Clan MacAulay visits the Victoria Highland Games
It doesn’t get much better than British Columbia in May; unless you add in a week of Highland Games events!
I arrived the Saturday before the Games. I happened to wander into a fabulous hat shop wearing my Clan MacAulay jacket and what do you know? One of the staff is a MacAulay descendant! Lots of MacAulays out there.
Saturday is Tartan Parade Day and although I missed it (I’d wandered down to the harbour) I was at the Bard & Banker enjoying a Scottish pint when the pipes and drums from the parade marched in playing Scotland the Brave. A great start to a week filled with fun and Scottish pride. Later that evening Teresa Duke, from Virginia USA, who we met at the Crieff gathering last year arrived (#1 benefit of attending Clan gatherings? Your new friends!). Hubby Doug Doughty arrived Sunday.
I’ll save you from stories of high tea at Butchart Gardens, 4 hour shopping trips (we only made it 4 blocks), sightseeing, our continuous quest for great food and beverages and remain focussed on the Highland Games events.
Wednesday night was the Tilted Kilt Pub Crawl with 200 enthusiastic revellers. 4 teams,4 colours, 4 pubs; great time augmented by a few wee drams . Teresa, Doug and I were on Team Blue: go Blue! Met some of the Highland Games volunteers, heavy events participants, many fun Scots, those of Scots descent and those just committed to having fun!
The Friday night Torchlight Ceremony in front of the British Columbia Legislature had moments both moving and fun! Teresa and I were lined up with the other Clans waiting for the ceremony to begin when we commented that the least they could do was provide a wee dram to keep us warm on a chilly night. Fortunately, Doug (not my Doug) of Clan Campbell proffered his flask; it was much appreciated! We started getting to know people from the various clans. The LA Scots, the top pipe band in the US, kicked off the event by piping in. Then each Clan was invited to announce their presence to all in attendance and tell the audience their Clan motto. They loved our Danger is Sweet! Following the ceremony we were invited to a private reception where we had the opportunity to meet more Clansmen, the Highland Games board and some of the LA Scots.
Saturday morning bright and early Teresa, Doug and I were at the Avenue of the Clans to set up our tent and get ready to meet people. What a blast! We’ve collected a great new set of friends on the Avenue! And we met MacAulays! It was super cool meeting MacAulay’s so excited about being a part of Clan MacAulay and telling them about our Clan gatherings. Robbie Dick’s grandmother is a MacAulay
(photo right); he’s a vendor at the Highland Games with very cool t-shirts. Saturday night we attended the VIP event; very nice, although our feet were a trifle sore from a day at the Games.
Sunday we took as a day to enjoy all aspects of the Highland Games; next year we’ll do the tent both days.
We took part in the opening ceremonies, which interestingly enough in on Sunday. We were part of the Clan Parade then were blown away by the massed pipes, including SFU, Canada’s top pipe band, the LA Scots and other competing bands.
President of the Games Jim Maxwell welcomed everyone. I wasn’t the only one moved during the singing of our Canadian national anthem; there were several with tears flowing.
The Mayor and honourary Chieftan of the Victoria Highland Games opened the games. Then the pipes marched off the field, followed by we Clans.
In closing, I hope I’ve given you a sense of the camaraderie and joy we experienced while in Victoria attending the Highland Games. Thank you, thank you to the Victoria Highland Games Board of Directors (especially Jim, Randy and Doug), their amazing volunteers and everyone who made it such a special week. We’ll definitely be back next year and hope to see many more MacAulay`s in attendance.
Next up? The Canmore Highland Games in Canmore, Alberta on the Labour Day weekend. Love for you to join us!
Clan Commissioner, Western Canada
Clan MacAulay of the Canadas