Our Mission: The mission of NHSCOT is preserving and promoting Scottish culture for future generations.
NHSCOT Fund: We advance our mission through NHSCOT Fund grants and scholarships.
Our History: The New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival was born out of the Clan Picnic organized by the Capt. John D. Murray, Evelyn Murray and Tom Lenthall, held on the first Sunday in August 1975 at Loon Mountain. The Games have grown to become one of the largest and most diverse commemorations of Scottish art and culture in North America. It was the initial success of that picnic which led to the founding of the first New Hampshire Highland Games in 1976. From this foundation, the inspiration grew to hold an annual event and formalize an organization which became known as The New Hampshire Gathering of the Scottish Clans, Inc. Incorporated as a nonprofit corporation, the organization d.b.a. NHSCOT is dedicated to the furtherance of dance, music, athletics and customs of the Scottish people and the continuance of the Gaelic culture. Captain John D. Murray and Evelyn Murray were the official founders and were joined by Thomas Lenthall, Mr. and Mrs. George Murray and Alan Smith as incorporators. The Duke of Atholl was patron from 1976 until his passing in 1996.
As assistance began to come forward to stage the first Games in 1976, a naysayer pronounced: “ye canna run a highland games at a ski resort; you need a footba’ field”. After 40 years, that sentiment has been roundly proven incorrect. Despite the wet miserable weather for the first New Hampshire Highland Games in 1976, 800 hardy folks attended. The pipe band courageously marched down the hill into the Octagon Lodge in the rain without the shelter of the coveted Inverness Cape that all bandsmen carry today. The Duke’s message for that year, “may the sun shine and the whisky flow” was, at least, half fulfilled.
Deliberately planned with each passing year, something new was added by the organization as interest dictated. Evelyn Murray has stated many times that the organization encouraged the knowledgeable committee members to bring in the preeminent adjudicators and teachers to foster the growth of the competitions and competitors. P/M James Kerr and Warren McConnell of the Worcester Kiltie Pipe Band were instrumental in creating the first pipe band competitions. The Reverend Dr. John Turner did double-duty serving as the initial fiddle adjudicator and presider at the worship service and still attends the Games to offer the Sunday worship service. Yvonne MacGregor from Ottawa, Canada adjudicated the dancing competitions. The New Hampshire Highland Games & Festival works to carry on that underlying principle today.
The Games grew by adding amateur athletic competition along with children’s games and a clan dinner appeared. A ceilidh and dance were held at the Beacon Resort. Vendors featuring Scottish goods and craftspeople added another “layer” to the weekend. Pipe band competitions continued to grow; hosting the first Canadian competing pipe band in 1979. Clans and Scottish organizations were represented as well as several Scottish Country dance groups.
In 1992, Evelyn Murray stepped down as the Games Committee Chair. At the same time, the Board decided that the event had grown to such an extent that it was necessary to hire a full time Executive Commissioner, as the position was called then, later to be titled Executive Director. Steve Avery who had worked in marketing and promotion for the Games for many years became the first Commissioner. David Christie, Donald Munro, Derek Davidson, Patricia Nisco, and Terri Wiltse have continued in the footsteps first walked by Steve Avery.
The Games continued to grow and thrive: professional athletics and athletic championships have been added; tattoos were performed on Thursday evenings for many years; the scholarship program was started to continue our Scottish heritage; a new patron, H.R.H Prince Michael of Kent KCVO, came to us; world class entertainment became a staple offering; golf tournaments were hosted for a number of years; and the list continues.
It is difficult to capture the highlights of 40 years, "but one thing is for sure: none of what has happened over the past four decades would have been possible without the incredible enthusiasm and dedication of volunteers too numerous to mention by name". On the occasion of the 10th anniversary, Evelyn Murray commented that “small acorns have a habit of growing into large oak trees”. Evelyn, I think we have a great forest of oak trees now.
25 Triangle Park Drive, Suite 4
Concord, NH 03301
Ticket Sales: 1-800-358-7268
6 Hills Avenue
Concord, NH 03301
Capt. John D. Murray
Evelyn M. E. Murray
D. Dunbar Chaplin
Evelyn M. E. Murray
Evelyn M.E. Murray
H & G Murray
A. A. Smith
Terri Wiltse, Executive Director
Lois Meredith, Administrative Assistant
Bonnie Nieves, Office Assistant
Anette Zamarchi, Concord, NH - President
Stuart Anderson, North Woodstock, NH - Vice-President, Operations
Andrew Richardson, Concord, NH - Vice-President, Advancement