I have been Guest of Honour at several Highland Games over the years and accompanied my father to two or three while he was still alive (good practice, I think). There are, however, few things that can prepare you for the extraordinary atmosphere and scale of Grandfather. It takes place at about 5,000 feet in a natural amphitheatre in the mountains of North Carolina. And attracts between 40 and 50,000 people.
Some may say that the variety of Scottish dress on display is an embarrassment and there should be more education about to dress, but the enthusiasm completely over-shadows the need for correctness.
The welcome is amazing. It takes fully an hour to do a ‘circuit’ of the Games, past all the Clan Tents. At almost every one we were offered refreshments (both liquid – mainly very good whisky – and food). My father once said, while sitting in a cart following McGoofy round Epcot Centre in Florida – honestly – that if we had a dollar for every time we had our photo taken we would be very rich indeed. But it is a pleasure and the visitors are proud to be there and extremely grateful (and surprised) that we would take the time and trouble to travel from Scotland to be with them.
It is extremely good therapy if you are suffering from low self esteem!
Next year Jamie Macnab of Macnab is the Guest of Honour – and the Macnabs are extremely pleased that Jamie is reinvigorating the Society. He will be joined by others, among them Francis Napier, who wrote:
Parade of Tartan, Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, USA – July 2014
I understand from the President of the Clan Napier Society (CNS) that its sister organization, the Clan Napier North America (CNNA) has won its fifth Parade of Tartan ‘Award of Excellence’ since 1985, fighting off over 102 clans at the 59th Annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (1997, 2001, 2005, 2010 and 2014!). I thought it was a tremendous news because they were such a small clan and up against 102 clans participating every year.
My family and I have been invited by the CNNA to attend the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games as one of their honoured guests next July. The CNNA are planning to celebrate the 30th anniversary as a formed society and they will attempt to win the sixth Award of Excellence from the Parade of Tartan competition too! The members’ enthusiasm is still as strong as ever.
As a Chief of the Name and Arms of Napier, I hope to attend with my family, which should be fascinating and memorable for them too.
Lord Napier and Ettrick