Scottish Festival 2015- Loch Norman Highland Games at Rural Hill

Come enjoy the  Scottish Festival 2015- Loch Norman Highland Games At Rural Hill, Huntersville, NC on April 18-19, 2015.

Come to the Sottish Festiva l 2015-   Loch Norman Highland Games at Rural Hill in Huntersville, NC to see many world ranked professional heavy athletes including Eric Frasure, who in 2010 set a world record at Rural Hill after throwing a 20 lb sheaf 36’1!


There are seven traditional Scottish heavy events.

  • The clachneart (stone of strength) – A stone weighing between 16 and 20 pounds is thrown for distance. The maximum run up is 7-6”. At Rural Hill, the stone used weighs 18 pounds for professionals and 17 pounds for amateurs.
  • The 16-pound or 22-pound hammer throw – The hammer is 50” long with a metal head and flexible shaft. The competitor must throw over his shoulder with his back to the trig; moving the feet is not allowed.
  • The 28-pound and 56-pound weight throws for distance – These weights are metal with a ring and chain attached. The overall length is 18”. The weights must be thrown from behind the trig with a 9’-0” run up allowed. The competitor must be standing when he completes his throw or a foul is called. For all of the above events, each competitor is allowed three attempts with longest throw being recorded. A foul is called if any part of the competitor’s body touches outside the throwing area.
  • The 56-pound weight throw for height – The object is to throw the weight one-handed up and over a bar.
  • The Sheaf Toss – The object is to throw a 20-pound burlap sack of straw over the bar using a pitch fork.
    For each of these events the starting height is the height requested by the competitors. The bar will be raised as long as at least one competitor clears the bar and wants to continue. Competitors are allowed three tries at each height.
  • Turning the Caber – The caber is an 18- to 20-foot long section of tree trunk with a noticeable taper at one end. The pole weighs between 115 and 140 pounds. The competitor holds the small end and balances the pole in the air vertically. He then runs forward and allows the high end to fall forward. At the right moment he flips the small end up. If he has gotten it right the pole will continue in motion after the large end hits the ground, turning over so that the small end is pointed directly away from the contestant (12 o’clock, imagining him to be at 6 o’clock). Each competitor gets three tries with the best result being recorded. If no-one makes a perfect toss, closest to 12 o’clock wins.


Highland Dancing Competition

Highland dancing entry form

The Loch Norman Highland Games at Rural Hill is honored to host the Carolinas Open Highland Dancing Championships, one of six sanctioned championships held in the United States. The sanctioning body is the Scottish Official Board of Highland Dancing. SOBHD rules will govern all events.

Highland Dances

  • Highland Fling
    This is danced on the spot without traveling steps. It was said to have been originally performed by the Highland warrior on his targe after battle. The steps are simple but they must be executed precisely and positions strongly held; this dance is, by far, the greatest test for the Highland dancer.
  • Sword Dance
    This dance was traditionally performed on the eve of battle by warriors using the sword and scabbard in the form of a cross to mark the dancing spot. Tradition held that if the warrior danced without touching the sword with his feet, he would be successful in battle.
  • Seann Triubhas
    Seann triubhas (sheen trews) is Gaelic for “old trousers”. The dance symbolizes the kicking off of the trousers and celebrates the lifting of the Act of Proscription” which forbade wearing kilts.

Kilted Mile

Registration for the Kilted Mile is free to all and starts around 10 o’clock at the Heavy Athletics Tent on the southeast corner of the games field. The races start on the games field at 12 o’clock sharp. Participants 13 and over will run one mile, children 7-12 will run ¼ mile, children 6 and under will run 1/8 mile. Timing is performed using a stopwatch, top 3 males and females of each race will receive medals. ALL RUNNERS MUST BE KILTED AT ALL TIMES!


