Schliersee October 2011
Following our "Trip to Bavaria", here are some memories for you
Firstly a letter re the visit to the Scottish media from Alan Short
I trust that the following information will be of sufficient interest to your Newspaper and your readers.
Almost 2 years ago a cultural exchange was agreed between representatives of Schliersee, Bavaria, Germany and the Perthshire Highland Games Association as representatives of Scotland.
Being a cultural exchange, the aim was to bring together people from both Scotland and Bavaria where they could participate in each other’s highland games sporting events and music and dancing.
The Highland Games, originating from an idea by Markus Wasmeierand other locals, were held in the grounds of the Wasmeier Museum, Schliersee on the 8th and 9th October 2011 and where, despite the weather, the event was a considerable success.
Markus Wasmeier is two times Olympic Gold Medallist and Germany's 1994 "Sportsman of the Year"
Also in attendance were; Dr Paul Fischer, MBE, Bavarian State Chancellery, Munich and Mrs Wendy Freeman, HM Consul-General, British Consulate, Munich. Alan Short
Dear Mrs Freeman, Dear Dr Fischer,
Please be aware that in submitting a report to various Scottish newspapers on our Scottish - Bavarian Highland Games I intimated that you were both in attendance at the games.
My report focused on the cultural exchange aims of the highland games sporting activities, music and dancing and the undoubted success of the games as a cultural event. Attached to the report were details on Markus Wasmeier, the Wasmeier Museum and extracts from the 'Miesbacher Merkur' newspaper.
Many thanks for your attendance - it is very much appreciated by the representatives of the Perthshire Highland Games Association and myself. Alan Short
Thank you for your email and for letting me know.
I was really happy to have been there, and in return I thank everyone for inviting me!
It was such a positive event, a great atmosphere and lots of potential for the future.
I am sorry to say I missed the report on munchen.tv last night as I had to attend another event. I hope it was good!
And let’s keep in contact: I will let you know when I am next in Schliersee
Wendy Freeman | HM Consul General
Dear Mr Short
Thank you for your message and a very special word of thanks for your invaluable contribution to the success of the First Scottish-Bavarian Highland Games. I greatly enjoyed watching the competition on Sunday afternoon and meeting you and Mrs Freeman and so many representatives of the Perthshire Highland Games Association and friends of the Wasmeier Museum in such a joyful atmosphere and wonderful landscape. This initiative should absolutely be continued with the Bavarians visiting their friends in Scotland in the framework of an “official” return match.
I liked the report and the performance of Markus Wasmeier and friends on Bayern TV last Monday, and I even found a short article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) of 11 October. I would be grateful to you if you could send me the extracts from the Miesbacher Merkur.
Carry on the good work! With best wishes, Paul Fischer
Stevie Ryder (PHGA Chairman)
Well I had a great time. The company and the food were just great. I have been to many Highland Games but this has to be the first that I have experienced the snow. My shoes are knackered with the snow .I have never laughed so much at the antics in the snow. The man with the trousers that ripped while he was tossing the caber was a scream. The PHGA team did us proud. I hope one day to return again. So many friends were made. Stevie
Jean Swanston (PHGA secretary)
It should have been a disaster - van driver and van problems resolved just in time. 1st flight late; 2nd flight cancelled; train in its place; someone jumps in front of it; snow on first day of Games; Airport ground staff problems on return journey; luggage arriving after us both ways....you couldn't make it up. But you know what? It was THE BEST trip ever. Fab hosts and a fan-dabby-dozy Scottish team of Heavies, TOW, Dancers, Pipe Band and officials who did Scotland proud. What FUN we had!
In short that sums up Perthshire Highland Games Association’s visit to Schliersee in Bavaria. 45 of us were the guests of Markus Wasmeier, Double Olympic Ski Champion, and his committee to Markus’s old Bavarian Village in Neuhaus, Schliersee, for a fun competition between Perthshire and Bavaria. The Bavarians took part in Putting the Stone, Weight over the Bar, Tossing the Caber and Tug-o-War and the Scots took part in Egg throwing and catching, summer-skiing, barrel rolling and a relay race which involved getting over a stack of bales! The Heavies, Tug-o-War, boys and the girls from the Pipe Band and the dancers all took part in the fun. I won’t go into details, but whenever we think of bales we’ll all smile at the memories! Mount Blair TOW deserve a special mention by pulling the Bavarians who had one man more than them and a HUGE weight advantage. Stuart Anderson was the top athlete and Perthshire (plus a few guests) did us proud by winning over-all!
