A Day at the Highlands!
Updated: Oct 3, 2018
A few months ago I tried to enter into the Perth Kilt Run scheduled for Saturday, September 9th. It sounded like a great day and of course the fact that you get to run in a kilt seemed rather appealing to a Scotswoman that hasn't lived in Scotland for 36 years. Alas, it appears that it is a somewhat popular event so I missed out on entering my daughter and I. Still I kept the date in my diary and promised to go the Highland Gathering that was happening after that.
The day before my mum, LLM and I had gone to the blossom festival; funnily also located just near Armadale. We hadn't quite got to enjoy the day as it started pouring down after only being there an hour and a half. So the day of the Highland Gathering we tentatively drove to Armadale all prepared in long pants, and thick jumper's hoping that it wouldn't rain. I'll get back to our attire soon but needless to say, we did not need jumpers and long pants that day!
After we had made a stop at the Port-a-Loo (and let me tell you this, the port-a-loos at the Highland Festival far surpassed the Port-a Loo's at the Blossom Festival, so for me, my day was already ten times better), we headed forward to see what else the festival had to offer. Ten minutes in though one thing became apparent I needed a T-shirt, not the appropriately worn Scottish jumper I had adorned for the day. A quick whip into a local tent and not only had I purchased a lovely Scottish Polo Shirt but had secured myself a few lumps of Scottish Tablet (to note if you do go to the festival next year make sure you buy some of the Tablet it's incredible).
Now suitably dressed and ready to charge forth we set out looking for a map of the day's festivities. There was a long list of things to see and do: Pipe Band Competitions, a Medieval Fair, traditional Scottish food to try, Highland Dancing Competitions, Clans Village and Market Stalls, Live Scottish Music, Heavy Events and Meet and Greet Scottish Dogs. You would think with a list like that we wouldn't know where to start, but with a four-year-old saying "Mum I want my face painted, mum can I get my face painted," we knew where we needed to start for our day to go on.
We marched on seeking out any child we could with face paint on so that we could find what we needed to get our day started. Finally, across at the Clan Village, we found one solo face painter with a queue of 6 kids waiting not so patiently in line. There we stood though for twenty-five minutes in the sun, waiting while one woman painted her heart out. For all the great things I have to say about the festival one note I would say is that next year they may want to have more than one lady face painting. As much as I always try to stay positive, waiting twenty-five minutes in the direct sunlight with no cover certainly tests once patients and positive personality.
Half an hour later, LMM was delighted with her face, and we were able to forge ahead. While we were in the area, we decided to look around the Clan Village and Market Stalls. LMM got to try on a child's size armor plate, carry a sword and wear a soldier’s helmet. - My little warrior princess! She then got to try her hand at Archery and did a great job of it if I do say so myself. I decided to get a little traditional Woad face painting to feel the part - Since I couldn't dress in the traditional dress, I thought it only right to have something to make me feel as if I belonged at the Clan Village.
It was a fantastic feel around the Clan Village; Warriors dressed up in authentic attire and women walking around wearing traditional Scottish dress. There were some great fights by brave knights battling it out in the arena - showing a great display of skill and bravery. It's here that my four-year-old daughter declared "Mummy I want to stay longer and watch the fighting," and "Mummy when we get home can we please play fighting." I have to say that this came as quite a shock to me, my mild-mannered LMM had never seen fighting so that she should watch a fight and enjoy it was an astonishment to me, but I found myself saying" Ok Michaela, of course, we can."
After having a look around the clan fair and all the wares it had to offer, such as traditional sporrans and long swords, women's purses and a strangely placed outlander calendar (which I almost bought because well, it had Sam Heughan on it and he is Scottish after all.) We headed off to the food stalls. There was a vast selection for every palette, Haggis for the brave old soul who would tempt such a delicacy, potato scones and Scottish sausage, stuffed potatoes, curry, waffles and for the unadventurous four-year-old a sausage sizzle with tomato sauce - which is where we ended up of course.
There wasn't much seating, so we perched on a stone by the lake and finished our sausage and admired the view of the ducks on the pond. After reapplying the sunscreen - there isn't a lot of shade to offer around the festival, so a reapplying of sunscreen is a must; we headed off to watch the competitions.
The Heavy Events showcase the athletic skills of the tartan warriors as they compete in a traditional strongman competition. The events show outstanding displays of strength and determination as the competitors compete in the following activities: Weight for distance, Cumberland Wrestling, Putting the Stone, Stones of Strength for women only, Caber toss to name just a few. There is a prize for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place plus a chance to have your name engraved on the City's events trophies.
While we missed the Highland dancing competitions, we did get to take in the Pipe Band Competition, the live highland music, and the meet and greet of the Scottish Dogs. The meet and greet of the Scottie Dogs made my mum, LMM and I all declare that we would buy a wee Scottie Dog and enter it into the Highland Festival next year. We were already planning on getting a dog, but the festival made us all patriotic in wanting to get one that ground us to our heritage; also they are so cute it's not even funny.
All in all the day at the Highland Festival was a great day out. I usually will ask LMM how did you enjoy your day. For the first time, however, LMM said to me as we walked back to the car "Mum I had a perfect day today, it was fun." That one sentence said it all for me. It was a great day out, and my daughter confirmed it by saying she had a great day before I even had to ask her.
I would put this event on your calendar for next year. It has something for the whole family to enjoy as well as a little highland pub for the daddies to wet their lips if the day takes its toll on them. xx