Legendary Highland Games Return to Grandfather Mountain’s MacRae Meadows

Clan members take part in the Parade of Tartans during the 2021 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. The 2022 Parade of Tartans will begin at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday July 10 with over 100 clans and societies participating. (Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation/Skip Sickler)

The long and storied tradition of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games returns to MacRae Meadows from Thursday 7th July and lasts until Sunday 10th July.

This year’s iteration of the beloved and historic celebration of Scottish ancestry and heritage marks the 66eanniversary of the popular festival which brings a ‘little bit of Scotland’ to the High Country.

Throughout the weekend of events, guests can watch the awe-inspiring spectacle of traditional Scottish sporting competition, which includes a 5-mile foot race up Grandfather Mountain, Scottish heavyweight athletics, athletics, Highland Wrestling, the Grandfather Mountain Marathon and On.

Plus, guests can enjoy signature Scottish cuisine, cultural enrichments, traditional and contemporary Scottish music, dance competitions, the tartan parade and the fan-favorite sheepdog herding demonstration. The Highland Games offer a unique experience for the whole family that guests will enjoy whether or not they have direct Scottish ancestry.

Grandfather Mountain provides a distinct backdrop to these games that isn’t all that different from the original Braemar Gathering that inspired the founders of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games years ago.

Managed and organized by Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Inc., the Highland Games begin on Thursday afternoon, July 7, with border collie herding demonstrations, Celtic entertainment and “The Bear” race, a 5-mile running race on Grandfather Mountain kicking off the weekend of events.

Shortly after, the games officially begin with the torchlight ceremony on Thursday evening, where representatives of more than 100 clans – many of whom travel from across the country and around the world to attend the games each year – announce the participation of their families. at the gathering. Truly a sight to behold, the ‘Rise of the Clans’ proclaims that they have come together once again to celebrate their legacy.

Friday offers a full day of activities with highland dancing competitions, musical entertainment, a caber throwing clinic for children, heavy sports and the evening Celtic rock concert.

Saturday begins with another extreme test of endurance as the Grandfather Mountain Marathon winds its way from Appalachian State University in Boone to the games site in Linville. Additionally, Scottish heavyweight athletics takes place throughout the day and includes feats of strength such as caber throw, sheaf throw, hammer throw and more.

During the weekend, cultural experiences can be found in the Scottish Cultural Village tent and musical acts occur, with a culminating Celtic Jam concert on Saturday evening. This year’s musical talent includes Jiggernaut, Glen Echo, Ed Miller, the McLeod Brothers, Chambless and Muse and many more, in addition to numerous pipe and drum groups.

Events are repeated on Sunday for fans and athletes aged 40 and over, in addition to the Tartan Parade, Kilt Race events, Clan Caber Toss and Clan Tug of War. The weekend of festivities ends on Sunday afternoon with the closing ceremonies.

For more information on admission to the 2022 Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, including parking and shuttle information, call 828-733-1333 or visit www.gmhg.org. For more accommodation and travel information, contact the High Country Host Visitor Center at 800-438-7500 or visit www.highcountryhost.com.

The non-profit Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation strives to inspire conservation of the natural world by helping guests explore, understand and appreciate the wonders of Grandfather Mountain. For more information, visit www.grandfather.com.

Courtesy of the Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation.

A fan favorite of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, sheepdog herding demonstrations take place throughout the four-day event. (Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation/Skip Sickler)
A Grandfather Mountain Marathon competitor completes the final leg of the race at MacRae Meadows during last year’s Highland Games. The Marathon winds its way 26.2 miles from Boone to Linville, NC (Photo courtesy of Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation/Skip Sickler)


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Jennifer R. Strohm