The 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games gathers the clans and the public together for a weekend of fun at Brengle Terrace Park in Vista.
This morning I headed to the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans. The big Southern California event is held every year in Vista, in San Diego’s North County, at Brengle Terrace Park.
This was my first visit to any sort of Scottish Highland Games, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
What an absolutely amazing experience!
How can I adequately explain what I saw? When I arrived I quickly reviewed the thick program, put it in my jeans pocket and just wandered about. The many sights and sounds were almost more than my brain could absorb. There was laughter, smiles and good times in every direction. There were exciting athletic games, traditional Scottish music and, of course, tasty food. And lots of history and culture, too!
I’ll let my many photos do the talking. Read the captions to learn more. If you can, head to Brengle Terrace Park tomorrow, because the weekend event continues through Sunday!
The event attracts people from around Southern California. Visitors are immersed in Scotland’s unique and colorful culture.
Dozens of Scottish clans participate in the yearly gathering. Their proud history is on display in many tents on the grass.
These friendly Celtic beauty queens smiled for a photo at the information tent.
Gentlemen in kilts enjoy their Scottish heritage and each other’s company.
The Scottish Clan and Tartan Information Center had different tartans on display, many with ancient origins.
The Royal Scottish Country Dance Society was present. I forgot to go watch the dancing in the park’s Recreation Center. I’ll remember next time!
Sweeney’s was selling some Irish Soda Bread and Scones, freshly baked!
These friendly ladies are the Sassenachs of San Diego. They are big Outlander fans and have a cool blog! Check it out at sass3journey.com
Musicians performing on the Main Stage include The Ploughboys.
Strong athletes compete on the Brengle Terrace Park’s baseball field. The Scottish Heavy Athletics include Weight Toss, Weight Throw, Hammer Throw, Braemar Stone and Caber Toss.
Heaving a heavy stone as far as he can!
The athletes talk and rest before each takes their turn.
Another stone flies! The ancient sport–Braemer Stone Put–was used for challenges of strength by early Highland Chieftains.
World Champion and multiple record holder Vern Alexander lets fly! Many champions are participating in the 2018 San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
A seal at the Scottish American Athletic Association table. Strive for Perfection. Settle for Excellence.
This guy was retrieving a hammer that he’d thrown far across the baseball field.
Here comes another attempt at a record!
Some of the hammer throws nearly went over the outfield fence!
Not far away, someone checks out the tent of Clan MacLellan.
The Scottish American Military Society was present for the annual gathering.
I saw many maps of historical Scotland, some showing heraldic coats of arms.
Many beautiful crafts bore images of Scotland and the Scottish people.
Real men wear kilts! Instructions show how you can make your own Scottish style Great Kilt.
A Scottish drum major practices on the field, with flags flying in the background.
The 42nd Black Watch Color Guard is the official guard for the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Gentleman at the Scottish Plant Badge Society tents answers the question of a curious visitor.
Different native plants are used by the Scottish clans as badges, or emblems.
Some rousing entertainment draws an audience to the stage inside the beer garden.
Lots of Scottish food could be enjoyed, including authentic meat pies.
Two gents stride across the grass to another area of the park, where pipe bands, drummers and bagpipers compete.
Different age groups compete in solo piping, drumming, and drum major for trophies.
Someone stands in the distance practicing. The distinctive sound of bagpipes could be heard all around the park!
The House of Scotland Pipe Band from Balboa Park joined many other groups from around Southern California for the annual competition. (I love it when they perform at the Spreckels Organ Pavilion.)
Good times everywhere I turn!
A small group practices on the green.
This larger group has just finished their practice up on the hillside.
Elsewhere in Brengle Terrace Park, people were watching Sheep Dog Trials!
A shepherd uses a whistle to command a sheep dog to herd four sheep.
People sit on the grass and watch the fascinating herding competition. Some dogs were really good; others seemed a bit confused.
Four sheep are successfully directed into a pen!
Back at the athletics competition, I saw men attempting to toss a 42 pound weight over a pole vault bar, and women doing the Sheaf Toss over a bar with a pitchfork.
A female contestant readies to toss the sheaf with a pitchfork.
Another lets fly!
This tough looking guy is going to try to fling that heavy weight over a bar high above him.
I don’t recall if this guy made it!
As women compete in the Braemer Stone Put, the Caber Toss competition is beginning!
Those big wood poles are called cabers. They’re tossed with the objective of flipping them end-over-end, landing as straight as possible.
That looks super heavy. One guy went backwards when he lost his balance.
A caber goes flying. I saw one successful flip, but I don’t recall which photo shows it.
Guys retrieve the heavy caber after an attempt on the baseball field.
There goes another caber!
A young generation of Scots keeps history alive at the San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
Good memories, conversation and fellowship.
Drummer for the Wicked Tinkers gets the crowd enthused as he works his way through the beer garden.
A wonderful time is had at the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games.
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