News: A taste of the Highlands in the Lowcountry
Story by Sgt. Alexandra Shea
SAVANNAH, Ga.- “Slainte mhor agad!”
This Gaelic phrase meaning “great health to you” or better known as "cheers" in American English was heard across the fields of the Bethesda Academy as it hosted the 38th Savannah Scottish Games May 10.
The games, also referred to as the Scottish Olympics, was host to many events including heavy athletics, Highland dancing, collie herding, tradition style music, pipe band competitions and of course traditional Scottish food. Patrons also had the chance to trace their genealogy with clan historians.
"The clans are the backbone of the Scottish Games and they provide information to those seeking their own heritage," said Neill McDonald, the president of the Savannah Scottish Games.
Highland Games may share a lot of common sporting events, food, and heritage, but the games remain distinctly unique as generations pass down traditions and culture to future generations. What you will find at a Scottish Games in America is the same you will find in Scotland itself.
The heavy athletics competition consists of five events; sheaf throwing, throwing of the weights, clachneart, hammer throw, and the iconic caber toss.
The events are each very unique. Sheaf throwing is much like throwing a 20-pound bag of hay over a bar using a pitchfork and clachneart is very similar to shot put. The most visual event is the caber toss, where a competitor flips a twenty-foot wooden pole that weighs in between one hundred and one hundred and seventy five pounds.
Another iconic event is the Highland dancing competition. Novice competitor Albert Murphy has been dancing for three years.
"My mom got me involved in dancing when I was eleven,” Murphy said. “It takes a lot of stamina and I enjoy it."
Out of all the events, the one that truly brings everyone together whether Scottish or not is the food. Meat pies, bridies, sausage rolls and haggis were just a few items available at this years games.