Monday, February 20, 2012

Scottish Festival at the Queen Mary

Back in November, I posted on the Queen Mary Scottish Festival in relation to my bagpipe classes. So, in case you didn't bite at my tease, here's what you missed over President's Weekend.

I'll start with some piping. It was great fun to see the parade of bands with the pipers and drummers all decked out in their kilts, brogues and various caps. Here you see one of the competitions, with two of the judges circling around with clipboards tracking the pipes and drums technical parts, with other judges rating the musical component. It all sounded good to me, and I hope to be out there myself one of these days.

Next up has got to be the chow! Here you see a modified version of the classic dish haggis. Traditionally made of sheep's heart, liver and lungs, with onion, oatmeal, and spices then simmered in the sheep's stomach, this version was stuffed inside a sausage casing for individual portion control. It definitely had the hearty liver flavor I'm so fond of! I also had a sausage roll and meat pie (I was there two days, afterall!) from the savory category, plus shortbread and Welsh cakes as sweets. Yum!

The sheep herding was also a sweet treat! I watched "Babe" on Friday to get up-to-speed on the intricacies of working dogs. The extra bonus with this demo was Mr. Ondrak calling out to his dog, Bree, "That'll do, luv," just like Mr. Hoggett said to Babe. Aahh!! It was great to see the dogs in action and obviously loving their work.

Finally, it's all about the athletics at the Festival. In addition to the thrill of seeing swirling kilts, these competitions take me back to my Hoosier roots. In high school, I helped out at track meets, usually in the shot put and discus throw pits, keeping track of the distances thrown by each athlete for each event. Randomly, I earned an athletic letter for doing this!

This one is called putting the stone, and, as expected, is similar to shot putting.

Stop - hammer time! Notice that the hammer has a "safety net," and you can't see the blades on the toes of their boots for stability because you're all distracted by the kilt action.

This is the signature Scottish caber toss, where the athletes take a run with a telephone pole-esque shaft of wood, give it a heave, and hope that it not only flips end-over-end, but also lands at 12 o'clock to the flipper. Remember, the Scots like their challenges, and I got to see several lads successfully toss the caber.

Finally, here are two different ways to throw the weights, for distance and for height over the bar. The weights also get heavier as the competition proceeds.

The pre-toss warm-up and wind-up offered cheap kilt-spinning thrills, more so than the other events.

I only had a quick glance into the Highland and country dancing, the dart tournaments, and re-enactments. There was a lot going on at the Festival. FYI, ScotsFest2012 is coming up over Memorial Day at Costa Mesa. Will I see you there?

No comments:

Post a Comment