Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 2008: Debriefing Part 1

Well we had an awesome time at this years GMHG's and unanimously decided that it needs to become an annual family tradition. Of course next year at this point we should will be enjoying the real thing in Scotland itself, however when we are in the states its already penciled in on the schedule.

We took tons of pictures and have even more stories, so we've split it all up into two posts. In this one we will cover the Traveling, Camping, and Food, and the Games, Music, and Final Thoughts in part 2. And as always theres more photos than we could fit here over at Flickr.


The travel time was listed on Google as almost 9 hours which would have turned out to be pretty accurate...had we not spend almost an hour turning circles in the pouring rain about 20 minutes from our destination : )

The Mercedes performed superbly (as I hoped), the turbocharged Diesel thrusted us up any incline that the BlueRidge Parkway could throw at it, and we found ourselves cruising by numerous other vehicles struggling to make it to the top...all this while resting firmly at 3K RPM!

James had the privilege of getting the best view in the house (which also cost him his lunch through the mountains : ). He also got to share in the pain that is filling up a whole tank with $70 worth of Diesel.

Loaded up

Claire did reeeeealy well for being 3 weeks old, heck she slept most of the ride, but even she has her limits after 6+ hours!

Get me out of here!

It worked out really well that Leah was nice enough to let James and Eden sleep with her in the big bed when we stayed in the hotel on the way down.


The Diesel in the south was definitely cheaper, we got it for $4.64 at this one little place.

Cheaper Diesel down south

And of course we passed by Max Meadows...why does that sound so familiar?

Max Meadows


Its impossible to describe the atmosphere present in the camping areas at the games, so I wont even try. Suffice it to say, family friendly does not even come close to describing how great an environment it was.

We got there late (in the scheme of things) by arriving on Thursday as many people camp out the entire week before the games, so we were wondering what kind of spot we would get. Turns out God had hand-picked our spot for us beforehand :) We had room for both of our tents (stuff tent and living tent) and had a great tree for shade and hanging the flag. Plus we were near the parking lot where our car was for an easy exit if need be.

Tent City 2

We set up our smaller 4Man tent as the StuffTent where we kept all our unused junk, food storage, and wet clothes instead of keeping them in the tent we were sleeping in. Heres Laurens great job of organizing :)


I mentioned that the spot we wound up with was perfect because of placement and whatnot, however a large part of the reason it was so great was because of the family next door. As soon as we started unloading the stuff, they came over and asked if they could help set up the tent (which was great in the rain!). We then found out that they had 6 year old girl, and a 4 year old boy would be great playmates for Eden and James all weekend. We hung out together as families (not as much as we would have liked in retrospect), and our time with them remains one of the highlights of the trip!

The Baileys

Here are the kids just before saying goodbye.

Kids hanging out

The Food

I'm not really sure why I have a separate section on the food, as most of what we ate was typical camping food; burgers, hot dogs, and sundry canned food. Maybe I'm just hungry and like looking at the pictures again :)

We did however have one day of eating some Scottish/English food. Eden and James got the Fish and Chips (old standby), Lauren had a Bridie (basically meat in pastry), and of course I had to have some Haggis. The cool thing was that the vendor was called "Cameron Foods", and was run by members of the Cameron Clan...our clan! (sadly no discount)


We also enjoyed some other not-so-scottish food while listening to the Celtic Jam, namely Sweet Potato Fries (with brown sugar) and a Bloomin Onion (mmmm).

Sweet Potato Chips

Bloomin Onion

Monday, July 7, 2008

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 2008: Getting There

I wanted to write more here, but we are headed out the door as I type this. Here is our route for the trip down and back. We are staying far west NC in the mountains (close to TN) and are taking a small detour through the Blue Ridge Pky hoping for some great views!

View the whole map

Here are some pics of the Tank Wagon all loaded down for the Journey with about 10 tons of stuff on top, hopefully its still on there when we get back!




Saturday, July 5, 2008

Grandfather Mountain Highland Games 2008: What is it?

Well, we are now literally knee-deep in the planning and packing stage for our big family trip down to NC for the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (website) so I am running out of time to mention it here on the site. Touted as one of the largest and oldest Highland Games/Celtic Festivals in the states, we are really excited about this trip that we have been planning since this time last year. Plus, and festival represented by this guy has to be awesome! : )

GMHG Program Cover
More Program Covers

Highland Games, in case you aren't familiar with the term, are celebrations of Scottish heritage that include (as the focus) traditional Scottish Competitions, Scottish Food, Music, and activities. They are basically a place to celebrate all things Scottish. You can also take a look at my post from the 2006 Games in Richmond VA for an idea of what the actual games look like.

One of the coolest things about GMHG is the large list of kids events offered. They have everything from highland wrestling clinics (James the Destroyer) to bare-foot relay races. Part of our MO as a family is to do most things together, and I am really glad this wont be a weekend where the kids are basically drug around everywhere.


Here are some of the events planned:

- Sheep Herding
- Torchlight Opening Ceremony
- Sheep Herding
- Highland Dancing Championship
- Celtic Music Jam Concert tracing the evolution of Celtic Music from the ancient to the contemporary
- Children's Highland Wrestling Competition
- More Sheep Herding
- Massed Bands Bagpipe Performance
- Scottish Worship Service
- Children's Border Collie Demonstration
- Sheep Herding
- Scottish Fiddling Competition

Stay tuned for Part #2: "Getting There" where I'll post some details about the prep and the journey.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Fathers Day 2008

I know its late, but these pictures still deserve to be put up :) We had a great time at Mom-Moms with a picnic and then gifts.

Take a look at these shots of James rockin it out with the Frisbee. At first Mom didn't believe me when I told her that he was a killer at throwing and catching it...heres the proof!

Click on the photo to see the next one in the set!