In case you haven’t noticed, I wasn’t excited about moving to Aberdeen (<-understatement of the year!). But I just want to say a big thanks to my readers and followers on social media for their words of encouragement and support. As well as their tips and suggestions on must-see Scotland locations. Also the warm welcome from other Aberdeen residents online (and in-person) has been overwhelming, so again a big thank you. This has made the transition easier and has helped me get over my own little pity-party pretty quickly.
Despite the bout of sadness and perhaps some negativity around here, that’s not what I’m typically about. I’m ready than ever to explore, make the most of this experience and make a new life here in Scotland. And I’m happy to bring you all along with me.
And just a side note: Don’t hesitate to reach out! Ask me about whatever you like, moving, traveling, expat life. Let me know what kind of things you want to read about. Just a simple ‘hello’ in the comments section will bring some (must-needed) sunshine to my day.
Okay, so with that line of thinking and attitude about life in Scotland, we took the advice of a reader, Glenda, to check out the Highland Games nearby. We missed the one in Aberdeen this summer, but with a car at our disposal, we didn’t hesitate to make the 1.5hr drive to St. Andrews for the Highland Games.
What are the Highland Games?
They are events combining sport, fun and culture held across Scotland, most predominately in the highlands, celebrating and showcasing Scottish and Celtic culture. And if you can’t make it to St Andrews, don’t sweat it. There are Highland Games all across the region throughout the entire summer. So if you are planning a trip to Scotland, make sure you check out the schedule to see which city is hosting their Highland Games.
Here are my tips for making your first Highland Games an experience to remember
1. Go on time
We had a late start to the morning but happily made it just before the opening band made their way around the track.
2. Buy the program
At the St Andrew’s Highland Games, it was a measly 2£ and well worth it. The day was packed with activities happening simultaneously. The program helped us ensure we saw the things we wanted to see, even if the listed times were just guidelines.
3. Know the events
Each Highland Games is different but most will have the usual events: heavy athletic events like tug-o-war, hammer throw, weight for height and the caber toss, Highland dance competitions, track and field events, and (bag) piping. I loved watching the dancing, especially the young girls and boys dancing in their colourful costumes. And the tug o’war was impressive to watch. Did you know they even had coaches coaching them through it. It was intense!
4. Bring a picnic and blanket (or just try all the food)
Chairs are limited and many people sat on picnic blankets around the track. Either enjoying their own picnic or the food on offer. In addition to Angus burgers and curry fries like we had, there was a popular stand selling smoked fish. We regret not trying it and will have to next time we get the chance.
5. Bring the family! Even the furry friends.
There were bouncy castles and fun runs for spectators of all ages. Young and old, there is something for everyone. The sun was shining and it was a perfect way to spend an afternoon. It was casual, laid back and entertaining.
Since we spent the whole day at the Games, we didn’t go into St. Andrew’s to explore. But we’re not worried… we know we’ll be back.
Have you ever been to a Highland Games? Did I miss anything? Comment below.