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August 5, 2011

2011 Scottish Highland Games, Enumclaw, WA

What a wonderful weekend! I’ve always loved attending the Highland Games, in Enumclaw, WA. I remember my first Games. I was pregnant with my daughter at the time and watching the Massing of the Pipes and Drums was very emotional. Skye-Alexandra loved it, she kicked along while they filled the field with the tune of “Scotland the Brave”. To this day, it’s one of her, and my, favorite Scottish tunes to hear on bagpipes.

Nearly fourteen years later, the Games was just as great at the first time. I still get a wee bit teary-eyed at hearing the ten plus Pipe Bands (I think there were fourteen Pipe Bands in total!) fill the field, and air. If you’ve never experienced the Massing of Pipe and Drums, it is a must in my book.

Friday evening, the “unofficial” first day of the Games, there is Opening Ceremonies. It’s not usually well attended, despite it being free to get in, and the bulk of the attendees are those who have clan tents or booths at the event. Clan Gordon Pipe Band, Northwest Junior Pipe Band, and the Tacoma Scots Pipe Band played for us. This was followed by a rousing sing-a-long, led by the talented Colin Grant-Adams. We had a history lesson of Scotland and Scots in America, then the March of the Clan Reps that led into the Flaming Saltire, and when all the reps were on the field, in the Scottish flag formation (saltire), we did something a bit different than previous years. We sang to them as they held their lit torches up. I have some poorly done pictures (Dad’s camera doesn’t do night shots all that well), but you can get the gist of it.

After opening ceremonies, there is a Ceilidh (kay-lee), dancing and general partying, but we didn’t stay for this as we needed to be up bright and early to return.

I barely slept that night, crawling into bed at nearly 2 am, and stumbling out of it at 5 am, to get dressed and off to the Games to open the clan tent and lay out the tables. By the looks of it, it was promising to be quite a wonderful day, with the sun rising and the low lying mists in the open field.

Vice President Charles Morehead and his daughter, Christina, joined us early in the morning, and then by Glen and Patricia Morehead. Chief Raymond’s wife arrived with grandchildren (and my nephew and nieces), Adam Morehead’s children, and my daughter, Skye-Alexandra.

This year, I brought SgianDubh, my American Kestrel, and she turned out to be quite the star of the day. Not a lot of pictures of the first day as I had Sgian, and was in my Celtic dress. We took a couple of walk-abouts and were stopped often for photo ops and questions. During the Parade of Clans, the Muirheads were announced and the announcer, former Secretary of State, Ralph Munroe, asked me what kind of bird. When I told him, he announced her to the audience as well.

The day turned out to be not only beautiful, but scorching! After such a mild summer, we were hit with an 80 plus degree weather and by the end of the day, quite a few people were more than willing to beat feet home to take a COLD shower.

Sunday was the complete opposite. We woke to overcast and light mist, which turned into a steady, heavy mist for a bit, then a sprinkle. We had some clear spots, and then a return to the misting. Not a miserable day, but it did keep things a wee bit damp. Still, the temperature was mild and comfortable, and it didn’t deter many people from the fun.

I’d left SgianDubh home so I could enjoy the day without having to watch out for her. I was also childless as she stayed home to entertain her cousins and help her grandma out.

With the weather, there were less people in attendance than the day before, but still LOTS of people. I opted out of the Parade of Clans so I could play photographer.

The clan tent hosted Glen and Patricia Morehead (They are wonderful people and always fun to talk to!), VP Charles Morehead, his daughter, Christina, and Christina’s friend, Brendan, Clan Chief Raymond, as well as myself. Later on the day, my sister Jennifer Morehead-Bushnell, her husband Eric Bushnell, and children, Makayla and Emily, stopped by.

I picked up a new Celtic dress, this time with a chemise in a lighter weight, and in a green overdress (my other one is blue), so now I have two outfits to wear and both will match our clan tartan (both ancient and modern colors). I can’t wait to get my hands on some plaid to wear as an arasaid!

It was wonderful to see old friends and awesome to meet new ones.

After closing ceremonies, we had help breaking down the four tables and packing up the gear. We really appreciated the help in packing the gear out to the truck, rather than waiting for the madhouse to clear so we could bring the truck in. With everyone helping, we had everything loaded and done quicker than previous years!

And with that, another awesome and fun Highland Games was had. I can’t wait for next year!

Pictures are available here.

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