June 16, 2013

Gathering & Highland Games

Each year Clan Carmichael USA is present at numerous Scottish Festival and Highland Games events, as a Clan representative, as a sponsor, and as a participant. Scroll down below to see a list of Scottish Festival and Games events around the US, where you can find a Clan Carmichael tent and a warm welcome (the picture above is from the 2006 Texas Scottish Festival and Highland Games).In addition to clan tents, these family oriented festivals typically feature Scottish music, dancing, food, dogs, vendors, and Highland Games.

What are Scottish or Highland Games?

caber3hammer2The origins of the very diverse Scottish Heavy Athletic events have been lost in the shadows of time but almost certainly date back to the very early Celtic peoples.Whenever tribes or clans gathered to barter or sell their goods or at festival times, informal contests of strength, agility and endurance between the men were also held.Being farmers as well as warriors, these athletic contests were based on similar activities utilizing the items at hand. bagpipesClan chiefs would use these contests to select the best men for his men at arms and couriers.In ancient times, standing armies in the Celtic Nations were very rare, causing the defense of the country to fall upon warriors supplied by clans or tribes. To this end, King Malcolm III Canmore held the first organized highland games at Braemar in 1057. During the 1800’s, Sir Walter Scott’s novels sparked a revival of interest in things Scottish. New Highland Games were organized, with their emphasis shifted towards a purely sporting activity.In order to compete in these traditional events, every athlete is required to wear a kilt except for the novice first-time competitors. The following are some of the modern day competition events that you might see at any of the many Scottish Highland Games around the United States. These competitions require great strength, agility and endurance of the athletes competing for honors and prizes.

    Highland Games Include:

  • Caber toss – Flipping a 15 to 20 foot tree trunk weighing about 100 lbs. end over end.(Top Left)
  • Sheaf toss – Tossing a 15 or 20 lb. bale of straw for height over a crossbar with a pitchfork.
  • Stone put – Shot-putting a smooth 17 lb. stone for distance.
  • Weight Throw – Slinging a 28, 42, or 56 lb. weight with a chain handle for distance or height.
  • Hammer throw – Whirling a 16 or 22 lb. weight with a flexible wooden or PVC handle, and releasing it backwards for distance.(Top Right)


2015 Scottish Festivals/Games Calendar

(subject to change – please check before attending. If you know of any Festival/Games that is not listed, please contact the webmaster)

12-14 Feb

Valley Forge Scottish/Irish Fest, Valley Forge, PA (George Ross Carmichael)

4-6 Mar

North Texas Irish Festival, Fair Park, Dallas, TX (No Carmichael tent but Carmichael’s will be attending. Email Brandon if you would like to meet up.)

9 Apr

National Tartan Day Celebration, College Park Mall, Bloomington, IL (Don & Mary Carmichael)

16-17 Apr

Las Vegas Celtic Gathering and Highland Games, Floyd Lamb Park At Tule Springs, Las Vegas, NV

13-15 May

Texas Scottish Festival and Games, Uta, Arlington, TX  (No Tent but Carmichael’s Attend)

3-5 Jun

Glasgow Highland Games, Barren River Lake State Report, Lucas, KY  (Art & Janice Hopkins)

4 Jun

Bonnie Brae Highland Games, Bonnie Brae Educational Facility, Liberty Corner, NJ (George Ross Carmichael)

9 Jun

Deep South Archibald Carmichael Reunion, Clark Co. State Park, MS (Rodney & Gwen Waltman)

10-11 Jun

Utah Scottish Festival and Highland Games, Thanksgiving Point, Lehi, UT (Steve Goeser)

27 Jun

Celtic Festival, Bristol Lions Park, Bristol, PA (George Ross Carmichael)

7-10 Jul

Grand Father Mountain Highland Games, Mcrae Meadows, Linville, NC (Clifford Lowery)

16 Jul

Celtic Heritage Festival, Graeme State Park, Horsham, PA (George Ross Carmichael)

20 Aug

Maine Highland Games, Topsham Fairgrounds, Topsham, ME (Carroll Richardson)

9-11 Sep

Celtic Fest, Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Museum, Jackson, MS (Billy Mac Carmichael & Rodney Waltman)

3-4 Sep

151th Scottish Highland Games, Pleasanton Fairgrounds, Pleasanton, CA (Roger & Jeannie Bickell)

10-11 Sep

Columbus Scottish Festival, County Fairgrounds, Columbus, IN (Don & Mary Carmichael)

17 Sep

Fresno Highland Gathering and Games, Kearney Park, Fresno, CA (Adele Harrah)

17 Sep

Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering, Boone Hall Plantation, Mt. Pleasant, SC (Ben DeRosia)

25-27 Sep

Celtic Classic Highland Games and Festival, Bethlehem, PA (George Ross Carmichael)

1 Oct

Scotland County Highland Games, Laurinburg, NC (Ben DeRosia)

8-9 Oct

SeaSide Games, Ventura County Fairgrounds, Ventura, CA (Adele Harrah)

15-16 Oct

Stone Mountain Highland Games, Stone Mountain Park, GA (Clifford Lowery)

Note: If any member is interested in hosting, or assisting with, a Clan Carmichael tent, please fill out this form and contact the President (president@carmichael.org).

A Clan Carmichael tent is planned at the above events. For a list of other Scottish Festivals and Highland Games, including web sites, click on the following link: