By Shannon Verhagen
Even though the people of Scotland elected not to become independent, Perth’s Scottish community has come out in force to celebrate their country’s rich culture.
Last Sunday the Highland Gathering, WA’s largest Scottish-themed event, saw hundreds of people flock to Armadale to experience the life of a Scot.
The day included all sorts of traditions, from Highland dancing and music to medieval re-enactments, the “Strong Men Games” and traditional cuisines such as blood pudding and haggis.
“The bagpipes were awesome and made it feel like home. Seeing lots of people wearing kilts and having fun with the culture was probably the best part,” says Scottish-born Lauren O’Neill.
The day began with the “Perth Kilt Run,” a 5 kilometre dash through the scenic Minnawarra Park and Sanctuary Lake in which runners don kilts to get into the Scottish spirit and raise money for charity.
In June 2012, a kilt run in the Canadian city of Perth, Ontario set the world record for “Largest Kilt Run,” with an impressive 1,764 participants.
Perth in Scotland and Western Australia have now stepped up to the plate to beat Canada’s effort with Australia’s inaugural kilt run.
The money raised from this year’s run will be donated to four charities: the Leukaemia Foundation, the Amanda Young Foundation, the Make A Wish Foundation and the Ronald McDonald Charity.
Prizes were awarded to first female, male and child across the line, along with other novelty awards for Best Costume, Quirkiest Team and the “Run Jimmy Run” – awarded to a keen competitor who chose to run an extra lap.
As racegoers relaxed among the many attractions, members of the Grey Company began warming up for their re-enactment of the Scottish Rebellion.
But as serious as the battle was, the members are all in it for fun and entertainment.
“We get to dress up and play as an adult,” says Ms BJ Barker, a current fighting member.
The Grey Company prides itself on accuracy – Ms Barker painstakingly hand-stitched intricate costumes to provide an educational, visual presentation of life in the old days.
Overall WA’s Highland Day was the perfect balance between education, charity and entertainment.
“It was a really fun event,” says Miss O’Neill.