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The noon parade at the Highland Celtic games

A taste of the Highlands

The hot temperatures and scorching sun this past weekend didn&

t stop Jim Spiva of Vallejo, Calif., from driving 7 1/2 hours up for the fifth year in a row to attend the Celtic Highland Games and Clan Gathering in Winston. Spiva has been playing the Scottish bagpipes for 17 years. His black and white sheltie, who howls along with the pipes, was at the festival too.

— — — Lenora Sprock spins wool in the traditional Scottish — manner.

— —

&

I don&

t have an Irish surname but I have Irish blood in my veins,&

said Spiva proudly, adding that he likes the family feel of the Winston Games. &

This is a small intimate Games, with all the fun and none of the hassles. You feel like you&

re with friends and neighbors, and you get to talk to everybody.&

Playing bagpipes at the entrance alongside Spiva, Heidi Wood of Roseburg nodded in agreement. Wood said she started playing pipes 10 years ago when her father, out of the blue, asked her if she wanted to learn. &

He thought our name was English,&

Wood, whose maiden name is Lamb, admitted. &

But he found out it was actually Scottish.&

To discover more about their heritage, her father, her brother, and Wood took up study of the pipes. Of the three, Wood said she is the most accomplished piper.

The gathering included booths bursting with a motley of plaid, weaponry, Irish and Scottish books, jewelry and other trinkets. Many in the crowd were armed with dirks (a dirk is a large Scottish double edged dagger), wearing kilts, and sporting sporrans (a front pouch that serves as a pocket &

because kilts don&

t have any). There were racks of swords for sale, especially the two-handed kind called a claymore, distinctive to the Scottish Highlands.

The food on hand was also traditional (besides the requisite funnel cakes and lemonade that no festival would be complete without). One booth served Scottish meat pies made with spicy beef and oats, as well as shepherd&

s pie; and another food tent served haggis (a sheep&

s stomach filled with ground sheep heart, oats, blood, and spices that is tied off and boiled). Several tents offered teas, biscuits, oats, and candy imported from Ireland and Scotland.

Sheep herding demonstrations aside, perhaps the biggest attraction of the two-day festival were the games themselves &

dozens of spectators sat under the hot sun enjoying the sight of men in kilts throwing telephone poles.

The Highland Games are a set of competitive sporting events traditional to Scotland, and athletes came from around the region to compete in Winston, where the world championship was held last year.

— — — Preston Marshall of Newburg wears a &

great kilt,&

— attire appropriate to the Highlands of 1745.

— —

Southern Oregon native Dan Taylor, who weighs in at 265 pounds though he is only 5 foot 11, drove down from Vancouver, Wash., to compete in the over-50 Masters category this year. Sporting a green plaid kilt and a sweaty green T-shirt, Taylor was competing against only one other person in his category. For two days, Taylor and his opponent would tackle such athlete feats as the caber toss (throwing a tree trunk the size of a small telephone pole end-over-end for distance), the free stone (throwing a huge natural rock for distance), and the hammer (throwing a four-foot pole capped with an enormous metal sphere for distance).

&

The biggest challenge (to competing in the Games) is your health,&

said Taylor, who recently recovered from a rotator cuff injury from swinging such heavy weights. He plans to go to the world championship next year, in Inverness, Scotland, he said, if he can stay free from injury. Mingled with American accents are Scottish and Irish voices, evidence that people from the Old World are enjoying this New World&

s rendition of traditional games.