Well howdy, Your Majesty

Sidebar: In case you missed it, my previously posted photo from Arthur’s Seat is currently being featured by The Huffington Post. Check it out here!

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Recently  I made the trip up to watch the largest Highland Games at the Braemar Gathering.  It was nearly a 3 hour drive and the weather was supposed to be nothing, but rain and wind.

Braemar, Scotland

What is summer?

Lucky for us, we dragged ourselves out of bed and out of Edinburgh early Saturday morning and were met with a perfect day for the events in Braemar.

Braemar, Scotland

Contrary to some modern day sports, the events at the Highland Games are quite simple, but require a lot of strength and athleticism.

There’s a different kind of suspense, entertainment, and pride that comes from watching a man throw a 175 pound wooden caber over his head or from watching teams dig their heels into the mud for round after round of tug-of-war.

Braemar Gathering

tug-of-war

Braemar Gathering

In the left corner, you’ll see a one handed stone weight being thrown over a bar for height. Keep in mind the weight is usually over 50 pounds.

The Morrone hill race was another impressive event, with participants running to the peak of Morrone and then back down to the Gathering.  The top finishers managed this in under 30 minutes. While the hill race is only 3.2+ miles, they are running uphill for 1200+ feet. From a distance the racers just looked like tiny ants moving up an anthill. A 2800+ foot anthill…

Traditionally the Royal Family attends the world famous event and this year was no exception as the Queen has been nearby in Balmoral Castle since the beginning of August. Ruaridh and I lined up along the Gathering entrance in anticipation of the Royal Family’s arrival. In typical tourist fashion I waited patiently for 30 minutes for the royal arrival and then cheered, smiled, and waved like crazy when Her Majesty, Prince Philip, and Prince Charles were escorted through the entrance.

British Royal Family

British Royal Family

British Royal Family

Once the Royal Family was settled into the event, they were cheering along and enjoying the games.

Braemar Gathering

The Royal Family in the Royal Box, caber tossing, and tug-of-war. Perfection!

Scottish bagpipes

Not scared of PETA around here

A crowd favorite was definitely the sack race. Apparently the key to winning a sack race is to somehow get a sack that already has holes for your feet and then just run to the finish line. Sneaky, sneaky.

British Royal Family

Adding this to the list of musts for my future kids. Alongside mutton busting at the rodeo.

With the kilts, crowds, and the Queen, the Braemar Gathering was a more spectacular experience than I had even hoped for!

 

Scottish Bagpipes

 


I haven’t put together a Scotland bucket list yet, but seeing the Royal Family and attending a Highland Games would definitely be two to cross off if I did.

Any suggestions for must-dos while in Scotland?