What is the best thing about the Hororata Highland Games? Is it the huge sense of community that has enabled this area to produce the best Highland games in the Southern Hemisphere? Is it the passion and skill of competitors? Or maybe it is the “give it a go” areas where I got to toss my first mini caber? I really cannot put my finger on the best part of the games so I will have to tell you about some of my favourite moments instead.
The cutest moment of the day was when a boy, barely three, complete with a mini kilt, decided to participate in the kids’ tug of war. I am not sure he was pulling the right way but he was still as fierce and brave as the grown up competitors.
Then there were the anxious moments where the crowds and I braced ourselves and held our breath as if we could somehow help the caber, stones or weights meet their correct destination. We lamented a loss and applauded a success in an emotional workout which sits next to the physical workout of the heavy weight competitors.
Off to the side of the competition arenas was the fascinating Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) pavilion where you could see recreations of medieval objects and watch combat demonstrations. Just feeling the weight in the chain mail and sitting down in a medieval tent complete with tapestries and ladies gave me an entirely new perspective on the many historical novels I have read!
What else is there to mention in a blog that is supposed to be brief in duration when you could write an essay? Do I mention the Highland dancers in their strength, grace and colour? Should I talk of pie eating competitions, haggis throwing, hurling or the endurance of the winner of the Kilted Mile who had to sprint after downing a can of Irn-Bru and a Hororata Pie? I guess the most useful thing I could say is that you are a fool if you don’t go next year. It is simply a day of heart-warming brilliance.