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  • Writer's pictureJenny Wynter

Hanging at the Highland Games

What does a Scotsman wear under his kilt?

A nappy, apparently.

Well, okay, admittedly that was only one (very, very young and thus massively appropriate) punter, but I was surprised to see it nonetheless. Kilts, bagpipes and haggis have been the order of the day, as the fam and I have had the great pleasure of strolling around the annual Highland Games – a day of Scottish festivities – right here in the middle of the mountains at Canmore.

It’s like walking through the soundtrack of Braveheart, or soundtrackS, to be accurate; there’s about a billion players doing their thing for rather stoney-faced adjudicators, in what seems to be a non-televised version of So You Think You Can Bagpipe?

Then there’s the teachers, coaching their piping/drumming/highland dancing proteges with final tips of encouragement (or in some cases, yelling “NOT LEFT, I SAID RIGHT! RIGHT!”) before their moment of truth, there’s the endless stalls selling kilts, hats and “Bagpipers Parking Space Only: All Others Will Be Prosecuted” signs, and of course, the fenced off section for the Highl

and Games themselves. The round of hammer-throwing we watched – different from hammer throwing in the Olympics – demonstrated the need for the fence, as the entire hammer broke apart on impact, with a long metal stick being hurled into the crowd. It was all I could do to stop from yelling “That’s NOOO how yer throw a hammer!”

Then there’s my favourite part – just kicking back on the lush green grass in the main tent, watching the band play their wicked Scottish jigs and letting the kids dance their Highlanding butts off.


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