Members of almost 130 Clans from all around the world gathered in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh for this unique event.
In addition to the Clan Village, where each Clan had its own tent, there was a huge arena where the Highland Games took place, several stages for musical performances and a large number of food outlets. Events of different kinds took place almost continually and there was much to see.
Numbers expected were supposed to be about 8000 each day but on the Saturday 27000 visitors were reported!
Clan MacRae shared a tent with its geographical neighbours, Clan Matheson, and we were overwhelmed by the number of visitors. Boosted by two bus loads of MacRaes from North America and a number from Australasia and elsewhere, the Clan MacRae contingent was one of the largest at the Gathering. Many Scottish based MacRaes also called in, to sign our Visitors Book, purchase some Clan MacRae products and even to have a dram!
Clan Piper Jimi McRae was a star attraction as he played almost non-stop outside our tent and we wonder how many photographs of him are now scattered around the world!
Come 6pm and we assembled for one of the highlights of the Gathering, the march up the Royal Mile with all the Clans participating. What a spectacle! The entire length of the route was lined by cheering crowds, standing on the pavements, pouring out of the hostelries and hanging out of windows, high above! The Royal Mile cannot have seen anything like it since the Bonnie Prince rode down the hill in 1745! Our friends in Na Fir Dileas, a Jacobite re-enactment group, were especially thrilled to be the first people to carry the Jacobite Standard through the grounds of Holyrood Palace since the 45 Rebellion! Once again Jim was on top form, playing non-stop the whole length of the route! Once at the Castle we settled down to watch a pageant, before wending our way to bed to gather strength for the next day.
Sunday was a repeat of the Saturday, beautiful blue skies, huge crowds and much enjoyed fellowship, not only between MacRaes but also between all in the Clan Village. And fellowship was what it was all about. New friendships were made and old friendships renewed, setting the stage for our own very successful Gathering at Dornie the following weekend.