Round Hill Highland Games

storyTo the sound of drums and pipes, clans used to arrive at the Greenwich, Connecticut, train station. From there, they’d march to Charles A. Moore’s estate at Round Hill where, in 1923, he held the first annual gathering of the Scots.

The current location has changed, but Moore’s summer celebrations live on. “We are the third oldest games in the US, so we want to keep the tradition going,” says Margo Mattice, President of the Round Hill Highland Games. “We have many Scots in this area, and some have been coming to the Games for 40-plus years straight!”

Norwalk, Connecticut, is the current home of the Games. “The grounds of Cranbury Park against the backdrop of the stone Gallagher Mansion are just beautiful,” muses Mattice. “People really love the setting and always comment on the beauty of the great lawn and the groves of trees.”

Highlights this year include Scottish rock band Mac Talla M’Or, harpist Haley Hewitt, Maggie Carchrie teaching the Highland Fling and Gaelic and, for the first time, whisky tasting.

Heavyweight, dance, and pipe and drum competitors come from across the country, but Round Hill also encourages participation from all Scots and Scots-at-heart. Foot races, Scottish country dance and rolling-pin tosses are just some of the ways to engage, and Round Hill is the only games to allow newbies to toss a caber!

“We have some wonderful children’s competitions, including running races and tug-of-war,” adds Mattice. “Unique parent-child races are so much fun for everyone.”

The Clan Village is also a favourite. “The clans assist people in tracing their roots back to Scotland,” says Mattice, while kids can gather stamps in their “Scottish Passport” from each tribe.

“Everyone should go to a Scottish Highland Games festival at least once in their lifetime,” Mattice offers. “If you come, be sure to stay for the closing ceremonies when hundreds of pipers and drummers play Amazing Grace!”