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Highland Adventures: Your Complete NH Highland Games Handbook

For more NH Events check out the calendar: NH Events

NH highland games & festival sept 20-22


Immerse yourself in the vibrant culture and rich traditions of Scotland at the NH Highland Games, held amidst the stunning backdrop of the White Mountains in New Hampshire. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll take you on a journey through the best events, accommodations, and packing essentials to ensure you make the most of this unforgettable experience. Whether you’re a seasoned attendee or a first-time visitor, prepare to be captivated by the music, athleticism, and spirit of the NH Highland Games.


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The Best Events at the NH Highland Games

Sheep Dog Trials:

Prepare to be amazed by the incredible skill and agility of sheepdogs as they compete in thrilling trials, showcasing their remarkable herding abilities. Watch in awe as these highly trained dogs demonstrate their precision, speed, and intelligence while maneuvering flocks of sheep through challenging obstacles. It’s a captivating spectacle that highlights the unique bond between humans and their canine companions, making the Sheep Dog Trials a must-see event at the NH Highland Games.

Listen to Bagpipes at the Opening Ceremony:

Immerse yourself in the rich and stirring sounds of Scotland as skilled bagpipers perform at the captivating Opening Ceremony. Let the haunting melodies of the bagpipes transport you to the rugged landscapes and ancient traditions of the Scottish Highlands. This timeless and evocative musical experience sets the tone for the entire festival, infusing it with a sense of history, pride, and cultural heritage. Don’t miss this opportunity to witness the grandeur and majesty of the bagpipes at the NH Highland Games’ Opening Ceremony.

Visit the Clan Tents at NH Highland Games:

Embark on a journey of discovery as you explore the Clan Tents, where Scottish heritage comes alive. Delve into the rich tapestry of your family’s history and traditions as you connect with your clan members and learn about your ancestral roots. Engage in conversations with knowledgeable clan representatives who are eager to share stories, insights, and information about your lineage. Whether you’re tracing your family tree or simply curious about Scottish heritage, the Clan Tents offer a unique opportunity to deepen your connection to the past and forge new bonds with fellow clan members.

Enjoy the Music:

Immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of Scottish and Gaelic music that fills the festival grounds with its enchanting melodies and vibrant rhythms. From the haunting strains of the bagpipes to the rhythmic beats of traditional instruments like the fiddle and harp, the music at the NH Highland Games & Festival offers a diverse array of musical experiences.

Stages are strategically placed throughout the grounds, ensuring that festival-goers are treated to a continuous lineup of live performances. Crowd favorites like Albannach and The Red Hot Chilli Pipers grace the stages multiple times, captivating audiences with their electrifying performances. Albannach, in particular, is known for their dynamic shows that infuse traditional Scottish music with contemporary flair, while The Red Hot Chilli Pipers bring their unique fusion of rock and traditional Celtic sounds to the forefront.

For those seeking a more traditional Scottish musical experience, artists specializing in the fiddle and harp deliver soul-stirring performances that transport listeners to the heart of Scotland’s cultural heritage. Additionally, American Rogues, renowned for their stirring rendition of “The Gael,” offer a captivating blend of traditional Scottish tunes infused with their own distinct style. Having performed alongside the U.S. Air Force Symphony and entertained troops worldwide, American Rogues bring a unique energy and passion to their performances that resonates with audiences of all ages.

Watch the Athletic Events:

Prepare to be mesmerized by the awe-inspiring displays of strength and athleticism at the NH Highland Games & Festival’s athletic events. From traditional Scottish games to thrilling competitions, these events showcase the endurance and prowess of the participating athletes.

The highlight of the athletic events is undoubtedly the caber toss, where formidable competitors demonstrate their strength by hurling a massive telephone pole-like caber. Witness the intense excitement as these strongmen strive to flip the caber to the 12:00 position, showcasing their remarkable power and precision.

In addition to the caber toss, spectators can enjoy a variety of other traditional events throughout the day. Marvel at the weight-over-bar challenge, where athletes attempt to hurl a 56-pound weight over a bar that increases in height with each successful toss. Similarly, the sheath toss and stone put competitions test the competitors’ strength and skill as they aim for victory.

As you watch these events unfold, you’ll be in awe of the sheer power and athleticism on display, making the athletic field a must-visit destination for all attendees of the NH Highland Games & Festival.

Attend a Traditional Highland Dance:

Step back in time and witness the captivating Traditional Highland Dance performances at the NH Highland Games & Festival, where centuries-old Scottish traditions come to life. Experience the exhilarating blend of athleticism, grace, and tradition as skilled dancers adorned in vibrant kilts showcase the artistry of Highland dancing.

Dating back to the 11th century, Highland dances were originally male celebratory dances, reflecting triumph and joy. It’s fascinating to imagine warriors, fresh from battle, engaging in these highly athletic dances. In fact, historical records indicate that old kings and clan chiefs often used Highland dancing as a means to select their best men at arms, as it tested their strength, stamina, accuracy, and agility.

Today, Highland dancing has evolved into a vibrant competition that welcomes participants of all ages and genders. Dancers are judged on their timing, technique, and spirit as they perform a variety of traditional dances. Keep an eye out for the Highland Fling, the oldest of the Scottish dances, known for its energetic and intricate footwork.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply drawn to the beauty of Scottish culture, attending a Traditional Highland Dance performance offers a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in the rich heritage of Scotland and witness the enduring legacy of its traditional dances.

