Loch Norman Highland Games

Historic Rural Hill – Huntersville, NC

The Loch Norman Highland Games April 15-16, 2023 at Rural Hill is a family friendly event presented by Historic Rural Hill. Come and experience all the fun with Highland Dancing, Bagpipe Bands, Highland Athletics, a Giant Kid’s Zone, Scottish Merchants, Haggis, Celtic Rock and Traditional Performers, Historic Reenactments, Scottish Country Dancing, Sunday Church Service, Hearth Cooking, NC Beer and Wine, Whiskey Tastings, Kilted Running Events, Scottish Clan Societies, Shoot Long Bows and Blowguns, Throw a Battle Axe and so much more!

History Of The Games

Modern Scottish Festivals have their roots in the middle ages. We have reports of athletic competition (“Games”) at many times and places when people gathered together; fairs, military musters (“wapenschaws”), even funerals! Games which now feature track and field events, music, and dance have been held in the village of Ceres (in Fife) since shortly after the battle of Bannockburn in 1314.

Scottish Games as we know them today began to develop in 1781 when the Highland Society of Falkirk sponsored prize money and trophies for competitions in dancing, piping, and athletics during the town’s Fall Fair. In 1818 a Games was presented in St. Fillan’s with piping, athletics, and dancing (including the Sword Dance for the first time). Within a few years Gatherings were being held at many towns throughout Scotland. Many of these Gatherings are still being held today.

As Scots immigrated to far-flung lands they took their sport and culture with them. Tradition tells us that Games were held near Ellerbe, North Carolina in the late 1700s; most sources state that the first Games in the U.S. were presented by Scottish emigrants living in Boston in 1853. One source does state that the Boston Scots had been meeting for “traditional games” for several years before that. There is also a description of the “First Sportive Meet” of the Highland Society of New York in the Emigrant and Old Countryman of October 19, 1836 which gives some indication that regular competition took place during the first half of the 19th Century.

With the rise in intercollegiate athletics in the late 1800’s participation at Scottish Games went into a decline. Many events folded; the ones that survived refocused on their cultural heritage and expanded to become Festivals. Games and Festivals offer competition focused on traditional Scottish athletic events, dance and music; they have expanded to include “fun” competitions, non-competitive tests of skill and strength, and historical re-enactments.

The Scottish Games in the United States have grown because many people of Scottish descent still feel the pull of their ancestral homeland and heritage. The Games provide a connection to that heritage. For many, going to the Games is like going home to a family reunion.

Celebrating more than 250 years in history…Rural Hill is the former homestead of Major John and Violet Davidson. The 265-acre site is maintained and promoted by Historic Rural Hill Inc. and features annual events such as the Loch Norman Highland Games, the Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze, the Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials, and the NC Brewers and Music Festival. Historic Rural Hill Inc. is a non-profit organization supported through membership and donations, and with proceeds from its events utilized for the preservation of Historic Rural Hill and its education efforts. For more information on events please visit www.ruralhill.net.

Historic Rural Hill
4431 Neck Rd, Huntersville, NC 704 875 3113

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