Yesterday, Lindsay and I headed out to Strathdon to attend the Lonach Highland Games.
The Lonach Highland and Friendly Society was founded in 1823 by Sir Charles Forbes, 1st Baronet of Newe and Edinglassie (1773-1849). Membership is drawn from the inhabitants of Strathdon, who continue to fulfil the society’s original mission of preserving Highland dress and “supporting loyal, peaceful, and manly conduct; and the promotion of social and benevolent feelings among the inhabitants of the district.”
It was a lot of fun and very interesting to attend an authentic event such as this and of course, there were A LOT of men in kilts in a wide range of variety!
The day commences with the March of the Lonach Highlanders departing Bellabeg at 8am returning to the Lonach Hall where they are provided with a dram of whiskey.
The man with the two eagle feathers in his cap is Lord James Forbes, the head of the Forbes Clan. The Lonach Gathering includes two clans; the Forbes (in green tartan) and the Wallace clan (in red tartan).
When they on their march, they have a police escort, Sargent Mitchell, who rides a 1931 bicycle, wears a 1934 uniform and he proudly told me he was born in 1955 and has been escorting them on their march for 17 years!
After a long march in the morning, they are provided a nice lunch in Lonach Hall. Afterward they form up once again and march to the games field where we will meet up with them later. Now let’s head to the games field ourselves and see what it has to offer.
Lindsay and I met up with Lindsay’s’ daughter, Lisa, her beau – Robin, and her daughter Ailie, and we started out enjoying all of the various events.
First there were the Highland dancing competitions:
Races, which included relays, and the famous “hill race” where they race around the games field, head out the gate, run up the nearby hill and back down into the arena (which takes about 1/2 hour!) The Shot Put competition…
Tug of War between the two clans…
the Tossing of the Caber
And of course a wide variety of men in kilts in all sizes, ages and styles….
and this one particular dapper dude who was delighted I wanted to take his picture…
There many vendor tents with art, jewelry, woolen goods, and of course whiskey and food!
We had such a fun-filled day together.
Lindsay even ran into an old mate he used to work with and hadn’t seen in years…
The Lonach Highlanders march one final time around the game field at the end of the day, lead by their trusty police escort, Sargent Mitchell. This year, as a special tribute, the Atholl Highlanders, ceremonial infantry regiment, joined the Forbes and Wallace clans. They are the only official private army in all of Europe (which is why they are allowed to carry rifles!) It was quite a sight to see over 300 marchers parade around the fields. The Lonach Highlanders are the only ones who have a march of the highlanders. It is a “must see – must do” that will tug at your Scottish heart strings…
and last, but by all means least, the march members include “Socks” the horse, who pulls the cart!
It was a wonderful day filled with everything Scottish, including Scotty Dogs!
When you visit Scotland, make it very high priority to visit one of their many Highland Gathering, enjoy the games and all the tradition they represent. You won’t be disappointed.