updated 10/4/2005
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Photos courtesy of Isobel MacDonald, Colleen McAvoy, Elheran Francis, Michael Bentley

NCCC, Aberdour and Tayforth at the Blairgowrie Highland Games 2006

The second day of matches in the Northern California Camanachd Club's second visit to Scotland - the Blairgowrie Highland Games. Tayforth and Aberdour and NCCC players celebrate after the day's play (a closeup).

For more photos from our 2006 Scottish matches go here.

THE NCCC RETURNS TO SCOTLAND (2 & 3 September 2006)
Musselburgh and Blairgowrie, Scotland

The NCCC returned to Scotland in 2006, our second visit, and played matches in both Musselburgh and Blairgowrie! It was a bit of a reprise of our 2005 activities, but with a few twists.

This year the Levenhall Sixes (in its 2nd Annual installment) was played on Saturday (Sept. 2) afternoon and we enjoyed some of the most "Scottish" weather of our whole trip, a sustained drizzle. Despite the weather our spirits were not in the least dampened, and we enjoyed our matches with both Aberdour and Edinburgh East Lothian. The much improved and youthful Aberdour team managed a decisive 7-0 win despite some energetic play on the NCCC side. The next game featured Edinburgh East Lothian and Aberdour, with EEL managing a 2-0 victory - was this a bad omen for our last match? Apparently not as we faired better than might have been expected, holding EEL to one tally in the first half and eventually falling 3-0. Although the scores were more lopsided we generally felt as if we played a better this year than last, employed better strategy and played with better technique. In addition, the young Aberdour side has grown and improved immensely since we saw them last year and their roster includes several players for the Scotland Juniors side - a bit unfortunate for us, I'd say!

Afterward we enjoyed some refreshments and lots of shinty talk at the local pub, The Levenhall Arms. Presentations were made, including a handmade caman from the NCCC's own Ron Blair which has given to Edinburgh East Lothian's Captain Jon Gerard on behalf of the NCCC. Another interesting note, we were filmed (at Musselburgh) for a shinty documentary which aired the evening before the 2006 Camanachd Cup Final (9/15/06) - so nice to be included in such a venture!

Ron Blair's hand-made caman is presented to Jon Gerard or EEL
Ron Blair's hand-made caman is presented to Jon Gerard or EEL

On Sunday (3 Sept.) we participated in the Blairgowrie Highland Games for the second time, playing matches against Tayforth and Aberdour as part of a three team tournament. The day began with some rain, but by the time we were on the field and warming up the weather was clearing. The shinty clubs marched in the opening ceremonies and then headed back to the pitch to begin play. The first match was between Aberdour and Tayforth, with Aberdour fielding a somewhat different side than they had on Saturday. In the end Tayforth played to a 4-2 victory, and both teams were subjected to an American referee (the NCCC's Michael Bentley), which must have been a first for them! Next up we played Aberdour and fought to a 4-0 score, a bit of a "comeback" from Saturday's result. In the final match the NCCC played Tayforth and in the second half Bruce Norris scored the first goal of our trip, slamming the ball into the net from the top of the D. The final score of 4-1 reflected the improvements that the our side managed to make over the course of the weekend.

A pre-match panorama at the Blairgowrie Highland Games
A pre-match panorama at the Blairgowrie Highland Games

After the tournament the Blair Oliphants hosted all the players to a wonderful reception. The Provost of Perth spoke, and we all enjoyed a great local beer from the Inveralmond Brewery! And we also enjoyed the company of several Livermore Scottish Games committee members who were attending the both this event and previous weekend's Birnam Games - a little bit more of California in Perthshire!

It was a fantastic adventure and we are very much looking forward to our return next year to participate in Highland 2007!

For more photos from our 2006 Scottish matches go here.