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Piping clans included the Clan Henderson, Mac Arthurs, Mac Donalds, Mc Kays and, especially, the Mac Crimmon, who were hereditary pipers to the Clan Mac Leod.

Stringed instruments have been known in Scotland from at least the Iron Age; the first evidence of lyres outwith the Greco-Roman world were found on the Isle of Skye, dating from 2300 BC, making it Europe's oldest surviving stringed instrument.

What do you get when you combine international athletes, local communities and visitors at a Highland games in Scotland?

A warm welcome and a cracking family-friendly day out!

Did you know that Baron Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympics, was so impressed by a Highland display he saw at the 1889 Paris Exhibition that he introduced the hammer throw, shot put and the tug o' war to his competition? The former two are still included in the Olympics programme to this day - just one of the many fascinating facts of the Highland games.

For many, one of the most memorable sights of the Highland games is the massed bands, when hundreds of pipers and drummers from different groups come together to play and march in unison.

Take, for example, the 60 Highland Games that still take place all across Scotland annually - those are a uniquely Scottish mix of culture, sports, music and community.

Everybody knows the cliché of the piper on the shortbread tin.

And it all takes place against a scenic Scottish backdrop. Highland games combine sport, fun and culture in a uniquely Scottish style and take place every weekend in the summer.Scotland competed against England in the world's first international football match at the West of Scotland Cricket Club, Patrick, in 1872, the match ended 0-0. These shows host a predominance of tartan, bagpipes, highland dancing, comedy and songs of hills and heather - essentially the image many tourists have of Scotland.They follow a successful recipe made famous by the television series 'The White Heather Club' broadcast in the 1960s. Sir James Barrie, was born on in Scotland and died on 19 June 1937 in London, England.But have you experienced the breath-taking reality of a hundred pipers skirling in uplifting unison?This isn't an image from Scotland's cultural past: it happens every August at the Edinburgh Military Tattoo and on Glasgow Green. We all know the stereotypical notions of traditional Scottish fare - haggis, porridge and whisky. Scotland's new elite of super-chefs like Gordon Ramsay, Nick Nairn and Andrew Fairlie are taking the country's incredible natural produce – our beef, venison and seafood – and elevating them to Michelin starred levels.

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