Scottish clans out in force for highland games

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All roads led to the Hororata Domain on Saturday for the 10th annual Hororata Highland Games.

The event was first held in 2012 to help the small, rural community recover from the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the organisers of this year's games overcame uncertainty to help the community recover from the lockdown earlier this year.

Once again there was plenty of displays of strength in the heavy highland games event and there opportunities for all ages to try their hand at the various disciplines.

The Scottish clans were out in force at the specially set up "St Andrew's Square" and there was Scottish cuisine and beverages to sample.

Canterbury Scottish Council member Elwyn Martin said the gathering of the clans had grown from three clans in 2012, to 14 last year and 21 this year.

Clan Keith was slotted between traditional rivals Clans Donald and Campbell to keep the peace and displayed some weaponry to demonstrate its might.

Clan Keith convenor Ian Dickson demonstrated a couple of 18th century swords and a shield and had a pistol on display.

"Our traditional role at a highland games was to stand between Clan Campbell and Clan Donald who are ancient rivals."

Clan Keith convener Ian Dickson demonstrates a couple of 18th century swords and a shield at the...
Clan Keith convener Ian Dickson demonstrates a couple of 18th century swords and a shield at the Hororata Highland games earlier this month.

The Keith Clan chieftains were "the Great Earls Marischal of Scotland" until the 18th century when the chief of the day fought on the side of Bonnie Prince Charlie Stuart.

Mr Dickson said Keith was not a common surname these days, with Clan members using such surnames as Dickson, Marshall, Harvey and Faulkner, all in various spellings.

The New Zealand Society of Genealogists' Canterbury branch was also on hand to assist people in tracing their family history, whether Scottish or otherwise.

Committee member Natasha Wells says there was an upsurge in interest in family history during the lockdown.

"I have heard of a lot people say that they got into family history during lockdown.

Some people I think were a bit bored at home without work and so they were looking for something new to learn.

"Perhaps with all the family around the house you start telling stories and ask questions.

"I do always give people the caveat that it can be addictive, so be wary and be prepared and open minded for whatever surprises you might find."

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