July 2020 (Vol. 44, Number 01)
The Banner Says…
For the love of the Games
Friendship, music, community, family, dance, clans,
entertainment, knowledge, pipe bands, culture, tartan these are just some of the words that come into my mind when I think of Highland Games.
I have been attending Highland Games across the world for many decades, and to say they are a part of my life would be an understatement. I have memories of travelling across many roads or flights to get to Scottish celebrations somewhere and have made a living out of attending or being associated with Highland Games across the globe.
I have friends and neighbours who are often amazed to hear I am off to places they may have never heard of to celebrate Scotland, and this happens across the year, and something that is replicated around the world.
A proud tradition
It is said the first Highland Games to happen occurred when King Malcolm III summoned
local men to race in Braemar in 1040 to find the quickest royal messengers. Today of course you can find Highland Games all across the world and whilst we are fortunate to have email to get our messages out quickly, the Games today are a proud tradition enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of people a year.
Modern day Highland Games still can include sporting feats but also highlight pipe bands,
Scottish dance, music, Clans, genealogy and probably most importantly friendship.
Scotland must be quite unique in the amount of cultural celebrations taking place across
the world, celebrating the land of peoples heritage and forebearers.
These events are a great platform to not only celebrate all that is great about Scotland, but also a chance for competitions to take place and for many to connect with their ‘kith and kin’.
Honour and celebrate Highland Games
Sadly, due to Covid-19 large scale events cannot take place just now and this has been devastating to the Highland Games communities across the globe. For some going to a Highland Games each year was their only time to connect to their ancestry or was part of their family’s tradition. To not have Highland Games taking place certainly leaves a void for so many facets of the Scottish community.
Some Scottish events are showing incredible resilience by still running some type of program online or finding other ways to connect people as they plan a return in 2021.
So many people have worked countless hours, mainly voluntary, to work on their 2020 event, only to find it has had to be cancelled.
It is this work we want to highlight with this issue as we hear from a variety of Games from across the world and honour and celebrate what they do for our community.
The Highland Games will be back, and our love of them will continue.
In this issue
Regardless of Covid-19 life must carry on. The way many live or work has changed but we continue to function in a new way. This is of course true for those that look after Scotland’s historic and heritage properties. Inside and out these national treasures require dedicated staff to keep on maintaining these landmarks, so we can all go back to
them when it is safe to do so. Scotland is fortunate to have organisations such as the National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland managing properties
across the country and safekeeping Scotland’s history and heritage.
Speaking of historic properties, I was fortunate to visit Culzean Castle under a blue sunny May sky a few years ago. This allowed me to not only enjoy inside the incredible hilltop castle, but also get around the amazing grounds that surrounds this stunning castle by the edge of the sea. It is certainly one of the treasures of Ayrshire, has featured on the back of a Royal Bank of Scotland five-pound note and is home to Clan Kennedy. The castle has
historical importance on both sides of the Atlantic and has been home to clan chiefs and US Presidents.
As Scottish summer is now coming into full swing the cobblestones and closes of the Royal Mile should be filled with tourists and locals enjoying the long Scottish days and preparing for the world to descend for the Edinburgh Festival season. This however is 2020 and nothing is as we knew it before with large events such as the Edinburgh Festival,
Tattoo and Fringe all cancelled. However, we will visit again, and we take you to some great places in Edinburgh’s actual fringe which you can add to your bucket list the next
time you land in the Scottish capital.
This month we also speak to Donald MacLaren of MacLaren. The MacLaren has been a Clan Chief for over 50 years and has an incredible knowledge of not just his clan but also Scotland’s clans and history. The MacLaren is the Convener of the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs and outlines how not all Scottish families are clans, a notion some readers may not be familiar with.
Celebrating 44 years
This month is also our birthday! 44 years ago, the very first edition of the Scottish Banner rolled off the press. At that time there was nothing like it in the market, and this was long before the internet and social media was used for information. The fact a publication started by my parents all those years ago is still going in 2020, is quite an achievement.
Today’s media landscape you could not have even imagined back in the 1970s and readers across several countries was never considered then. So, thank you Val and Jim Cairney for having a vision and making the Scottish Banner a reality, one that went beyond what was expected and one I hope honours both of you with each page we print today.
Do you love the Highland Games? Do you have you any comments from the content in this month’s edition? Share your story with us by email, post, social media or at: www.scottishbanner.com/contact-us
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We appreciate your support and hope you enjoy this edition.