Highland Game Traditions-Fur, Feathers, & Kilts
Heart of Romance Blog
Nov 9, 2012 by Nancy Lee Badger
The Highlands of Scotland are some of the most weather-beaten, chilly, and wide-open spaces on this planet. A harsh climate has grown a people of diverse origins. Picts, Brits, Irish, and Nordic Vikings came and went, but many stayed and thrived, and built a country. Luckily for America, many decided to join the citizens of the brave new world across the sea, settling here and in neighboring Canada in the 17th century.
Americans and Canadians remember their Scottish roots by attending Highland Games. Held in many parts of both countries, these games are open to any and all for the price of a ticket. Shorts-clad or in full Highland dress, people come together for one to four days and eat Scottish food and drink whisky. (Fact: Whisky bottled in Scotland has no ‘e’)
Visitors and volunteers, demonstrators and athletes parade around in their plaids and armor. Where else can one watch young men (and women!) toss a caber, a heavy hammer, stones, and sacks of hay? Music of the Highlands fills the air. Bagpipers, drummers, and lassies in their dancing finery grab people's attention. Men strut with a dirk at their side, a sgian dubh in their sock, and a Claymore on their backs while women cock an eyebrow and enjoy the view.
I love animals, and when I visit games that have animals as part of the festivities, I can’t help but smile. In fact, the sheep dog trials at the New Hampshire games are a favorite and I enjoyed them last September. When I visited the Stone Mountain Highland Games in Atlanta last October, sheepdogs topped the list of demonstrations I vowed not to miss. Five dogs performed this year. One herded a flock of mallard ducks. Another herded sheep through a slalom where kids were the poles!
Another favorite of mine are the heavily-furred, orange-coated Highland Cow. (Fact: they can be red, yellow, dun, black, or brindled) One small calf was in a corral, and I loved its sweet face.
A more impressive group was the falconers. Men and one woman stood or walked through the encampment with a bird of prey are their gloved arms. The birds were of various ages and dispositions, and I loved listening as the falconers gave their talks. Each bird had the most intelligent glint as they stared right back at me. (Fact: using a method of measuring avian intelligence in terms of a bird's innovation in feeding habits, the falcon and the crow family scored highest on this scale according to Louis Lefebvre.)
I cannot close my thoughts without discussing kilts. Ancient Highland Scots did not wear what we, today, call kilts. They wore long, heavy, blankets that they belted on and rolled up and over a shoulder. Clasps kept them in place, and the heavy wool could also convert into a hooded garment and a bedroll. Modern kilts display the ‘colors’ of a clan. Banners, shirts, sashes…this is how modern folks, who want to feel a part of a Scottish clan, wear to ‘belong’. Love the colors,
and made sure I included kilted hunks on my book covers. (Fact: many clans have more than one official tartan: ancient, hunting, modern, etc.)
WANT TO WIN MY BOOK? Do you have a family surname you think could be of Scottish ancestry? Clans are compiled of dozens of septs. These surnames are listed on charts and in books. People visit the tents at Clan Villages to see who they might belong to. Share a name with me, and I will choose one winner to receive an ebook of my latest release, My Banished Highlander.
Want to visit Scottish Highland Games? Check out these websites: Grandfather Mountain Highland games- North Carolina http://www.gmhg.org New Hampshire Highland games and Festival http://www.nhscot.org Stone Mountain Highland Games- Atlanta GA http://www.smhg.org/
Loch Norman Scottish Highland Games- Huntersville NC http://www.ruralhillscottishfestivals.net / Pugwash Gathering of the Clans, Nova Scotia http://www.pugwashvillage.com/gathering.html
When his clan convicts Cameron Robeson of thievery, kidnapping, and treason in 1598 Scotland, the last thing he thought his cousin would do was banish him to the future. With revenge against Laird Kirkwall Gunn fresh on his mind, and the image of a woman left behind weighing on his heart, he passes the time doing an old woman’s bidding. Surrounded by the sights and sounds of the New England Highland Games, he dreams of returning to his time, alone. His plans go awry when a comely lass wearing the Mackenzie plaid lands at his feet.
Worried about her friend lost in the past, Iona Mackenzie searches for answers among the tents and vendors at the New England Highland Games. She needs help, but who can she trust? Her father? The handsome blacksmith? Or, the Viking look-a-like. The tall, golden-haired Highlander makes her legs turn to jelly. Too bad she’s shoved romance to a back seat. Saving her friend, Haven, is her only priority, no matter how sweet the man can kiss.
When a magical amulet, an ancient book of spells, and an angry sorcerer send this unlikely couple back through time, more than one heart will be broken. When danger, intrigue, and threats surround them, feelings between Iona and Cameron grow hot and steamy. They team up with Cameron’s enemies to fight the sorcerer and search for Haven—Iona’s friend and the woman Cameron plans to steal from his cousin to make his own. Will the strong-willed Highlander and the present day witch stop fighting long enough to listen to their hearts?
Buy Links for My Banished Highlander
Amazon Buy link http://amzn.to/PAYBbX Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/OREYO7 AllRomanceEBooks: http://bit.ly/Qgdymm Smashwords: http://bit.ly/OIbim4 KOBO: http://bit.ly/QbuM3F Now Available in Print! http://amzn.to/Su5a1G
More About the Author:
Nancy Lee Badger loves chocolate-chip shortbread, wool plaids wrapped around the trim waist of a Scottish Highlander, the clang of dirks and broadswords, and the sound of bagpipes in the air. After growing up in Huntington, New York, and raising two handsome sons in New Hampshire, Nancy moved to North Carolina where she writes full-time.
Nancy is a member of Romance Writers of America, Heart of Carolina Romance Writers, Fantasy-Futuristic & Paranormal Romance Writers, and the Celtic Heart Romance Writers. Nancy and her family volunteer each fall at the New Hampshire Highland Games. She also writes as Nancy Lennea, and is a proud Army Mom.
Website http://www.nancyleebadger.com Blog: http://www.nancyleebadger.blogspot.com
Thanks Nancy for joining me here at Heart of Romance!