Other Events at Scottish Festival 2015

Longbow and Battle Axe Competitions: One of the first documented uses of the English Longbow was by King Edward I against William Wallace. At the battle of Falkirk in 1298, King Edward was unable to break up Wallace’s pike formations. After two failed charges of his heavy cavalry Edward recalled the men, massed his archers armed with the new Welsh-designed bows, and brought down Wallace’s wall of pikes. The English continued to use the Longbow for more than 200 years.

Test your skill with the Longbow at this year’s games at 1:30 on Saturday; registration from 10am – 1pm.


All archers must be kilted.

Bows must be longbows, not short recurves. A slight bit of reflex is allowed on the ends of the bows. Bows must be constructed of wood or wood composite. An arrow shelf is allowed. No sights are allowed on the bow or string. Traditional bows only no wheelies.

Arrows must be made of wood and fletching made of real feathers. Plastic nocks are approved, field tips only on the arrows.

Archery Registration begins at 10 AM and ends at 1 PM

the Archery competition begins at 1:30 PM

Battle Axe Competition:

Saturday 9am – 1pm = practice throws
1pm – 2pm = Children’s (7-13) competition
2pm-3pm = Women’s competition
3pm-4pm = Men’s competition

Sunday 10am – 11:30am = practice throws
1:30 = Children’s (7-13) competition
2:30 = The Battle Axe Challenge Match (entry fee for prize pot)

The “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” is a unique ceremony which takes place in many of the Scottish- American communities and churches across the United States.

The first Kirkin’ was led by Dr. Peter Marshall, Scottish-born Chaplain of the U.S. Senate, who was at that time also pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The date was April 28, 1941. Since 1954, the St. Andrews Society in Washington has directed the Kirkin’ ceremonies, held now in the National Cathedral.

During a Kirkin’ service, an array of Clan Tartans are presented for a special dedication to the heritage of the Scottish descendants in the congregation. The tartans are mostly displayed as flags or banners and carried in procession into the worship service with bagpipes. In simpler services the congregants may present smaller tartan cloths representing their own individual clan or family affiliation, placing them on an altar or communion table. A special prayer to God is normally spoken by the worship leader, a tribute to the history of clan ancestry and descendancy around the world, and a rededication of all to God’s service.

The Kirkin’ at Rural Hill is held on the Sunday Morning of the Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games, in the Davidson Burying Grounds across from the Games field.

The Kilt Dedication
The Kilt Dedication is sponsored by Clan Henderson. It will occur immediately following Opening Ceremonies on Saturday. Each person (Novice) who has received his or her first kilt (rentals or loaners don’t count) in the year since the last Loch Norman Highland Games will be called to line up in front of the Clan Henderson tent. Each Novice should arrange to have a kinsman as a Tartan Banner Bearer to follow him and to witness the ceremony. The Master of Ceremonies will present a wee sma’ dedication glass to each Novice. The Aides-de-camp will pour Scottish spring water or uisge beatha ’round. The Aides-de camp will then dip a corner of the Novice’s new kilt into the dedication glass. Following a few cogent remarks, the assembly encourages you to join them in toasting the tartan and the kilts as the Novices & their Tartan Banner Bearers march one time around the field.

Flag Retirement Ceremony
A set of rules for civilian flag courtesy popularly known as The Flag Code was first formulated by the National Flag Conference in 1923. On December 22, 1942, Congress enacted most of the provisions of The Flag Code into law. Scottish American Military Society (SAMS) Post 1775 will conduct a Flag Retirement Ceremony on the main field on Saturday. You may bring your ragged and torn National flags to be retired with dignity. SAMS accepts flags year round for the following year’s Ceremony, or they may be brought to Historic Rural Hill throughout the year as well.

Whisky Seminars
Uisge Beatha (oos-kuh beh-ha), “the water of life” is the Gaelic name for whisky. All “whisky” is distilled and bottled in Scotland. “Whiskey” (note the “e”) is a spirit that was distilled outside of Scotland. These seminars are intended to expose participants to the subtleties of Single Malt Scotch whisky.

