This past summer I enjoyed a rare girls’ day out with my two bff’s, Heather and Marcy, at the Fergus Scottish Festival and Highland Games in Fergus, Ontario, the largest of its kind outside of Scotland. What an amazing day!! Not only did I get to experience some of my Scottish heritage, but I also had the privilege of meeting my favourite author, Diana Gabaldon, who attends the festival every other year to speak about her writing and to sign books. You should have seen us bowling people over to get to the front of the signing line!! Never mess with women from Shelburne and Dundalk when they are on a mission!!
One of the most interesting and enjoyable parts of the day for me (other than meeting Diana, of course) was watching the Scottish Highland Games, and particularly the heavy events. I could not believe the strength of the men who participated in the caber toss. This is the premier Scottish event. The competitor must “pick” a caber, run and toss it so it lands straight out from him/her at a 12 o’clock position. The Caber is tossed for accuracy not distance. The judge must “call it” just as the stick hits the ground. A side judge will sometimes be used to determine if the caber rotated thru 90 degrees, if not it’s a “Fifer” and not counted. The Caber can be any size, it’s the style not the size, but a 23-26′ stick is not uncommon today.
Of course I had my camera with me because I don’t go anywhere without it, but unfortunately I didn’t take my tripod (I had too many signed books to carry LOL). We sat way up in the bleachers to watch the heavy events, and I used my telephoto lens and the continuous shooting mode to get close ups of the action and the competitors’ expressions. Without a tripod, I wasn’t expecting wonderful results, but I was actually very proud of myself when I reviewed the photos the next day. This one is my favourite from that memorable day. I think it captures beautifully the power of these amazing athletes.
Ok, I know I shouldn’t, but I have to add one last thing. My one disappointment of that day was that they were all wearing shorts under their kilts. Darn!! Sorry, but I couldn’t resist.