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Updated 11/22/2019


MacRae Meadow

MacRae Meadow is the site of the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games in North Carolina, USA. The Scottish people have a long and rich history in the state of North Carolina. After the battle of Culloden in 1745, highland clearances left many Scottish clans with no home and nowhere to go. During the time after the clearances, North Carolina became one of the most popular destinations. The local government in North Carolina urged Highland Scots to come to North Carolina by offering them land and tax exemptions. At first, many groups kept to the eastern shores of North Carolina, but as populations in the states rose, many went west in search of farm land and more space. During the revolutionary war, Scottish immigrants fought on both sides.

The Scots kept their highland culture alive in the United States, speaking Scottish Gaelic among their families and in church. The Scots were unable to practice their cultural heritage in Scotland after the Battle of Culloden. New laws outlawed the use of bagpipes, tartans, weapons and Gaelic. In turn, the Scots embraced their freedom in America and sought to keep their traditions alive in a new way. Highland gatherings were a part of the lives of every Scot in North Carolina. At the very beginning they were used as a time to trade with others, baptize their children, get married and pass along information. The language and culture remained an active part of their lives in the US until after the Civil War, when much of the culture had finally assimilated into the progressing American culture. However, the loss of the Scottish culture in North Carolina did not go unnoticed. It was not until 1956 that the highland games returned to North Carolina as a modern event.

In 1956, Mrs. Agnes MacRae Morton on Linville, NC and Mr. Donald F. MacDonald of Charlotte, NC co-founded the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. Donald MacDonald‘s vision for the games was based on the Royal Braemar Gathering, which he‘d attended a few years before in Scotland in 1954. The Braemar Games had been held there for several hundred years and the Grandfather Mountain Games was often later called ―America‘s Braemar.