June 30, 2001 - BC Highland Games

A new camera, a day in the sun; a new digital camera, bagpipe music; a new state-of-the-art digital camera, a day out with the family; a new really fancy state-of-the-art digital camera, and a Highland Games, but not just any Highland Games,  the 70th B.C. Highland Games - oh, did I mention the new camera (Yaa hoo)..

I would have had a great time anywhere - it is so nice to be outside doing things, seeing friends, taking pictures (did I mention......?)  but... This games is one of the best ... A wonderful combination of the best of Scottish (lots of things happening all the time), Canadian (great music and bands, well run for the bands), and USA (a lot of effort to ensure the entertainment of the large audience) style Highland games. Really well organised, very well attended, full of interesting activities and events, and a great success by any measure....

Venue - A beautiful stadium - covered grandstands a gentle green grassy hill (as opposed to the brown grass often seen outside the Pacific Northwest), a track, and a great (green) grass infield.
thefield.jpg (25749 bytes)
These three photos were taken with a (new.. did I mention I bought lenses too?) wide angle lens,  from the hill, looking toward the stadium. In the centre left you can see the vendor (they're in the tents) area,  and behind that the covered grandstands (Click on photo for a larger version -70K)

dance.jpg (11401 bytes)To the right in the photo  above, was the dance area.  In the photo to the left, you can see the dance competition area and another view of the covered grandstands. (Click on the photo to see a larger version - 41K)

Weather - it was great - warm, sunny, with a slight breeze for much of the day.  Many pink faces at the end of the day testified to the excellent weather.

crowd.jpg (14137 bytes)Spectators - filled to capacity, and more I think. And events were set up to make the viewing even more enjoyable. Dance shows, between band events, wandering fiddler, and great announcing.  

This photo was taken as the SFU PB came to play their competition Medley.  (Click on the image to see a larger version - 60k)

Grade 2 and 1 bands played an MSR and a Medley, on the track, in front of the very full grandstands.

Solo piping and drumming events filled the morning.

These are, I think, among the best run outdoor games we see all year.

jorip.jpg (8033 bytes)Jori Chisholm is playing his Piobaireachd for judge Jack Lee (Jori won this Professional event) (Click on the photo for a larger version - 39K)

Each of the solo events was setup as you see here - a roped (ribboned?) off area for the competitor, a table and sun shade for the judge - and each judge has a steward to keep things running smoothly.  A lot of work to setup, but it works so well!

drumsol.jpg (4263 bytes)The photo to the right is amusing I think (probably because I'm the dad) -  Two solo (Grade 1) drummers are competing, with their pipers - foreground Carly Coulson plays her HP/Jig with piper Liz Dunsire, background Grant Maxwell  plays his MSR with piper Alison Dunsire - (Click on the photo for a larger version 47K)

vanpol.jpg (12365 bytes)vanpoldr.jpg (3898 bytes)After solo events were complete, but before  the band competitions , a Marching and Deportment contest is held - in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd. 

This is a very popular event with the crowd, and very interesting for the bands too.  Won  year by the Vancouver Police PB - I think you can tell, from the photos, that they do this very (very) well indeed..(Click on photos for a larger version - 67K - 53K)

The Band competitions are a great feature of these games. Grades 3, 2, and 1 each compete with a Medley and an MSR. Great shows! And it is easy to get good viewing positions too.

rmm5.jpg (5648 bytes)In this photo the RMM Grade 5 band (with no drummers!) is 'competing' -  this is really just for the experience for the youngsters.  Pipe Major Rob MacNeil (!) leads a  large group of small pipers - you can see a bit more than half the 'circle' here.  (Click on photo for larger version - 50k)

pipedrum1.jpg (6270 bytes) pipedrum2.jpg (4419 bytes)Sighted by your very aware (and tipped off) photo-guy-Bob..

This (unnamed - for his own protection) grade 4 band piper, and just a short time later, his identical 'twin' self, as lead drummer in a Grade 3 band.

No hat, no jacket.. is this a disguise?  (Just kidding here.. the entire band was casual - it was a warm day.)

No larger version of these photos.. just a fun thing to share..


sfupbshows.jpg (14247 bytes)After the Grade 3 and 4 bands competed, but before the Grade 1 and 2 bands started, the SFU PB put on a show - singing, dancing and piping - Really!  (How many pipe bands include singing in their shows? It is now a standard part of the SFU PB show)  Great stuff indeed, the large crowd loved it - to say the least.. Click on the image for a large version - 77K.

skye.jpg (4843 bytes)One of the many details that creates a wonderful, memorable, and well run Highland games is a knowledgeable and experienced announcer.  In this photo to the right is main grandstand announcer Skye Richendrfer   'at work' as he announces results to the massed bands at the end of the day.

(For those who don't know - Skye is a former member of the SFU PB, he is a piping judge, he sponsors the Mt. Vernon Highland games,  he is Mayor of Mt. Vernon, and there is a lot more..) Click on the photo for a larger version - 34K.

massb.jpg (8883 bytes)Speaking of massed bands: Here is how it looked at the end. This photo was taken from the grandstands - beer tent (a popular place) is to the right just out of sight in the photo, and the crowd has left the opening for the bands to exit. Click on the photo for a larger version - 49K.

duncan.jpg (8137 bytes)Also spotted in massed bands, (within the drumming section, as the Grade 1 & 2 bands enter),  Duncan Millar with the largest 'tenor' drum  seen by this photographer (he borrowed the drum for massed bands from the Grade 2 Maple Ridge PB).  Duncan was having a great time with this, and that smile stayed on his  face the whole time..  The drum sounded pretty cool too...  Click on the photo for a larger version - 55K.

mbkidst.jpg (4655 bytes)And finally - a shot into the massed Grade 3 & 4 bands, as they left the assembly area. We have lots of very young pipers here.

Click on the image for a larger version -  125K.

I have a new digital camera (Canon EOS D30) and with it I was fully out of control and took 241 photos at the Games on Saturday.  I wanted one photo  showing a bit more of what my new camera can do. Even the larger image is still a long way down in quality from the original (which was 1,500K in this case) digital image - But - yep, I'm having fun....

I really do appreciate the feedback, please keep those cards and letters coming..

Click here for BC Highland Games results

Return to the Western Piping News Home Page

since July 1, 2001