Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Meet Me in the Mountains

Posted July 9, 2007

Are you ready for a cool break? Well, meet me in the mountains this coming weekend.

The road leads to Linville. Yes, folks, it's time for the 52nd annual gathering of the clans at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games Thursday through Sunday.

Have any of you ever been to the games? If so what are your memories?

My first trip to the games didn't occur until five years ago when I performed there as a musician. The next year I served as emcee along with James K. Flynn. And I have been doing it ever since. The late Hugh Morton asked me to be a part of the games and it is something I look forward to every summer.

I even bought a kilt and all of the accessories to fit in. Leslie is a Scottish name and I must say our tartan looks pretty spiffy.

Even the Scots in Scotland admit the Grandfather Mountain games are the best in the world. The mountain setting is perfect. The entertainment is excellent with Celtic music to please anyone from young to old. There are caber tosses, sheep herding, a marathon and all sorts of dancing.

It is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the rich Scots heritage of North Carolina. And if it makes you feel any better you can eat barbecue instead of haggis. That's my plan.


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  • 1Moms_View Jul 9, 2007

    I've never been, but look forward to attending next year. My family came to NC from Scotland in the early 1700s.

  • .Milky Jul 9, 2007

    I have never been. I did help my neighbor through a vicious 3 day hangover from the Highland Games. He's sober now and I'm pretty sure he's German too.

  • urbudelar Jul 9, 2007

    You can always slip away to one of the Celtic groves for music in the shade if the sun gets a little too hot. Grandfather Mountain has tremendous musicians every year ranging from traditional to high powered Celtic fusion.


  • Lissa Jul 9, 2007

    After many years of wanting to attend, my husband and I went to the games last year. I must say I was very disappointed. If you're not Scottish, or associated with anyone who has a clan tent, you're stuck sitting on metal bleachers in the blazing sun, or standing for hours (again, in the blazing sun).

    Needless to say, we didn't stay long. We did have a lovely time exploring Grandfather Mountain. As for haggis, I actually had some in Scotland a few years ago, and it wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. I'd still rather have BBQ, though!

  • innocent bystander Jul 9, 2007

    I went once, back in the 1970s. I'll bet it's changed a lot since then.

    Does anyone know the early history of highland games in the Southern Apps? Were there similar gatherings in the 18th and 19th centuries?

  • owlady Jul 9, 2007

    Bill, I have visited Grandfather Mountain only once so far. It is lovely and breathtaking, and reminds me of the Green Mountains in Vermont. My sister and her family own a home in Roaring Gap, NC and are actually staying there now for their annual 2 week summer vacation. I will ask her if they have ever attended this event. Thanks.

  • JerryO Jul 9, 2007

    Bill, you certainly go to some great places. I agree, BBQ over Haggis. I'm afraid I am not quite adventurous enough for that. Have fun.

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Bill Leslie