History of the Games

Linking Ancient Scottish Traditions to Scottish Americans in the Delaware Area

Over 60 years celebrating Scottish traditions & culture

The History of the Highland Games started when…well, historians don’t actually know. But the Games include rich Scottish traditions that link back to early human history.

The Fair Hill Scottish Games, on the other hand, can be traced back a passionate Scottish-American Pipe Band eager to bring traditional musical competitions to Delaware.

Starting the Games in the Delaware Area

From Musical Competition to the Colonial Highland Gathering

Local competitions for pipe bands were hard to find in the late 1950s when the Gordon Heights Pipe Band were working hard to hone their competitive skills.

So the band (Bob Gilchrist, John Murray, Maclean Macleod, Matt McConnell, and Ian Johnston) decided to bring the competition to them! In 1960, they joined with the Scottish Games Association of Delaware to host a Games event where pipe bands could compete locally.

Expanding the Games to a True Scottish Cultural Event

The games became a truly annual event in 1963. After a few years of finding their niche, a few name changes, and a move from Delaware Park to its current location in Fair Hill Maryland, the Games grew to a large event celebrating Scottish music, athletics, and culture.

The present Board of Trustees Officers include:

  • Les McLean, President
  • Jonathan Finnie, Vice President
  • John Dixon, Secretary
  • Scott Vivian, Treasurer

Maclean “Mac” Macleod

Maclean has been a guiding force for the Colonial Highland Gathering since its inception. He served in a variety of official capacities, —Chairman, Director of the Games, Executive Director, and Convenor —the last, his favorite. Mac described the position of Convenor (one who convenes the gathering) as “so ill-defined that no one knows what I’m supposed to do.”