Wednesday, August 19, 2009

holiday part two: more of the highland games

In this post I will try to squeeze in a condensed version of everything that happened outside the tent of crazy competitions at the Highland Games in Aberfeldy.
There were some roadworks that meant we missed our connecting bus to Aberfeldy and had to drink beer outside a country pub while we waited for the next bus. Nightmare! The downside was that we arrived a bit late and had missed the vintage tractor procession but the tractors were still there to be looked at. I liked this winning Ford. I'm not sure whether the man in the picture was impressed or not?
This winning Super Major was also very nice. I think it was pretty much the same tractors as last year. I remember taking a photo of this one then.
Sticking with the vehicle theme, this ice cream van made me laugh but the Oor Willie 'tagline' has always reduced me to giggles. Oor Willie, Your Willie, A'body's Willie.... Even the word willie on its own was enough for me when I was little but my sister and I always pronounced the a'body's (meaning everybody's, for those of you not from Scotland!) as a body's. A body's willie! Ha! Yeah, I think you probably get the point...

The actual games of the Highland games were great as usual, although they put the tug of war in a stupid place where you couldn't really get close enough to see the grimaces and vomiting, which, if you didn't already know, is what spectators want from the tug of war!
I don't remember seeing wrestling at the games before but it was a good addition and very entertaining to watch, although (or because!) there were quite a few injuries to the groin region...
Here's one of the competitors carrying the super heavy Menzies stone. A few of them managed to carry it a really long way this year, which wasn't much fun for the poor barrow pusher.
This stone is REALLY heavy so the barrow pusher (who is a man of average strength and not a super strong Highland man like the competitors) has to work quite hard to push it back to the start line over and over again. Plus the barrow squeaks, much to the amusement of the crowds. I think this man had had just about enough. There were lots of muttered swear words slipping in between his puffs.

I love watching the caber tossing because it's just so bizarre and old worldy. Not many of them managed to flip it right over but that just made it all the more fun when they did. There was a lot of ooh-ing and aah-ing from the crowd.
The terrier racing was much better than usual this year. Usually they attach a bit of cloth to an altered fishing rod. The dogs are meant to chase it back and forth but they always catch it within a second or two. This year they hired in the pros (who knew there were pro terrier racers?!) with a state of the art 'cloth dragger' so the dogs were chasing it back and forth for ages, doing jumps and all sorts. All the dogs from the audience were invited to join in and it was really funny to see how all the different dogs reacted. Sadly, there was no visit from the Drakes of Hazard this year (boo hoo) and the planned skydivers couldn't dive because of the heavy cloud cover. As usual though, it was a brilliant day! If you've never been to Highland Games I wholeheartedly recommend it!

If you liked this, you might want to read my post on last year's games which is here. You can see the Drakes of Hazard there too :) Plus my brain must have been less addled then because it's much better written that this year's account!

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