Seminars will be on both Saturday and Sunday, time and location to be determined. Seating is limited; tickets are $20.00. These seminars are for educational purposes only and any other purpose, implied or otherwise, is all in your mind.

Flowers of the Forest Ceremony
At the instigation of the ambitious younger brothers of the King of the Scots, Henry VIII led an army against Scotland. King James IV and the “flowers” of Scottish nobility were brutally slain at the Battle of Flodden on September 9, 1513, one of the greatest disasters to befall the country. The pipe tune “Flowers of the Forest” was a soulful lament written shortly after the battle. The “forest” refers to a district of Scotland called Ettrick Forestwhere the battle took place. Although much of the original lament has been lost, Mrs. Patrick Cockburn, who lived from 1712-1792, is credited with this version.The sorrow felt for lost loved ones reaches across the centuriesas we remember members of our family who have gone before us.”
The Flowers of the Forest Ceremony takes place at the Rural Hill Cairn alongside the new Cultural Center. The sign, which remains posted throughout the year, reads:
“The cairn is a memorial built, stone by stone, by those who pass by. These stones have been placed here in loving memory of our absent brothers and sisters who have passed on. They are now Flowers of the Forest. Historic Rural Hill maintains a registry for the Memorial Cairn.”

Border Collie Sheepherding Demonstrations
Sheepherding demonstrations will occur both Saturday and Sunday on the main field and are led by Dr. Ben Ousley, D.V.M. For further insight into the work of the dog and handler, please read the following passage by Dr. Ben;

It has been said that no other breed has the livestock working instinct, the intelligence, and the desire to please their master that Border Collies possess. Most Border Collie owners would give no argument to that statement and several of them would admit that they had tried other breeds first.

These dogs have been selected through the years for their ease in training and “eye”. This quality has been described as the “hypnotic eye”, a concentration and alertness that makes them appear much quicker than the sheep.

The shepherd will use voice commands such as stand, way to me (go right), come by (go left), lay down and that’ll do to work the dogs but at a distance these commands are translated into whistles.

Color and conformation (size, height & weight) are not important to the qualifications of a good working collie dog. They are generally black with white markings (some say it’s good luck to have a small bit of brown). They weigh 30 – 50 pounds and stand about 18 inches at the shoulder. Their fore legs are often shorter than their hind legs. Watch the dogs work today. Border collies love to work… and work… and work… and work. Ask questions.

Do you have a need for a dog with top stock handling skills back at your farm? Every farm has one or more dogs that are being fed; doesn’t it make sense to keep a breed that will earn its keep? I hope this information will help you to better understand and enjoy watching the sheep dogs work.

  • Dr. Ben Roy Ousley, D. V. M.,
    Cross Country Veterinary

Celtic Music is one of the most identifiable and recognized aspects of Scottish heritage and culture. Even to the casual listener, Scottish music is easily recognized for its unique quality and style. It has a definite power and presence that demands attention. This is not music that can be ignored as “background” music. People find that they are either magnetically drawn to it or beat a hasty retreat away from it. This is Gaelic “soul” played with intense feeling and listened to as an emotional experience.

Scotland and the other Celtic countries have produced an amazing amount of folk music over the past 500 years. The distinctive sound of this music underlines the cultural heritage shared by Scotland, Ireland, Wales, the Isle of Man, Galicia in Spain and the Brittany coast of France. Many tunes known for hundreds of years throughout these regions are distinguished only by different names, words and variations in performing styles. Within each region there are also tunes that are unique to that area alone.

Celtic folk music is an ethnic musical form that continues to have contemporary music written in the same style and feel as it was centuries ago.

The Saturday Night Celtic Concert!
At Scottish Festival 2015- Loch Norman Highland Games at Rural Hill in Huntersville, NC music starts at 6:30 PM in the Celtic Rock Tent and is included in the price of your Saturday admission ticket. All musical guests of the festival will be on hand to perform and entertain! Invite your friends who didn’t come out to join you for the show – tickets at the door will be $10 for those not attending during the day.

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