Highland Games, California Style

“The Seaside Highland Games in Ventura, California, is one of the biggest Highland Games in the US. With its mix of pipe bands, country dancing, clan stalls and heavy athletic trials, it could be a Highland Games in Scotland. The sweltering heat, the majestic palm trees and the fact that every kilt-wearer speaks with a full-on American accent reminds you quickly though that we are eight thousand miles away from heather, peat and misty glens.

While in California on assignment I decided to go along to the Seaside Games and meet California’s Scottish diaspora. As the attendees are incredibly keen despite the heat, to don Scottish regalia and tartan, I was looking forward to shooting some portraits and talk to some of these third and fourth generation Scottish emigrants about their ancestry.

What was surprising to me was how many of those people who agree to pose thought it imperative that Scotland become independent. Several expressed the view that Scotland had more going for it in the way of history and grandeur than other independent nations and that the being part of the UK was holding back Scotland from maximising its potential and its resources. I was unsure whether these views were overly-sentimentalised notions of a country only a few had ever visited, but the views expressed were certainly deeply-held.”

– Stephen McLaren.

Hollen and Chase McKinnon, from Granada Hills, California
Jonathan McGregor, from Oxnard, California
William Hoover, Gary Harper, and Gary McMaster of “Bydand Forever,” The Gordon Highlanders of 1882.
Seaside Highland Games Security. Richard Jackson and Richard Lavallee, of Simi Valley, California
Chris Payne, US Navy, Based in San Diego, California
Stephanie Graham and Joshua Morgan
Mike Adams and Stephanie Adams, Clan Bell International, from Long Beach, Caifornia
Heather MacDonald, Heavy Athletics female champion, Torrance, California
Ron and Darla Shelton, from Bakersfield California
Derek Pollak
Conner and McKenna MacKinnon of the Clan MacKinnon, from Granada Hills, California
George E. Meade Jnr., the House of Burnett, from Kelseyville, California

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