A Few Kilts Can Thaw a November Chill

NH Highland Games sky

I recently attended two very different Scottish Highland Games – one in New Hampshire and the other in Georgia. Both these USA-based gatherings had one thing in common…kilts in a wide variety of Tartans.

historical kilts

A Tartan is a plaid of certain colors that pertain to a clan or family that have traced their roots to Scotland. Many ‘Ancient’ tartans, or plaids, have muted colors. Before weaving, the original homemakers of the early centuries dyed the wool strands by using bugs, berries, grasses, and the like. Today’s tartans are more brilliant and though most are still woven of wool with a multitude of pleats at the back, others are made in solid colors of waterproof duck or soft cotton blends. Many of these have wider and fewer pleats and even add-on pockets. Some choose a military branch’s specific pattern.

kilts

Whatever a person chooses to wear, these men, women, marching band members and even performing musicians wear their plaids with pride. Here is a link to a video of one of favorite groups, Albannach, who played at the September 2018 NH Highland Games   https://youtu.be/uENuWEoFwOk     Listening to them was a pleasure!

Other sites, including the kilted athletes, were not to be missed. I am glad we were able to attend both and I gained quite a few plot ideas for future books!

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A Taste of Scotland in Photos

I recently returned from volunteering at the New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival, held each autumn at Loon Mountain Ski Area in Lincoln, NH.

The weather was unseasonably hot, so my dress stuck to me, and I can imagine how hot the thousands of men wearing heavy wool kilts were coping. Not even the leaves had yet changed color!

Here are a few photos to give you a taste of ‘Highland games’, which are held in many U.S. states and Canada.

2015 NH Highland Games 042 x-Lincoln Police in Kilt 2015 NHHG and Westford 004

I take notes and photos while soaking in the flavors, sounds, and sights in order to write Scottish romance.

Nancy Lee Badger

See all my books HERE

Highland Games: Research and Kilts!

2014 NHHG Games 006I have written several novellas that wove a tale around Scottish dragons, and used my love of modern Scottish Highland Games to weave tales of time travel, and ancient Highlanders. Since my family volunteers annually at the New Hampshire Highland Games every September, I filled notebook after notebook with my interpretation of the sights, smells, sounds, and history of the games.

What do modern games have to do with a story of ancient Highlanders? I use modern day people and ancient Scottish folk, then twist their lives around Highland games and hunky athletes in kilts.

I fill my romance novels with sexual tension, costumes, weaponry, sports, 2013 NHHG 026food, craft displays, music, and vendors beneath tents selling everything under the sun. The aroma of meat pies mingles with the tang of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Sheep, herded by a border collie, run near tent-covered platforms where pretty girls dance a Highland fling. Bagpipers march while craftspeople spin wool or tell tales to kids; these are a few of the tastes, sounds, and sights that have found their way into my paranormal books.

Hubby and I are proud members of Clan Gunn and Clan MacBean. Dozens of clan tents at the games help visitors discover their heritage.

If you stop by the games this month, please stop at the Information tent and say ‘hi’ to me! For more info about these annual games click HERE. I have six titles with the Scottish time travel themes. Please check them out today!

three books-HGTT

All three books in the

HIGHLAND GAMES THROUGH TIME series

shown above are available FREE for Kindle Unlimited Users

three books-KATT

These are the latest three books in the

KILTED ATHLETES THROUGH TIME series

that are available everywhere.

Check all of Nancy’s Book links HERE

Scotland the Brave

2014 NHHG Games 074Scottish Highland Games are near and dear to me, and I have used my visits and volunteer ‘work’ as the catalyst to creat my various books based at the games. At the fictional New England Highland games, my characters work the vendor tents, cook the Scottish foods such as meat pies, bridies, or shortbread, serve the beer and whisky, and try their prowess at various athletic events.

Watching the pipe bands strut their stuff is enjoyable and I would like to share a video I took of the massed bands marching together to the tune of Scotland the Brave. These bands are from all over the USA, Canada, and Scotland and never practiced together before showing off their marching skills.

Enjoy!

Video by Nancy Lee Badger

See all my books set at Highland Games here and in ancient Scotland by visiting my Blog <BOOK> page HERE

 …and here are a few photos from the 2014 New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival:

 

  2014 NHHG Games 020 2014 NHHG Games 003

 

Highlands Games make Great Research Trips

 

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After writing several novellas about Scottish dragons, I wanted to use my love of modern Scottish Highland Games to weave tales full of witches, time travel, and ancient Highlanders. Since my family volunteers annually at the New Hampshire Highland Games held each September in Lincoln, NH, I filled notebook after notebook with my interpretation of the sights, smells, sounds, and history of the games. I filled albums with great photos, too.

This in-person research added to my list of possible story ideas. I have since completed a three-book series called Highland Games Through Time and have recently published My Lady Highlander, the first book in the Kilted Athletes Through Time series.

MyHonorableHighlander-Large My_Banished_Highlander-SW My_Reluctant_Highlander_Kindle

***find all the buy links HERE

What do modern games have to do with a story of ancient Highlanders? Well, my present-day characters volunteer at the games. Somehow, each are swept back in time. This allows me to set my story in today’s modern times as well as in the historical Highlands of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.

Besides the costumes and weaponry people wear to these festivals, there are sports, food, craft displays, music, and vendors beneath tents, selling everything under the sun. The aroma of meat pies mingles with the tang of fresh-squeezed lemonade. Sheep, herded by Border Collies, run near tent-covered platforms where pretty girls dance a Highland fling. Bagpipers march while craftspeople spin wool or tell tales to kids.

The modern games are so much more than an athletic competition yet watching burly, kilt-wearing men tossing a tree called a ‘caber’ end-over-end is a favorite sight.

Historically, the games were a way to hone skills. Coming together once or twice a year gave a community a sense of camaraderie during a time of upheaval in Scotland. Skill, stamina, and determination easily kept young Highlanders ready for war, or any threat to their livestock and women. Foot races kept messengers ready should they need to spread the word of a battle. Using simple tools such as stones, hammers and the occasional sack of hay kept their back and leg muscles ready for hand-to-hand combat. All events sharpened a warrior’s body and kept him ready-and-able to answer the call to war.

Nowadays, people of Scottish descent gather all across America and in many Canadian provinces for a few days of fun and pride while wearing festive kilts and Highland gowns. Clan tents share a wealth of information, listing the many ‘septs’ included in each clan as well as books on tartans. Visiting several of these festivals each year continues to give me ideas that might show up in my next book.

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