Margaree Highland Games, Cape Breton
What an entertaining experience!! I`ve been across the pond to Scotland and absolutely love the spirit and the history of the people that exists there. The culture, the folklore, and oh! The traditions. And when you speak of Scottish tradition, nothing is more reminiscent of the Scots than the sound of bagpipes, colourful tartans, and strong men and women - tossing those cabers!
All silliness aside though, these men are incredibly talented, and we were fortunate to witness the raw power in person this summer. When we arrived in East Margaree on a sunny, Sunday afternoon, we really didn't know what we would see. We had never experienced the games before and had no idea what to anticipate. We were hopeful despite the heat - it was a scorching summer's day. And, there was an enormous crowd (for this region!) of spectators eagerly watching and patiently awaiting for the excitement to begin!
We arrived just in time to catch a pipes and drums show. I absolutely love hearing the pipes; that haunting beginning as the first note is stirring in the chanter to the final note that is released! Ah! So amazing. It must be the Celtic blood that runs deep through my veins. Afterwards, we viewed the schedule and realized that we had missed the heavy sports - so disappointing! That meant no caber toss. Luckily, some changes had been made to the schedule that we were not aware of which meant that we got to see the hammer toss and caber toss after-all!!!
These games are not meant for the weak. The competitors have real strength that I cannot fathom. Watching them twirl the hammer and then releasing it - made us realize just how much skill and preparation it takes, it’s not just a few gym sessions and then action. We made sure we were well out of harm's way in the unlikely event that a hammer came soaring our way. We were in pure admiration of their talent. The caber toss was just as thrilling as I had anticipated. One thing I didn’t know - they have to flip the caber end to end and have it land perfectly at 12 o’clock for full points! That’s not an easy feat!!
It was a truly humbling experience to see traditional games in person. The Scottish dance, music, and strong games all take so much practice and hard work. It was great to see so many people enjoying the event as much as we did!
We can’t wait to see them again next August!!! Hope to see you there as well!