The 2018 version of the Moncton Highland Games was held on June 16 at the Hal Betts Sportsplex. The week starts off with a Scottish festival that includes a church service, flag raising and open-air concerts in both Moncton and Riverview, ending with the games on Saturday.
This is the 12th year that the event has been hosted by the Moncton Scottish Association, and it was the first time that I attended. My husband and I arrived early Saturday morning and wandered around the grounds. There was so much to see, and we were glad to have a program that listed the events as well as a map that showed where the various displays and workshops were located. There was a bit of a rain shower that delayed things a bit, but everyone seemed to take it in stride. We huddled under a tent with a few other folks while waiting for the rain to let up, and for the sheep dog trials to start.
We enjoyed watching the dogs and handlers working together, to lead the sheep through the course which was held in the central field.
The tent with the dancing competition was a lively spot as the dancers competed or practiced and their families visited with each other. The heavy athletics were a sight to see as they heaved, tossed and flung the heavy implements across the field.
The area with the farm animals was a popular spot with the kids as they visited with the sheep, and a Shetland pony named Breeze.
There were tents that held displays of archery and fly fishing where you could test your skills, or learn some new ones, and of course I had to stop at Clan Fraser’s tent in honour of my favorite fictional Scot, Jamie Fraser.
Once we had travelled around the grounds for a while, it was time to stop at the Ceildh tent and listen to some music performed by Vivian and Ivan Hicks and have beverage from the conveniently located Pump House Brewery.
As we left the grounds to run some errands, we made sure our stamps were clearly visible so that we could return later in the afternoon. With so much to see and do we really had to pace ourselves!
We spent some time at the Blossom Lot Smithy display, watching the work that goes into shaping iron.
As the musicians practiced, the swirl of the bagpipes and the beat of drums could be heard throughout the day as background music for the whole event. When it came time for the marching band competition, Ray and I sat on the grass and watched.
We went back over to the Heavy Athletics field to watch the “big guys” compete. Years ago, Ray had tried some of the events at a Scout Jamboree, and after spending the day watching the competition, he’s been inspired to take up the sport himself. Who knows, maybe next year I’ll be cheering for him!
We finished off our day at the Games with another trip to the Ceildh tent to listen to The American Rogues and have another wee dram.
It was such an enjoyable day and it was wonderful to see the range of ages both taking part in the events and there as spectators. The sense of camaraderie made it clear that these folks see each other a lot as they travel to the different games. There really was something for everyone, and the fact that the cost of admission allowed one to leave and return, makes it easy to plan out the day.
This is one Sassenach who can’t wait to do it all again next year! Save the date of June 15, 2019 for the next Moncton Highland Games