Brian Robertson — On the weekend of June 23th, the 45th Annual San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans kicked off once again in gorgeous Brengle Terrace Park. Once a year in the heart of downtown Vista, bagpipes can be heard belting out their beautiful tunes (to the ear of the beholder) and the grunts of the athletic contestants as they toss an 18’4”, 91 lbs. caber end over end. The music of the Ploughboys enhanced the in-filed while the athletes competed and the amazing weather that is Southern California graced us with a mild 62 degrees start of the day with a slight breeze making all of the clan’s flags flutter in the in-field like they were preparing for battle. Later the drumming starts and the real battle begins as you make your way to the beer garden to listen to the Highland Way followed by the Wicked Tinkers.
Photos by Brian Robertson
Making your way across Brengle Terrace Park towards the sheepherding you will see the bagpipers practicing, and even some being judged, as others try to find shade as the sun starts to come out. The kid’s area, run by the Camp Pendleton Youth Marines, mimics the Games with small versions of caber tossing, and even has Bow and Arrows, as well as face painting, caricatures, and the always immersive Storytelling. The hoots and hollers and whistles start to fill the air as you get closer to the herding competition. The speed and agility of the dogs performing, and the attention and patience of the handlers is something that if you only get one chance to see, I highly recommend doing so and bring a chair to enjoy the show. The smell of the fish and chips, or if that isn’t your thing, the giant turkey leg, bangers and mash, or the multitude of different types of meat pies will make anyone salivate as you take in the many food vendors that turn out to show their heritage and support. With a belly full of good food and great beer, supplied by Ballast Point, you can spend hours of your time meandering through the many vendors that display their wares – including many things to wear if you are looking to complete your highland outfit.
It was a very good turnout of patrons, clansmen, and clanswomen over the beautiful weekend in the gorgeous Brengle Terrace Park as the San Diego Scottish Highland Games and Gathering of the Clans comes to a close. The bagpipes are put away, the sheep are herded for the final time, vendors close up shops, and the clan’s tents and flags are taking down signifying the end of this battle.
But do not fret – there is always next year!