Before starting to type up this post I have had a read through the words I chose in previous years to describe this wonderful event – this is the eighth time we have visited. The thing that strikes me instantly is the weather – this is the first year we have been wet! It rained off and on nearly all day, only clearing up in the late afternoon.
Sadly the pipe bands lose a lot of their spectacle when their colourful tartans are carefully protected from the downpours. Another sad consequence was that the competition for the hundreds of beautiful Highland dancers had to be moved up to the gym hall at the school for safety – it was too slippy on the dancing platforms.
But our hardy visitors stuck it out ……
The competitors stuck it out too, and showed their usual determination and skill in the various competitions.
I did a double take when I heard that we were moving into the 21st century and that the runners were being ‘micro chipped’ for the first time this year. Instant vision of the local vet being seconded to attend the Games with his little ‘gun’. Turns out that it was only the runner’s official vest numbers which were to be tagged, allowing everyone to get an accurate personal race time.
We enjoyed very tasty burgers or steak rolls from the Kingarth food tent and were very grateful to have access to the Patrons’ tent for a seat. While there, our visitors, two Americans and one English (not counting family) were thrilled to meet our friend Len Scoular, Lord Provost of Argyle and Bute, and have a close look at his magnificent chain of office.
All the time the dancers, throwers, pipers, wrestlers, etc were beavering away at winning medals and trophies and sometimes small amounts of money. Mostly they were just having fun and enjoying something they loved doing.
The youngest competitor in the Pipe Major’s competition looked so tiny in the middle of the great space of the arena but she was strutting her stuff with great aplomb. At the same time some bigger girls were throwing their weight about – and trying to toss the caber.
There is one person who never minds being last – the gentleman from Greenock, who, dressed as a clown, raises large amounts of money for charity as he ambles around the 10K route.
The weather did improve later in the afternoon and by the time of the Grand March down through Rothesay most of the pipers were able to discard their waterproofs and show a welcome splash of colour.
This row of beautiful wee girls from one of the local dance schools got a great cheer as they launched into a sequence of ‘pas de bas’ as they swung round the corner.
You can wait all day for a Pipe Major to come along when all of a sudden you get four in a row.
If your Mummy or Daddy plays in a pipe band there is always the chance that you will get to carry a trophy in the Grand March – They take their proud duties very seriously.
This is the second of our two local schools of dancing – they are privileged to have a wee boy in their ranks. We watched some of the dance competition up at the school earlier and saw a couple of teenage boys – handsome, immaculately turned out and twinkle toed.
The host Pipe Band always comes last in the Grand march – Rothesay and District Pipe Band.