Sunday, May 15, 2016

Embracing our Scottishness at a Highland Games

Gordon Castle Highland Games at Fochabers - our first games for 2016 and typically it rained on us quite a bit.  Oh well, we do live in Scotland now. There's so much to enjoy at Highland Games, not least being big muscular men in kilts throwing things around - unfortunately I don't think they're true Scotsmen as they wear shorts under their kilts.

We watched quite a few of the events including the hammer throw, shot put (not any shotput you've ever seen in the olympics, these were more like bowling balls), tossing the caber, and throwing a big weight. There was a contestant from New Zealand who was the heaviest contender this year, and a contestant from Poland who was winning a lot of events

Hammer throwing
Caber tossing - this one didn't go over
The Highland dancing is beautiful to watch - the girls are so put together with their outfits and hair, and their movements are really lovely.  They were very out of breath when they came off stage so it's obviously a very good workout as well. The judge is the blonde woman in front of the stage.

There were lots of bands around, taking part in competitions and preparing for the massed band display towards the end of the day.

Lots of different coloured tartans and outfits, and people of all ages in the bands.

Showing the majesty of the castle surrounded by the fun of the Highland Games and people from all over enjoying the day despite the weather.  It had stopped raining at this point but my beloved's hands were purple from the cold so he had to put his gloves on (in May!!).

This is an interesting feature, we think a fire pit, on the lawn in front of the castle.  Carved into the metal are trees, birds, deer, and the castle.

Looking out across a field of rape - where you get rapeseed oil from.

For my car mad husband there were some vintage cars for him to look at.

A Riley Elf - love the name

If there's an E-type Jaguar then that's where my beloved will be

There was a brilliant demonstration by a gun dog trainer which despite what he trains the dogs for was also good for learning about how to train your dog for everyday life as part of your pack.  He had Labradors, Springer Spaniels, and Cocker Spaniels which were very, very cute. One of his black Labradors was born blind and yet he is a really effective working dog - he did a demonstration with him using a ball with a bell in it.

One of the unusual displays was CLAN stunt cycle team - I can just picture lots of children going home and seeing if they can get their bikes to jump in the air like these lads could.  The picture shows one of them jumping off a higher surface onto a platform with a person spread eagled on the surface.

In concert corner we sat and listened to a fabulous young group called Footerin Aboot - they were all brilliant but in particular the young lady playing fiddle was amazing.

There was the obligatory (for a country show of any kind) birds of prey display.  They are such magnificent birds and I always have a bit of concern about them being kept in captivity but I know that most of the birds they have are usually ones that have been injured in the past or abandoned and can't go back to the wild.

I had to make the next two photos extra large as these two birds were my favourites.  The first very strange looking creature is a Northern White Faced Owl from South Africa - I think he looks like he should be a character in the muppets.

This one is my favourite owl, and it's the Eagle Owl - I love how their feathers stick up like feathery ears, and their eyes are stunning.

The last treat of the day was the performance of the massed bands - such a fabulous sight and a wonderful sound from all the instruments. They did a complete circuit of the arena, never missing a beat, and staying in perfect step the whole way round.

So that was our first games of the year and despite not having a photo to show, we did indulge in freshly cooked donuts and a very yummy hot chocolate with cream and marshmallows. I also brought home a bag of fairy floss to enjoy over the next few days.

On the way home we stopped in Elgin to take a picture of these beautiful cherry blossom trees lining a walkway in one of the parks. There are some really stunning displays at the moment but I think this one has been the best.

Hope you enjoyed our fun day out, and until next time, be good, stay safe, and hope you have a really lovely week.

Pamela & Ken


  1. Oh how I love living vicariously through you and your travels! What a wonderful day you guys had. I would've loved every minute of it. Thanks for sharing in all the details and the photos.
    I love owls! And that's so interesting that the dog trainer used a blind dog in the demonstration. That's beautiful!
    I know the massed bands would've given me chills!
    What a great day! Thanks for taking us along with you...

    Michele at Angels Bark

    1. Thanks Michele, glad you liked the post, and the band's did give us chills.

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  2. beautiful photos! Especially the cherry tree one. Wow!

    (PS I love old cars too.)

    1. Thank you - I was really pleased with the cherry tree one as I always seem to miss them when they're at their best but this year I was successful.

  3. I've been told one side of my family has Scottish heritage, but I have yet to prove it. That doesn't stop me from wanting to attend a Highland Games, though. It looks like a joyous atmosphere.

    I can only imagine the generations that castle has seen.

    I thought the white faced owl was cute until I looked down to see those talons. A fierce cute!

    Our cherry trees have already bloomed and gone to leaf, so it's nice to see your beautiful display.

    Once again, I enjoyed "our" day out! ;-)

    1. Glad you enjoyed it Stephanie, and the atmosphere is great at the games - I always wish there was some way to convey that in photos.