Notes on the Scottish Highland Games

Notes on the Scottish Highland Games

I found a rain-soaked spot on the bleachers at the Drumtochty Highland Games.  Through a veil of mist, I saw rolling green hills speckled with sheep; bagpipers in Glengarry bonnets and ponchos, tapping their feet to the low-pitched whine of “Scotland the Brave”; fists shaking and feet stomping as angry washerwomen performed an Irish Jig; rows of clean-shaven adolescents twirling drumsticks; the laces of leather dance shoes criss-crossing over argyle socks;  pudgy, bearded men leaning over portions of steaming haggis; a rainbow of kilts swishing back and forth during leaps and pas de basques to expose black briefs and toned thighs; girls practicing the Lilt in aboynes: velvet bodices, tartan skirts, petticoats and lace blouses;  legs bound together with rags in preparation for a three-legged race; and seven-year-olds hopping and turning over the blades of two crossed swords.