Sunday, September 13, 2009

FINE Scottish Weather

We spent the day up in Estes Park at the Highland Festival -- and it was cold and rainy and gray the whole day. We were bundled up in good rain jackets and it didn't slow us down at all . Well, a little bit, sitting in the bleachers during the piping competition did get a little chilly and damp, but otherwise, it was a lot of fun.

We watched the Highland Games competition -- who on earth decided that flipping telephone poles end-over-end (caber tossing) was a good idea? Or throwing a 56 pound weight straight up over your head and over a bar 16' up in the air? Throwing rocks, hurling a hammer (a weight on the end of a pole) and flinging weights on's a show of pure strength in mots cases. The guy who won most of the competitions looks like an Iowa farmboy (well, a bit older now, and he's actually from Missouri, but you know the type). It was a ton of fun and everyone really got into cheering, even in the rain.

We learned the differences between Irish step dancing and Scottish step dancing (not the least of which is that the Irish step dancers have super-extra-curly-bouncy-hair), and sat out in the rain to hear the Piping Band competition - and even spent some time watching the herding dog demonstration. It was a ton of fun.

Lots of people in tartan, men in kilts and women in skirts, bagpipers everywhere, "traditional food", pints of Guinness. It was interesting to watch the men who were wearing the full kit (kilt, sporran, gillies, sporran, etc) : about half of them looked and acted like they were wearing a costume, and the other half were simply wearing clothes. Obviously some are more comfortable in the kilt than others. I think more men should wear them!

I found out that there is a local Gaelic-speaking group that meets in Boulder every week, so I may have to sign on and learn a bit of Scots Gaelic (as opposed to Gailge, or Irish Gaelic). Could be fun - and the group of people at the booth seemed really nice.

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