It’s the sort of thing anyone would want to see: strong men in kilts throwing around large objects. I’d also watch strong women in kilts throwing around large objects and be equally cheered, but there were no female competitors while I was there. Perhaps next year? Still, for a day of spirited competition and cultural immersion, the Montréal Highland Games proved themselves hugely entertaining. While mostly Scottish, close cousins the Irish were there too.
I arrived in time to watch the stone putting and the 56 and 28 pound weight throws. The competitors each took their turn throwing a large rock, while an announcer gave a chiding play by play. They came back to throw a heavy ball at the end of a chain. Later in the day, they did the hammer toss, the sheaf toss, and the caber (log) toss.
Just when I thought things couldn’t get bigger, the bagpipers announced themselves for the massed bands. With a giant cacophonous honk, they marched onto the field and played en masse.
This was followed by a canon being shot.
Competitions resumed, including a tug of war.
Small groups of dancers of different levels competed in the flings.
Stands throughout were available with information about different family clans, the St. Andrew’s Society, a Medieval herbalist, shopping for t-shirts and other imported goods, and even an area for children to play. Food to purchaseincluded lots of ice cream, but also some Scottish offerings like haggis and bridies (I took a pass on both). There was a tent with the celtic band Mudmen playing and some solid dancing at the ceilidh.
Everywhere, though, were bagpipes and more bagpipes.
At least two Irish wolfhounds and a scottie dog were around, because what would the British isles be without their canines?
The Montreal Highland games proved to be one fabulous event with a little bit of everything. With something happening somewhere at all times, this is a not miss summer event. Keep an eye here for upcoming events.
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