Dougal Campbell's geek ramblings

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Stone Mountain Highland Games

Bagpipers on Parade

Bagpipers on Parade

Susan and I went to the Stone Mountain Highland Games last Saturday. We had been told that it was “huge”, but we thought that it wasn’t that much bigger than the Alabama Highland Games, which we’ve attended the past few years. There were a few more clan and vendor tents, and there were more people attending, but I’d say that the Alabama Highland Games stands up well in comparison.

Drum Major 1

Drum Major 1

We were a little disappointed at what seemed to be a small turnout at the Clan Campbell Society booth — there were only a few names already on the visitor’s roster when I added our names. I would like to have stopped back by later in the afternoon to see if it had picked up, but we just never made it back over there.



We stopped by most, if not all, of the vendors to peruse their goods. And we bought a fair amount of items. Susan picked up a really nice wool blanket done in the Campbell (Blackwatch) tartan. She also picked up a book called Celtic Knits, which has over 25 knitting patterns for sweaters, scarves, and such. I picked up a book on Celtic Knotwork Designs. I’ve seen some good websites on this subject before, but sometimes you just want hardcopy. Susan also picked up two new pairs of Celtic cross earrings, one in silver, the other in pewter.

Of course, we also had to ignore our eating plan for the day and sample the food. For lunch, Susan had a “Bridie” (a small, spiced meat pastry), and I had a meat pie. We also had some beer (Grolsch was a sponsor). And we picked up an assortment of sweets: oatmeal raisin cookies, shortbread, and other confections, which we brought home to share with the rest of the family.

Caber Toss

Caber Toss

After our lunch, we went to the athletic field to watch the caber toss. After several competitors were easily able to turn the first two cabers (I think the announcer said they were just over 100 pounds), they recommended that they switch to the backup caber, which weighed in at about 140 pounds. That made a big difference, as only two or three of the athletes were able to turn that one. However, one fellow did an amazing brute-force turn from a stand-still! Normally, they have to get a running start, to add to the caber’s momentum.

Henri’s Notions

Henri’s Notions

There were several musical groups performing, but the only one we stopped to listen to was Henri’s Notions, who are from Alabama. They sounded really great, and we stopped by their table afterwards to buy a CD. We chatted with lead singer Jil Chambless for a bit, and were surprised to learn that she has family in our old hometown of Enterprise. Ain’t it a small world? Anyhow, all of the musicians were quite talented, and I’m sure we’ll be buying more of their music soon.

We had a nice time there, and the cool weather was definitely a plus. We wore jackets the whole time, though we probably could have gone without them during the warmest parts of the day. We’re looking forward to going back again next year.

About Dougal Campbell

Dougal is a web developer, and a "Developer Emeritus" for the WordPress platform. When he's not coding PHP, Perl, CSS, JavaScript, or whatnot, he spends time with his wife, three children, a dog, and a cat in their Atlanta area home.
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6 Responses to Stone Mountain Highland Games

  1. Andrew Johnston says:

    Black Watch is not a Campbell tartan. It was designed for use by the “Black Watch”, and a version of it has been worn by the Argyll & Sutherland Highlanders.

    Campbell of Argyll is the nearest to Black Watch, and has yellow and white stripes.

  2. No, the “Campbell of Argyll” tartan is not an “official” Campbell tartan. It was worn by one particular Duke. Black Watch is the official tartan for all Campbells who are not specifically of the Breadalbane, Cawdor, or Loudoun branches. No other tartans claiming to be Campbell are correct.

    c.f., The Duke’s official word on the subject

    I did a bit of research on that before I spent the time to create my own pixel-for-stitch replica of the Black Watch tartan in Photoshop.

  3. Jen Bawden says:

    Dougal, we were there as well for the 2004 Highland Games. Stopped by Clan Campbell’s tent as well. We’re headed to the Gatlinburg Highland Games in May. Enjoyed your site. Have a good one!

  4. Cool says:

    Very nice photo.
    I’m glad.

  5. Trish Krog says:

    As vendors, Krog Creations, hand-engraved stone and glass engraving, we see an entirely different aspect of the games. Stone Mtn. is one of the most vendor friendly games on the East Coast and in the Midwest. (St. Louis shines at this also). The patrons of the games are almost always cheerful. There is plenty of room for vendors and for patrons to enjoy themselves. Perhaps you got the impression that it wasn’t as large as it is because the games are spread out over a wide (sometimes wooded) area. Did you get a chance to see the Scottish country dancing and the Highland Dance competitions. Unfortunately they seem to be very well hidden. Just from our experience, we have found that most people who are already clan members do not sign in at the clan tents. Perhaps this was the case at Stone Mt. There always seem to be a lot of Campbells roaming around at the games we attend. We are members of Clan Keith, by the way. We have been only to the Northern Alabama Highland Games (twice) as vendors and they were so poorly attended that we decided it not worth our while to set up as vendors there again. This even though they are one of the closest highland games to our hometown of Memphis, Tn. Perhaps the (regular) Alabama Highland Games might prove more profitable for us, but we do not know this and Birmingham is a long way to travel (with the high weight load we carry) to take the risk. What do you think?
    As patrons, we visted Grandfather Mt. Highland Games once and it was huge, but the crowdedness, expense and the grumpiness of the people that these conditions involked made us want never to return again.
    St. Louis Highland Games is a very fun one to visit. It is not “huge” but friendly.
    Trish Krog, Krog Creations

  6. Hardest Game says:

    Sound like a lot of fun 🙂
    I would really like to go one day, hopefully in the not to distant future.
    Enjoying your site, thanks.

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