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Grandfather Mountain - Highland Games

Updated on September 12, 2014

Almost anything Scottish...

“Let the games begin,” and thus all the planning and the merriment starts anew for another time of competition and rivalry on the slopes of the beloved Grandfather Mountain, the most visited landmark in all of North Carolina. One could search the world over and not find a more fitting place more indicative of the highlands of Scotland than those found nestled within the Appalachia Mountains between Tennessee and North Carolina. Come and join in the celebration of your Scottish ancestry and cheer your clan on during the games held daily at MacRae Meadows just inside the entrance gate. Last evening, the festivities begin for this year’s celebration, and run through the weekend or through Sunday, the 10th. It’s just started, so you still have time, but you must hurry to get in on the fun, food costumes, dancing to Scottish music, field games and much more. You can even purchase your tartans and kilts under the many vendors’ tents providing almost anything Scottish. It’s been said that one can have so much fun just experiencing these events that you might just find yourself longing for the mother country, even if you can’t claim Scotland as your own homeland.

Scottish Highlander
Scottish Highlander

Galic and mountain music...

This is the 56th ‘gathering of the clans’ and each year there seems to be more and more added making this a major attraction each year in our area. I live just 55 miles from ‘Grandfather’ and yet the local motels are full of visiting tourists who drive the short distance daily to attend and/or participate in the festivities. Of course those who like to camp there are many campgrounds and RV parks to accommodate everyone. Some even hike in via the Appalachian Trail that crosses nearby. No matter your mode of travel this one event is well worth your time and effort. So, if you like to hear the bagpipes, fife and drums plus a local mixture of fiddling and mountain music, you owe it to yourself to try and make it to the Highland Games at least once in your lifetime. Chances are, after your first experience you’ll be back.

Besides the games themselves there is much to do in this area. Grandfather Mountain also holds claim to the Mile High Swinging Bridge suspended over a mile above sea level and on a clear day it is said one can see the skyscrapers of Charlotte 80 air-miles away. You can also view Mount Mitchell, the highest mountain east of the Rocky Mountains as well as Big Tom and even Roan Mountain in Tennessee home of the recent Rhododendron Festival just a few weeks ago. There are also many hiking trails branching out as well as a wild life habitat featuring many of the animals’ native to this area to include deer, black bear, otters, foxes and wolves as well as the bald eagle, mountain lion, panther and a variety of reptiles.

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Fresh, clean, mountain air...

The mountain itself reaches an elevation of 5946 feet and host many vistas, overlooks, a visitor center as well as a Nature Museum, restaurant and many picnic areas. It’s likely, if you’re an early riser, you might just awake within a cloud but later in the mornings the sun dries up the lower surface moisture. You best pack a jacket too, because the air can turn right nippy after the sun goes down each evening Hurry up now, you’ve still got time to make it all this year…

© 2011 SamSonS


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  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Fiddleman for your comments. The games are always a great 'draw'...

  • Fiddleman profile image

    Robert Elias Ballard 6 years ago from Zirconia, North Carolina

    Great hub my nephew was there as a participant

  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

    thank you my friend for the follow and stopping by. I found myself in Thailand once and loved it, but was working for the government(USAF) in 1968...

  • PETER LUMETTA profile image

    PETER LUMETTA 6 years ago from KENAI, ALAKSA

    Sounds like fun, hope I get to see it, for the bucket list. Thanks Peter.

  • samsons1 profile image

    Sam 6 years ago from Tennessee

    thanks Brett for your faithfulness. I really appreciate your comments and replies, and I just took care of that 'other thing' you mentioned. Look forward to working with you and thanks always for the fine ratings...

  • Brett.Tesol profile image

    Brett Caulton 6 years ago from Thailand

    Nice hub, voted up and awesome.

    Looks like a fun time is had by all and a good bit of extra fun for the girls too, as they always seem to be intrigued by men in kilts ;-) lol