Portland Scottish Highland Games, and we arrived just in time for opening ceremonies.  Our day started with some wonderful bagpipe music kicking off the event.

Opening ceremonies always starts with the singing of the national anthems of The USA, Canada, and the UK.  Then a parade of the various clan families.

After the parade is a very fun event, the kilted mile run, you can see the runners being led in by a bagpiper.  This year the winner ran the mile in 4 minutes and I believe 17 seconds, he was extremely fast, it was pretty amazing.

After the kilted mile, we enjoyed a lunch of our favorite Highland game food, the Scottish meat pie.  We look forward to these every year, these little pies are beyond good, a delicious crust with a savory meat filling.  We also shared a Stovie which is just like a hearty beef stew, it was great.  For dessert we all shared a dish of Tipsy Laird a yummy raspberry topped custard over pound cake.

While we were eating lunch,  we enjoyed a little bit of the highland dancing, below the dancers are doing the sword dance and have to dance over two crossed swords without touching the swords.  They all did a great job.

After lunch we walked around a bit, listening to the pipe band competition for a while.  I really enjoy bagpipe music.  When I went to camp in the 6th grade, we were were woken every morning, bright and early, with Bagpipes playing Scotland the Brave over the speakers, a much better way to wake up than a dreadful alarm. :)

Then it was time to head over to the upper field and watch some of the Scottish athletics.  We saw a little broadsword combat demonstration.

Then watched as some very strong athletes throw the Portland Stone.  This event is a fun Portland special event, the Portland Stone weighs 96 pounds and came right out of the Sandy River.  The men hoist it above their heads then run and toss the stone, quite impressive!

These men were swinging a Scottish hammer.

These men were throwing weights straight up in the air for height.

After taking in some of the sporting events, we walked back to the main field, spent a little time browsing various venders.   Sarah sampled some McTavish shortbread, they had some interesting flavors like lemon with lavender and even a red velvet.  Joseph enjoyed looking through the swords with Gary.  Then we went back to the stadium to find a nice spot to view more bagpipe competition, and have a afternoon snack of my favorite sausages- Bangers covered in sauteed onions- yum!

Everyone looks forward to one of the last sporting events- the Caber toss- this year they had a new caber that was 19 feet long, and very heavy.  It is amazing that anyone can even lift such a huge thing, the men competing were all very strong, unfortunately this year no one turned the caber, it was still very exciting to watch.

After the caber toss, the day ended with mass bands- all the bagpipers, playing together on the field.  This is always so wonderful to watch, and such a wonderful sound, they played Scotland the Brave and finished with Amazing Grace.

We had a wonderful day at the games, it is always such a memorable day.  

This weekend was also the time for us to bring in the bulk of our blueberries.  Last week the bushes had some nice ripe berries, and this weekend the rest were all ripe.

I found these very cute little berry baskets in Target a few weeks back, and knew they would be perfect to hold our berries.  With our first picking of blueberries I made a blueberry crisp , fruit crisps are one of my favorite desserts.

This weekend Sarah and Joe picked enough blueberries for a Blueberry pie.

I cleaned up a large bowl of berries, tossed them with a cup of sugar and a half cup of flour (I normally use less sugar, but this year the berries were a little more tart than we like) poured them into the pie crust, dotted with butter, and put the top crust on.  

I baked the pie at 400 F. for about 15 minutes, then reduced the temperature to 350 and baked for another 45 minutes, until the filling was bubbling (you definitely want to bake this pie on a cookie sheet or it will make quite a mess of your oven).

I cut out a few leaves with a mini cutter and made the little circle blueberries with the round end of a frosting tip.   We enjoyed our nice warm pie with some vanilla ice cream for Sunday dessert.   Perfect end to our wonderful mid July weekend.

You can read about last year's 2011 Portland Scottish Highland Games here.


  1. That looks like so much fun, April. I remember reading about your Highland games last year. Hard to believe a year has passed so quickly. The birds are eating my blueberries as fast as they ripen. Oh well! The poor things haven't had much to dine upon this summer so I won't begrudge them the berries.

  2. Jane~ We had a wonderful time, the year did fly by pretty fast, it is hard to believe it has been a year. Poor little birds in all that heat, it is nice of you to share your berries, we always like to leave the smaller berries on the bush for the birds to work on during the summer, hope you get another nice sprinkling of rain soon. :)

  3. April, that pie looks amazing! I think I am going to tackle a black berry pie, because we go black berry picking all through out summer. Haven't gone this year, but I hope we can. Or I might make the cobbler, but your pie looks scrumptious! The Portland Scottish Highland Games sound so fun! Where do they take place?

  4. Thanks Courtney! A blackberry pie sounds great, I look forward to blackberry season as well. The Portland Scottish Highland games are so fun, and they take place at Mount Hood Community College. I bet you and your family would enjoy going. :)

  5. That looks like such a lovely Scottish scene. My Dad was Scottish and so very loyal to the Country even though he left at 17. He would have approved of this one! Yum to the Blueberry Pie too!

  6. The Scottish games look like great fun for a family! They have one near us each year, and after seeing your photos I think we will have to get there next time :-) And yummo, your blueberries look delish! One of my favourites for sure!!


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