General Category > Games & Festivals

Grandfather Mountain 2017


Stirling Thompson:
Well, apparently everyone has been too busy to post a report on the Grandfather Mountain Games so I'll give you my impressions as a first time visitor to the second (?) largest highland games in the US.

Dottie and I left home on the 4th of July and stopped for the night at the Red Lion Inn in Chambersburg, PA since its such a long ride we decided to split it up into two legs to relieve some of the strain of a long ride. My car was at the body shop as a result of a minor fender-bender so we got to make the trip in a 2017 Cadillac rental which was nice but would have been better if I could have gotten the cruise control to work.

We checked in to the Baymont Inn & Suites in Boone, NC on Wednesday afternoon, unpacked and relaxed for the rest of the day. On Thursday morning we drove down to Linville to the games HQ to get our tickets for the games and called Alan and Heidi to let them know we had arrived. We drove up the mountain to McRae Meadows, where the games are held, and located the Clan Thompson assigned tent site. Alan and Heidi were already there, along with their friends Marty and Kay who came along to help out, and unpacked and covered everything up for the overnight. We went to the house Alan and Heidi rented and had some lunch and rested up a little. We returned to the mountain later that afternoon, walked around and checked out the other clans and vendors and waited patiently for the torchlight ceremony to begin. Tom had showed up by then and he was going to represent us at the torchlight ceremony. They do a 5K BEAR race from the bottom to the top of the mountain, 6,000 ft up, and we watched the runners go through in the afternoon and saw the winners receive their rewards and take a victory lap that evening. The weather was very cooperative and the torchlight ceremony was really beautiful and Tom did us proud when it came to our turn. I'd really like to see that ceremony repeated here in New England at the NH Games.

Friday we took the shuttle from Boone to the games because the parking is so limited on the mountain. The ride was an adventure in itself going up the mountain on a school bus over an unpaved private road with sharp turns and ditches and steep drop-offs but we arrived safely.

By the time we arrived Alan and crew had everything ready to go. Ian and his friend, sorry don't remember his name, came and spent lots of time helping out at tent. Dottie, Heidi and Kay had fun going to all the different programs at the Scottish Cultural tent. I got to go to one of the programs about the Darien scheme presented by author John McKendrick and I purchased his book which he graciously signed for me. Friday is a major day at the games with lots of things going on all over field and includes the Grandfather Marathon and we got to see the runners coming in for that. We spent the day helping at the tent and wandering around taking in all the sights and sounds of the games. Dottie says she was particularly impressed by all the athletic competitions they had for the children including wrestling and races. Again the weather was fine except for an early shower which had passed before we got there. It was cloudy early but cleared out and warmed up in the afternoon. We had to catch the shuttle off the mountain so we left around 4 pm for the ride back to Boone. Going down was a bit better than going up. We got back to the hotel and changed before going out for supper and a little shopping then went back and settled in for the night.

Saturday was pretty much a repeat of Friday, except the weather was better all day. We had tons of visitors at the tent and met lots of Thoms, including some from Scotland. I bought a Sport Kilt in the Thomson hunting on Friday and wore it Saturday so we had all of the Thom(p)son tartans represented with Tom in blue, Alan in the gray, Ian in the camel and me in the hunting. We looked good so it was decided I would wear the hunting again on Sunday for the parade of tartan. Again we had taken the shuttle and had to leave around four.

Sunday was the last day for the games but was packed with activities including the parade of tartans that kicked off at 11 am. We were lined up alphabetically so we ended up starting from the far side behind the reviewing stand and before we even started moving the first clans had already passed by and left the field. We said our goodbyes and headed out mid-afternoon to the hotel to rest up for trip home.

We left Monday morning and again stopped in PA before continuing home on Tuesday. We got home early in the evening safely.

All in all, we had a great time with great people and it looks like we'll get together again in September for the Ligonier Games in PA. We're looking forward to it.

OK, here's the good stuff. Below is a link to all the photos on Photobucket.

Thomas B. Thompson:
Thanks for the report and pictures.
Glad everyone had a good time.

Bets wishes,
Tom & Barbara


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