A Big Weekend in Perth, Scotland

The Kilt Run kicked off a weekend of fun in Perth. This is kind of an 'Anything Goes' event.

The Kilt Run kicked off a weekend of fun in Perth. This is kind of an anything goes event.

The Kilt Run

No Perth event would be complete without the local pipe and drum corps to kick things off.

No Perth event would be complete without the local pipe and drum corps to kick things off.

Saturday was the 5k Kilt Run. This annual event has two requirements: 1) you must pay an entry fee, and 2) all runners must wear a kilt. There were close to 3,000 participants in this year’s event – men, women, old and young, wheelchair bound, athletic and not. Many local businesses fielded teams, and it was all for the great cause of raising money for charitable works.

The UK Tug o’ War Championships were also taking place at the park. I noticed not all the participants were big, burly men as I would have expected. I asked the coach of the English team whether there were weight limits. Since his lads had just defeated the Scottish team, he was delighted to talk about the rules with me.

Weight classes for the eight member teams collectively range from 480 kilos (1,056 lbs.) for junior women up to 760 kilos (1,762 lbs.) for men plus an unlimited class. The first team that pulls the mid-point four meters in their direction wins. Few bouts last longer than a minute or so.

The Highland Games

Individual piping competition is one small part of the Highland Games.

Individual piping competition is one small part of the Highland Games.

Sunday brought the long-awaited Perth Highland Games. There were all kinds of competitions: pipe and drum bands, Scottish folk dancing, individual piping, drum majors, caber tossing, hammer throwing and bicycle and foot races. We counted twenty-four pipe bands. There were so many that the competition began at 10:00 a.m. in order to have time for everyone to compete.

The girls warm up for their turn next on stage before the judges.

The girls warm up for their turn next on stage.

The atmosphere was just like a county fair. There were rides for the kids, vendor booths, and lots of junk food (which we did not eat…except for some candy). There were good crowds although we never had difficulty seeing what we wanted to see. There are about 30 of these games throughout the summer in cities and towns all over Scotland. People come from miles around to hear the pipes and enjoy a day at the park.

We both love the pipe bands and the folk dancing. The other competitions are interesting, too. However, the folk traditions with the kilts and tartans and the music are hard to top. We both get goose bumps when we hear a bagpipe band play together. And we are relieved to be outdoors because the volume can get quite loud.

The occasional boy joins in the competition.  This handsome lad had no difficulty holding his own.

The occasional boy joins in the competition. This handsome lad had no difficulty holding his own.

I can imagine wartime when an army would wait near a battlefield. Then they would hear the inevitable bagpipes blaring in the distance as the Highlanders approached, the blare of the pipes shattering the stillness of the morning. The Scots’ reputation as fierce fighters preceded them, so there must have been times when the enemies of the Scots felt the chill of doubt creep into their consciousness. Those echoes from the past arise in us today as the pipers play.

Highland Games are at least as popular in the U.S. and Canada as they are in Scotland. If you have never been I suggest you check one out. It is fun for all children of every age.

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8 comments on “A Big Weekend in Perth, Scotland

  1. My son Aaron lives for the local Highland games each year… this would turn his legs to jelly! Looks like a blast! But still no picture of Mike in a kilt? Come on Florence!!

  2. nantubre says:

    What do they wear under those kilts?

    • Mike Lince says:

      There are some myths and some rumors about what men wear under their kilts, if anything. However, it is counter to proper decorum to inquire. Perhaps some mysteries are best left unsolved.

  3. stagorhen1 says:

    Love the Kilt Run.. This sounds like a great place to spend a Stag Party!

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