Visit All of the Vendors NH Highland Game:

Embark on a journey of discovery through the bustling Vendor Village at the NH Highland Games & Festival, where an eclectic array of Scottish merchandise and souvenirs awaits. From traditional kilts and tartans to unique piping supplies and accessories, there’s something to captivate every visitor’s imagination and delight every discerning shopper.

As you wander through the vibrant marketplace, immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and scents of Scottish culture. Explore stalls brimming with intricately woven tartans, meticulously crafted kilts, and an assortment of piping supplies, offering a glimpse into the rich tapestry of Scottish heritage.

Indulge your senses as you sample authentic Scottish delicacies and savor the flavors of traditional festival fare. Engage with knowledgeable vendors who are passionate about sharing their expertise and heritage, offering insights into the significance of each handcrafted item.

Whether you’re seeking the perfect souvenir to commemorate your Highland Games experience or simply yearning to immerse yourself in the vibrant ambiance of Vendor Village, a visit to all the vendors promises an unforgettable journey of discovery and delight.

Try Traditional Scottish Food:

Embark on a culinary adventure and tantalize your taste buds with the rich and flavorful delights of traditional Scottish cuisine at the NH Highland Games & Festival. From hearty meat pies to savory haggis and delectable scotch eggs, an array of mouthwatering delicacies awaits at food tents scattered throughout the festival grounds.

Savor the warmth and comfort of freshly baked meat pies, filled with succulent meats and savory seasonings, offering a taste of Scotland’s culinary heritage. Delight in the earthy richness of haggis, a traditional Scottish dish made from seasoned sheep’s offal, encased in a savory casing and expertly prepared to perfection.

Indulge in the classic allure of scotch eggs, perfectly cooked eggs enveloped in a golden crust of seasoned sausage meat, offering a delightful blend of textures and flavors in every bite. As you wander through the festival, follow your senses to the tantalizing aromas wafting from food tents, where skilled chefs and artisans work tirelessly to create culinary masterpieces that pay homage to Scotland’s rich culinary traditions.

Whether you’re a seasoned connoisseur of Scottish cuisine or a curious newcomer eager to explore new flavors, a journey through the festival’s food tents promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience that will leave you craving more.

Take a Whiskey Master Class at NH Highland Games:

Delve into the exquisite world of Scottish whisky with our exclusive Whiskey Master Class at the NH Highland Games & Festival. Experience an enlightening journey through the rich heritage and craftsmanship behind Scotland’s iconic spirit, guided by knowledgeable experts who will unlock the secrets of single malt whiskies.

Indulge your senses as you explore a curated selection of premium Scotch whiskies, each meticulously crafted to showcase the distinctive flavors and characteristics of Scotland’s diverse whisky regions. From smoky Islay malts to elegant Speyside expressions, discover the unique profiles and complexities that define each whisky style.

The Whiskey Master Class is a ticketed event priced at $30, offering a limited number of seats to ensure an intimate and immersive tasting experience. Due to its popularity, tickets for this exclusive session tend to sell out quickly, so we recommend booking in advance to secure your spot. Please note that participants must be at least 21 years of age to attend.

Expand your palate and deepen your appreciation for Scotland’s revered spirit with our Whiskey Master Class, a must-attend event for whisky enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike.

Ride the Gondola:

Ascend to new heights and behold the awe-inspiring vistas of the White Mountains with a scenic journey aboard Loon Mountain’s gondola skyride. Within minutes, this remarkable ride transports you to the summit, where panoramic views of the surrounding landscape await.

Experience the thrill of soaring high above the treetops as you glide effortlessly to the mountain peak. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking breathtaking vistas, the gondola offers a convenient and exhilarating way to explore the beauty of the region.

During the foliage season, the vibrant colors painting the landscape in hues of red, orange, and gold. Capture the essence of autumn as you gaze out over the rolling hills and valleys below. Immers yourself in the natural splendor of New Hampshire’s fall foliage.

Don’t miss the opportunity to embark on this unforgettable journey and discover the unparalleled beauty of the White Mountains from a bird’s-eye perspective. Whether you’re seeking adventure or simply craving a moment of tranquility, the gondola skyride promises an unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Explore the Caves:

Embark on an adventure into the enchanting caves that dot the landscape surrounding the festival grounds, and uncover the hidden wonders of the New Hampshire wilderness. As you navigate through these mysterious caverns, you’ll be captivated by the natural beauty and geological marvels that await.

For those who ascend to the mountain peak via the gondola, don’t miss the opportunity to explore the glacial caves nestled amidst the rugged terrain. Carved by the forces of nature over thousands of years, these ancient caverns offer a glimpse into the region’s geological history and provide a fascinating backdrop for exploration.

Step inside these subterranean realms and marvel at the intricate formations sculpted by the passage of time. From towering stalactites to winding passageways, each cave offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience for adventurers of all ages.

As you traverse the labyrinthine depths of these natural wonders, immerse yourself in the tranquility of the surroundings and embrace the sense of wonder that accompanies every discovery. Whether you’re an avid spelunker or simply curious to explore, the caves offer a captivating glimpse into the beauty and diversity of New Hampshire’s wilderness.

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