Boone Hall Plantation transforms into Highlands of Scotland in 42nd annual Games and Gathering

Bagpipers of all ages entertain the crowd during the 42nd annual Charleston Scottish Games and Highland Gathering Saturday, Sept. 21, at Boone Hall Plantation.

Boone Hall Plantation on Saturday was transformed into the Highlands of Scotland for a day as thousands of attendees donned pleated kilts and bagpipes in honor of their Scottish roots.

In its 42 years, the Scottish Games and Highland Gathering has grown into one of the largest events of its kind in the Southeast. The Scottish Society of Charleston sponsors the annual jamboree.

The Games and Gathering featured several tests of strength as burly men in kilts tossed a 20-foot, 140-pound caber and other weighted items in professional and amateur Heavy Athletics competitions.

Other attendees partook in traditional Highland dances, sipped craft beer from Highland Brewing Co. and connected with like-named clansmen from here and afar.

More than 6,000 people attended last year’s event, and the society’s president Karolea Lucas said Saturday’s gathering was just as successful.

“We have a banner crowd,” Lucas said on Saturday. “Everyone is having a marvelous time visiting with their clans or discovering their clan.”

Lucas said her family’s lineage stems from Clan Davidson. With the group’s help, she’s managed to trace her family’s ancestry to 1530s Scotland, she said.

“Clans were so important in old Scotland. They were the family. They worked together, they fought together, they lived together. It’s a wonderful opportunity for Americans in the 21st century to look at their history, to learn more about it and to experience some of that.”

Other clansmen featured at the event included Clan MacDougall, Clan Campbell, Clan Paisley, Clan Armstrong and Clan McNeil.

Decades ago, Ginny and David Lovett, of Georgia, traced their family’s lineage to Clan Fraser and have participated in the Charleston gathering and similar events along the East Coast ever since. They said they’ve also taken several trips to Scotland over the years.

The couple said they’ve gained an extended family through the experience, and that they’ve learned some valuable history along the way.

“We started going to more and more games. This year we’ll be doing six — northeast Florida, Savannah, Smoky Mountains, the Virginia games, here and Stone Mountain. That’s about a typical year for us,” David Lovett said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to fellowship,” Ginny Lovett said of their travels.

For more information on the Scottish Society of Charleston, visit

Reach Christina Elmore at 937-5908 or at