Tuesday, August 4, 2009

America's Braemar

Donald McDonald is the author of America's Braemar, a historical book covering the 50-year history of The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games (1956-2006). But the history on which the games is based is much older than 1956, predating the Greek Olympics. The highland games of Scotland were brought from Ireland to the Argyll district and were first called Odas, a Norse name.

A former resident of Charlotte, NC, Mr. McDonald now lives in Edinburgh, Scotland. He is a retired journalist and university lecturer who first attended Braemar in 1954. The Braemar Gathering was born from the Braemar Wright Society in 1816, six months after the Battle of Waterloo and was registered with the Clerk of Peace as a friendly society, the oldest surviving friendly society in the country of Scotland. In 1826 the name changed to the Braemar Highland Society. In 1848, Queen Victoria attended the gathering and ordered that the society add "Royal" to the title. It is now known as the Braemar Royal Highland Gathering. The royal family has been faithful attenders ever since.

Mr. McDonald returned to North Carolina from his visit and decided to try and duplicate the Braemar gathering among the thousands of descendants who settled the Carolinas in the 18th and 19th centuries. Thus, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games were born, with the assistance of Agnes MacRae Morton, the games were christened as "America's Braemar". Mr. McDonald's book was completed in 2007 and published by Southern Lions Books Historic Publications in Madison, GA.

The success of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games has led to the birth of over 200 Scottish games, highland festivals, and societies. To learn more about the book, or to order it, visit here.
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1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful history. Some of my fondest memories are of attending the Highland festivals here in the western USA.