We spent the weekend in the mountains at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The games are one of the biggest gatherings of Scottish Clans in the world and this was the 50th year anniversary.
We only went to Saturday's events but were treated to sheep herding (very interesting for me as I've written about the Border Collie and finally got to see the crouch and "the eye" in practice), piping, drumming, the Hammer throw, tossing the Sheath (sheath, not s-h-e-e-p as the announcer helpfully pointed out), 56 lb weight throw and Highland Wrestling.
Everywhere we went there were men in kilts and many men in kilts along with t-shirts that read "Real Men Wear Kilts." I see the appeal. Men that still come off as masculine while in a skirt with a diaper pin are men indeed.
Along with the games we also spent an afternoon exploring nearby Boone and Blowing Rock. We came across Price Lake on the BlueRidge Parkway and decided on a spontaneous canoe rental. We did okay once we go the hang of it but I'll be the first to admit I'm a terrible front-seat driver. "Left, LEFT LEFT! You're taking us into the trees! What are you doing?" Points go to Blair for not whacking me over the head with the paddle to shut me up.
We also rented a log cabin to stay in. We're trying to get a feel for different cabins before (and if) we build our own. We didn't care for the layout of this one--the rooms were small and choppy. However, it did have an outdoor hot tub and sitting in the mountains at night in hot bubbles is not a bad thing to do.
Back to the Games, they were much fun and those Scottish people are a blast. However, most of the day is spent sitting on bleachers observing field events and we were done after about 3 1/2 hours.
My favorite part of the day was the opening ceremony where they introduced the heads of different clans. One man with a thick burr of an accent came on and said there were millions of Americans with Scottish backgrounds but only a couple hundred thousand of us visited the Motherland this year. More Japanese than Americans visit Scotland, the man said. Then, "And while we love taking money from the Japanese, you Americans drink more and so we like your money better. So come see Scotland and have a whiskey with us!"
He had the crowd rolling.