Victoria Highland Games

153rd Victoria Highland Games

Whether or not Scottish Highland bagpipes were banned as weapons of war following the Battle of Culloden in 1747 is open to debate (they were previously banned in 1560 after the Reformation). What is certain is that hearing the sound of several hundred pipers and drummers playing in unison is an intensely powerful experience, and one that I’ve no doubt has struck fear into the hearts of many an enemy combatant over the centuries.

I say that because an unexpected surprise while visiting Victoria was stumbling across the Victoria Highland Games and bearing witness to that singularly unique and moving experience.

Now in its 153rd year – you read that right, 153 years and going strong — Victoria’s Topaz Park was awash in a sea of varied and colorful tartans as numerous clans gathered to participate in a weekend of games and contests: from piping and drumming, to dancing, to dry stone walling, to hammer throwing, to beer gardens. (That last one is a contest, no?) The weather mostly held, and it was a delight to say that I’ve stood in a middle of a field as several hundred bagpipe players marched by in full regalia, raising a storm of pride and passion with their playing.

(Click on a pic to embiggen and view the full gallery. You can also view these photos on our Flickr Photostream.)
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