Robert's family goes to the Highland Games every year, and even though I've been dating/married to Robert for four years, I have always managed to miss the event... until this year.
The Highland Games are a celebration of Scottish heritage that take place in the Appalachian mountains every summer. For my husband's sister and mother, however, much of the joy of the Highland Games is found at MacVillage, a close-knit group of Scottish descendants who camp out for a week right outside of the games. In MacVillage, inhabitants live it up rain or shine (and it was plenty rainy this year), play a lot of music, host home-brew contests (Robert won third place!) and scotch tastings, share meals potluck style (and homebrew too actually) and even welcome newbies as one of their own on the traditional fairy walk.
MacVillage is just a section of the campground outside of the Highland Games, and it's its own little camper community. There was a crazy amount of rain this past week (it's been raining 21 days nonstop in North Carolina and a lot of that raining is pouring), but MacVillage didn't let that stop them. They just created a nice tarp system, dug some gutters around the site to keep water flowing away and hung up wet clothes to dry. Also: Mike (that guy in a kilt) is Robert's best friend (pretty much family) and this was his first time camping at MacVillage, and he took to it like a fish to water (good thing too because he basically spent the week in a mud puddle/pond).
Robert and I stayed in a cabin this year, but we're talking about staying in the campground next year. What do you think? Am I tough enough for a week of mud and rain? Can I handle being surrounded by people 24/7? Maybe? Maybe. I will say, I liked being a visitor to the campsite, which was full of pretty things to look at including Scottish flags and gypsy caravans and gorgeous hammocks. I was also so honored to be treated like I was one of their own and get unexpectedly turned into a fairy.
That's right. They threw a lot of glitter on me, stuck a "diamond" on my face and a crown on my head, gave me a pouch full of glitter, and I was one of the fairies on the campground's annual fairy walk. I did not see this turn of events coming, but I went with it. What do you do when someone asks you if you want to be a fairy? Do you say no? No, you roll with it and you welcome the glitter.
Look at all the fairies! After we were all covered in glitter and given crowns and glitter-filled pouches, we walked around the campground sprinkling glitter on everyone offering blessings from the mountain.
Blessings be upon you! Since this is tradition, most people welcomed it with the exception of a few state troopers and teenage boys. The kids ate it up! And I might have doused Robert with glitter more times than technically necessary. Nothing wrong with blessing your husband!
You see the mountain in that picture? That's Grandfather! So, so pretty. While being a fairy and tasting scotch and walking around a campsite took up most of our Highland Games time, we did make it to the actual games.
That's the field where the games took place. (The athletes did things like throw trees.) And those are the huge clouds that loomed all pretty like in the sky.
There I am in all my fairy finery including a skirt borrowed from Robert's sister because I was not anticipating becoming a fairy and was just wearing some boring jean shorts. The stew and cornish pastie pictured above are long gone (and were delicious), but all that glitter? That glitter is still adhered to my skin/ hidden in my hair, and I think it will be for days to come! Oh well, there's nothing wrong with carrying a little fairy magic around with me, is there?