Highland Games and Clan Gathering


There won’t be many chances this summer to see a man in a kilt heft what is essentially a 130 lb. telephone pole, a.k.a. a caber, let alone proceed to spin around and throw it. But at the North American Scottish Athletics Championship, to be held at the 61st annual Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games & Clan Gathering, citified Seattleites are welcome to gawk along with an estimated crowd of 30,000. For those with only a vague notion of their Scottish heritage, over ninety clans will provide representatives (sanctioned by the clan leaders themselves, back in the old country), available to trace the origins of your particular sept (surname) and fill in the blanks. Dueling harpists, sword-dancing lassies, and troupes of tireless bagpipers promise to keep things exciting between the athletic competitions. The Seattle Knights will entertain onlookers with choreographed swordfights, besting token Englishmen. Fuzzy sheep and the legendary “Nessie” (the Scottish Sasquatch) round out the day for the kiddies. For anyone curious about the sort of music a traditional Scot would rev up to before a cattle raid in centuries past, musicians like the Celtic Tinkers will be arrayed on five stages. It’s a chance to discover an ancient culture more memorably than through a museum trip or an oversized coffee table book.

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