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Friday, 20 November 2009

The Highland Games, Isle of Skye, Scotland - Page 3

Written by Lily Iona MacKenzie
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The Isle of Skye has always felt like home for me, though I’ve never lived there and have visited only twice.A first-generation Canadian, I grew up listening to my mother and uncle tell stories about their early days in and around its small capital, Portree. 

 

There were also the ‘heavies’ who were throwing the hammer, putting the stone, and doing the caber toss. Douglas, wearing his MacKenzie tartan kilt, a blue shirt, and a jacket, strode back and forth among these activities, keeping tabs on all the announcements and establishing a rapport with the crowd.

 

The whole scene was both highly sophisticated and tremendously innocent.After attending the games in the Bay Area a few times, which always draws thousands of people and the purse for the experience, I guess I expected it to be more like that. In Scotland, however, they’ve managed to maintain the original spirit of the event. They still see it as an opportunity for young and old people in the community to come together and work toward a common goal of preparing for the next event.

 

The primal qualities of these games include men pitting themselves against the elements, challenging themselves, and pushing themselves beyond their limits. The games are the most significant tradition that binds me to Skye.

 

Before leaving Skye for the second time, Douglas took me to the old cemetery and showed me the family tree, a sycamore planted in the middle of our relatives’ plot.

Someone once told me that the living stand on the shoulders of the dead. I realized while standing at the graves how my life is intertwined with theirs – a tree’s roots an apt metaphor to describe how deep and enmeshed they can get.Living as I have for so many years in California, I know how lucky I am to still have a link to my past and a connection to my ancestors.

The Highland Games, Isle of Skye, August Scottish games, travel Scotland, travel Portree, travel Isle of Skye, Braeside Cottage, Lily Iona MacKenzie

 

©Lily Iona MacKenzie

http://lilyionamackenzie.wordpress.com

 


 

*Newton, Norman.Skye.Devon:Pevensey Press, 1995.

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Thursday, 22 August 2013

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