I am just back from a trip to Scotland. It was a dream vacation for me—a return to the land of my forefathers, so to speak. My grandmother’s family tree was bursting with “Mc’s.” The photo that I share is appropriate to my blog—it is of me and my son at the Clava Cairns, a site with prehistoric burial cairns and standing stones near Inverness.
But, after visiting castles, battlefields, and lochs, I was having a hard time concentrating on a North Carolina travel topic. And, then I thought of North Carolina’s own rich Scottish heritage. Many Scottish emigrants, Highland, Lowland, and Ulster (Scots-Irish), have made an impact on our state.
One of Scotland’s most beloved heroines, Flora MacDonald, lived in North Carolina for awhile. There is no shortage of reminders of the Scottish influence in North Carolina: place names, pipe and drum bands, highland games, and heritage societies. The Museum of the Cape Fear in Fayetteville interprets that area’s strong Scottish history. The Scottish Tartans Museum in Highlands showcases the history of Scottish tartans and Highland clothing.
A great way to get a taste of Scotland without having to take a trans-Atlantic flight is to check out some of the Highland games that occur around North Carolina throughout the year. Among the events are the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games, the Triad Highland Games, the Rural Hill Scottish Festival & Loch Norman Highland Games, and the Scotland County Highland Games.
I will be back to reality next week with more North Carolina history—posts will become more occasional, focusing on special events and happenings—as the summer travel season comes to a close.