Monday, October 30, 2006

Large Men Throwing Stuff


The Richmond Highland Games and Celtic Festival. Basically, heaven-on-earth for the single woman. And this single gal was definitely in heaven yesterday, attending that fantastic event. What I want to know is, where have I been? It's been hosted here for the last twelve years! I suppose in the past when I've seen advertisements for it, I've thought, "well, I'm not Scottish, so I wouldn't enjoy it". Boy, was I wrong! ("Boy" being the operative word, hee hee!)

Whoever thinks that large men in skirts aren't throw-me-down sexy has never walked around large groups of them. And any man who would feel girly or silly or self-conscious wearing a kilt needs to get over that real quick, because, I'm telling you, a man in a kilt is an out-and-out babe-magnet. Just sayin'. There was a thick, but invisible cloud of testosterone floating around the entire festival, and it was quite heady. See for yourself:

The wind was a-whippin', an added bonus to those of us enjoying the bevy of bare-legged boys in skirts. Of course, I imagine most of the guys were prepared for the weather and were not wearing their kilts regimental. Our loss.

This fellow in the middle leaves nothing to the imagination, unfortunately:

Biker shorts. Sigh. He killed the fantasy.

And, if you can't buy a kilt for whatever reason, then make one. Out of duct tape:

It's okay to bring your dogs to the event. Many, many people did, because at some point there's a "blessing of the animals", but we missed that. Some pooches even sported their clan's tartan:

I'll bet he's wearing it regimental!
But, back to the reason I came to the event. That's right -- large men throwing stuff.

First, the caber toss. It takes six men to carry that tree:

shades of Iwo Jima

But only one can toss it:

oh, almost made it!


there ya go, fella!

Next is the sheaf toss -- basically, throwing a heavy burlap bag with a pitchfork over a bar:

And then there's the:

Contrary to popular belief, that is not a contest between nagging wives, but rather is an actual axe-throwing competition. Anyone could sign up to try:

That woman on the end tried to throw an axe with a purse on her shoulder.
She was not successful, as you might have guessed.


If one was not interested in the more athletic events, once could still participate in the elbow-bending competition:

And even at a Celtic festival, one can find fibery goodness:

I've always wanted one of these rings, but the vendor didn't have one in my size.

Maybe next year I'll get one. And maybe next year, I'll go both Saturday and Sunday! All kilts, all the time!

I have made light with all the eye-candy-in-skirts references, but this really is a wonderful event, and there's so much more that I didn't capture here. Each represented clan had its own tent which flew their own tartan's colors. There was a tent where a helpful person would look up various family surnames for you to find your particular tartan. Hundreds of attendees of all ages wore tartans in a fascinating variety of colors. On Saturday night, my friends attended a formal dinner for the Henderson clan, and met the international chief of that clan, in town all the way from Australia. Everyone was incredibly friendly, the food was yummy, (typical bad-for-you festival food - yes, I had funnel cake), and the music, ohhhhh, the music.

I don't know what it is, but something about standing in such close proximity to core-vibrating bagpipe music moves me in such a way that I am helplessly reduced to tears. Thank God I was wearing sunglasses. Here's a little sampling of it:



We ended our lovely day by watching another wonderful group of musicians called "Poisoned Dwarf", perform in the Dewar's tent:

Poisoned Dwarf

I am an instant convert to this incredible event, so you better know I'll be there next year.

Wearing plaid!

(Feedblitz subscribers go here to see embedded videos that don't email well.)


Robin said...

What clan do ye want to join lassie?

I've always enjoyed these heart IS in Scotland! Being that I am a McCray (Macrae) and I married a Ferguson...weell, that prrretty mooch expleens it!
Next year you need to come here and go to Radford Highland Festival with us!
The videos are great!

Suzanne said...

Have you never been? I've participated in more than one 22 oz curl contest there--and no, I was NOT driving! Mr. Funny and I used to go all the time for supplies (chocolate and tea) until the internets got big. Now its all the time!

I am so glad you enjoyed it. Big men in big skirts is.....very, very nice. We need more of this in public life--once a year is not enough!!!!

Liz said...

Your post was the next best thing to being there. Jason and I went once, probably about 8 or 9 years ago. It was a blast.

As for the Claddagh, I had one and the hubby lost it when we were dating. I'm still waiting for him to replace it. :)

LaurieM said...

My kids enjoyed watching the videos and looking at the pictures over my shoulder. They were impressed with the caber toss! Way to educate them that men in skirts are tough! :-)

Sangeeta said...

gosh...I didn't know what I was missing...too bad it's always the same weekend as the Festival of India...

Indians v. Scots....


Bess said...

Oooo. or Ach! What fun! I was sorry to miss it but I needed HomeTime. Next year, though ... yes. next year. Followed by Oktoberfest too and India festival. What a weekend.

Krista said...

Oh, how I miss the bagpipes! When I was a competitive Socttish dancer, I couldn't get it out of my head! You'd hear them in your sleep. I had a friend who's husband was a piper and she had to walk around attached at the hip or every woman around would try to lift up his kilt! I need to try and go next year. I've only been once to the Richmond festival once about 7 years ago! Thanks for the photos Mary!

Calling Kahlo said...

I love Highland Games which I went to in Scotland and is such a great time to watch men in kilts toss cabers, hammers and all sorts. Of course, a lot of the men I witnessed wore heavy metal t-shirts with their kilts and were very large, such an interesting combo. Love it!

Having a Knit Fitt said...

Ah yes, Richmond needs more men in kilts year round.

traveling knitter said...

Oh Mary...Welcome to my world! I'm Polish but my Hubby is Irish/Scotish from MANY generations ago. He has 2 kilts, kilt hose, a sporan (man belt purse), Celtic knif you put in your Hose,Celtic shirt etc etc. For Halloween last sat He went as a SCOTSMAN. (he went minus the bikers shorts!) ;) As a host gift, we gave Irish Mead...what else could we give!? :)

Nikki said...

oh how I love Men in Kilts!

I had a friend in high school who'd wear his kilt now and again and I always looked forward to it.