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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Celtic Kin

Posted July 18, 2007 5:58 a.m. EDT
Updated July 18, 2007 7:42 a.m. EDT

In the 1980’s WRAL sent me to Scotland to chronicle North Carolina's rich Celtic heritage. A young piper went along. We followed Bill Caudill as he traced his family roots to the Isle of Skye and played in the Highland Games at Aberdeen where the Leslie family got its start. It was a marvelous trip and it generated a series of stories we titled "Tar Heel Tartans."

This past weekend I ran into Bill Caudill at the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Bill is now Director of the Scottish Heritage Center and Instructor of the College Pipe Band at St. Andrews College.  I plan to email Bill this morning and tell him about our latest slideshow.

My heart is still pounding after watching WRAL Multimedia Producer Nathan Clendenin’s stirring assessment of the 2007 games at Grandfather Mountain this past weekend. I am so pumped I plan to go out and rent “Braveheart” for the 100th time.

Each year I get the pleasure of helping emcee the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. What an honor to watch these colorful and exciting games featuring burly hurlers of steel and stone, haunting strains of pipers, graceful dancers, tireless border collies and kilted runners. The games are jam packed with activities designed to keep the ancient Scottish traditions alive. They also showcase artists creating new and vibrant traditions cut from the Celtic cloth of their ancestors.

Close your eyes for a moment. Let your imagination transport you to a misty glen. Listen to the rush of the river and then the roar of the crowd as the Highland Games begin. Relish the rugged lifestyle of the romantic Scots in this thrilling multimedia presentation.