Take the High Road

Trip Start Mar 07, 1997
Trip End Dec 25, 1998

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Flag of United States  , Tennessee
Friday, May 16, 1997

Go with me? It's time for hurling the haggis, turning the caber, and showing off our knobby knees. It's time for pipes and drums and ceilidhs.

That's right. It's time for the gathering of the clans in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, at the annual Scottish Festival and Games.

So grab your kilt and your battle axe. We're taking the high road to a weekend that looks like a movie set come to life. Stroll through agrarian Scotland in a barnyard full of black-faced sheep, Shetland ponies, and runner ducks. Watch the sheep dogs show their stuff, with demonstrations of amazing collie acumen.

Games mean competition and the challenges are everywhere. Highland athletics includes running, wrestling and the Heavy Events, such as the 22-pound hammer throw, the sheaf toss and caber turning (that's a small tree!).

Kids from 3 to 12 can run the kilted mile or jump the sack races, while women get to hurl the haggis. What is haggis? Maybe you'd rather not know; keep in mind it's being thrown as far as one's strength will allow!

It's men only in the search for the bonniest knees, and yes, there is a test of battle-axe skill.

Solo drummers and pipe bands fill the air with Scottish sounds, and Highland dancing helps to work up our appetite. We'll stop at the food booths for sausage rolls and meat pies, and search the vendor rows for our Scottish souvenirs.

We may buy a tulip goblet or some jewelry from Ted and Sue Sheldon. Dressed in 18th century attire, they share with us the art of pewtering.

Saturday evening's musical festivities fill downtown Gatlinburg with pipe band concerts and a gala ceilidh.

Sunday the parade of tartans features all the clans at the festival, banners raised and Celtic pride showing.

We never need an excuse to go to Gatlinburg to enjoy the mountain greenery. But this weekend's celebration is more than reason enough to make the drive. See you there.

Gatlinburg, Tennessee
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