Every year, the second full weekend in July sees the arrival near Linville, NC of the largest collection of Scoto-philes in Eastern America . . . As North Carolina’s largest Tartan Jamboree, this Track & Field, Bagpipes and Highland Dance extravaganza must arguably be America’s ultimate spree in ethnic indulgence.
This quote comes from page 1 of a recently-published book, America’s Braemar: Grandfather Mountain and the Re-birth of Scottish Identity Across America, by Donald MacDonald (2007). MacDonald, first President and co-founder of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (with Hugh Morton’s mother, Agnes MacRae Morton), has written what surely must be a definitive history—at 487 single-spaced pages, I can’t imagine anyone having more to say! (I only wish it had an index.) The book, which is heavily illustrated with Morton photos, can be ordered online.
With the 53rd annual Games coming up this weekend, I’m hoping readers can help identify some of these Morton images. Perhaps, even if you don’t recognize the people involved (or they’re too small to see), you can tell us about the events depicted? What are your Highland Games memories? (I’ve only attended once, as a child, and pretty much all I remember is that it rained really, really hard). I do know that the two images below were taken at the very first Games, in 1956.
The man shaking the runner’s hand below I know to be N. J. (Nestor Joseph) MacDonald, President of the Games from 1962 to 1977—Morton photographed him often. Any ideas on the runners?
And lastly, I assume this man is singing? Or bellowing? Or doing some kind of highland yodel?