Celebrating Scots heritage
Like the kilts of William Wallace’s men, attendance at the Hororata Highland Games continues to lift thanks to community support.
The pipes played, knights battled and cabers were tossed as a celebration of all things Scot hit Canterbury on Saturday. More than 10,000 people made the trip to the Hororata Community Trust’s annual event.
Event manager Cindy Driscoll said about 200 of the town’s 500-odd residents volunteered.
‘‘There is so much passion and so much pride that comes from our community, and that’s why it’s so special.’’
Driscoll said the community needed something after the September 2010 earthquake damaged many of the district’s buildings, and the February 2011 quake shifted the focus to the city.
‘‘Not just rebuild buildings, but to rebuild our community spirit and get our district moving again.’’
The games were the result. Ticket sales were up and competitions were at capacity with international competitors travelling for strongman competitions, she said.
‘‘We are now New Zealand’s biggest one-day highland dancing competition, which is massive.’’
Ashburton couple Luke and Lisa Sutton took their children, Lachlan, 7, and twins Rafe and Stephanie, 5 along. Luke said he the family made the most of the medieval section, where wood turner Scott Campbell made a children’s toy from an antique 17th century lathe and another man made chain mail.
‘‘I’ve quite a strong Scottish heritage ... this gives the kids the opportunity to experience it and for us to get a little bit more involved.’’
In the highland games themselves, the amateur women and mens champions were Julie Stechmon and David Jackaways respectively. In the Heavyweight Championship, first placed Jono MacFarlane broke a Hororata field record by tossing the 56lb weight more than 15.5 feet up, clearing the bar in the Weight for Height throw. In the Tug o’ War, market gardeners Grown took first place in the mixed while Bossman took out the mens division. Lucy Moore took home the Champion Highland Dancer title while the Canterbury Caledonian Society’s pipe band was crowned Band of the Day. Nigel Farrell shot his way to top place in the Small Bore Championship.
Bare-kneed competitors run for gloy down the kilted mile at the Hororata Highland Games.