Away from competition, the Vale of Atholl Pipe Band, the Highland Dancers, John Stuart on accordion along with Ceilidh dance caller June Templeman entertained at the Games and at the Ceilidhs/Folk Dances held for us on two nights. Then there was the highland dancing which Dale and Ernie demonstrated – get practising boys! Many happy memories, but as one of our party said “One of my favourite memories was of the band as they appeared at the top of the hill overlooking the games field playing a medley of Scottish tunes - wonderful!”
We look forward to hosting the Bavarians here in Perthshire next year for round two. Jean
George Nicoll (PHGA Treasurer and Van driver)
Newly home from Thailand where I’m working and having met Jean in a restaurant on the Friday my wife and I suddenly were off to Germany in a transit van four days later on the following Tuesday. Apart from customs at Newcastle asking "had we any weapons" and Jeans swords for the dancing lying on top of the pile in the back of the van (these swords were buried for the return) we had a totally uneventful trip compared to the rest of the party with "Trains planes and automobiles" all featuring. In contrast we had a summers day in Schliersee on the Thursday including 20C plus and blue skies. Friday started the fun and the rest is history with a party of 45 people enjoying themselves despite all the weather! When is the return trip? Regards George and Petrina (As I collate this George is on his way back to Thailand. Thanks George we couldn’t have managed without you!)
Gus Clarke (Pipe Major)
Bizarre, surreal, non-stop but above all fun. Heartening to see the kids rise so well to the challenging conditions of long travel times, fatigue, hanging about in a cold beer and sausage tent not quite sure when they were playing next or indeed waiting patiently in over warm airports for late/non-existent flights. Above all great to get to know guys and gals from those elements of a games day that you don’t normally socialise with – and what a really good bunch of folk! The next time I’m at a games I won’t just head past the heavies/dancers/tug o’ war teams to get to the piping, I’ll be on the lookout for new friends ‘made in Germany’ - and with a new respect for what they do. Flinging a 25 kg lump o’ frozen metal 3 meters ower yer heid in the snaw? Thon’s pure mental min!
Although Kenny and I were very well looked after by our hosts, my heart wishes I’d been around to enjoy the crack in the hotel – and elsewhere. My head however says my liver (and my heid) would never have withstood it :)
What a pleasure to have met you all and I look forward to seeing you at the games somewhere, sometime next season! (You’ll always find me in the large white canvas cape). Yours aye, Gus
Louise Macdonald Henderson (Dancer)
I had such an amazing time in Germany it is really hard to put it down in words. It was an adventure from start to end. The travelling was an experience in itself getting there and back but that really didn’t matter because we had such an excellent time when we were there. The hospitality was excellent and our hosts could not have been nicer. There were so many fun parts; it made me feel so proud to be Scottish!! I met so many lovely people. Thank you to all involved in organising the trip and for allowing me to be part of this amazing experience.
Gillie MacNab (Pipe Band)
A tremendous trip despite all the travel chaos. First Highland Games in the snow....but the mulled wine in the marquee was nice and warming! Loved the trip to the distillery and that whisky liqueur, but the bit I'll never forget was when we marched up that hill at the end of the games. I really thought that was me going to Heaven!!!!!
Also enjoyed the two party nights. Loved all the dancing on the last night....especially the "slapping the thighs" one!
Thanks again from all the pipe band for a wonderful trip. Gillie P.S. When's the next one??????
Scott Cameron (Tug-o-War)
Where to start? You couldn't write it, and if you did, no one would believe it! What an adventure, and thank you for the opportunity to be involved. I don't think I've ever enjoyed a trip away so much. My only fear is that I forget what fun we had! I still catch myself smiling stupidly in others company because a thought of the trip popped into my head, it's more embarrassing when I actually burst out laughing though and I get the "he's no right in the head" look!
People I would only say a passing, "fit like min" to in the past, are now firm friends, and I don't think you can ever get better than that! Where we going next year?? Many thanks, Scott
Isla Bendall (Dancer)
Isla hasn't stopped talking about it, and she had a fabulous time. It has definitely whetted our appetite for a visit ourselves sometime. Kathryn Bendall
Bruce Hinch (Piper for dancing)
Thanks for a really enjoyable trip! Everything and everyone in Schliersee was brilliant, they did us proud and hopefully we did them proud! To watch Gus and Kenny take the band to the top of the hill after the prizegiving, followed by the Bavarian musicians, was a priceless spectacle!! Bruce
Steve Alexander – Dully (Tug-o-War)
Thanks again . We all had a great time - met folk that we had seen most weekends but never knew them and now we are friends for life. Thanks to all see you all in May . Dully
Sarah Kelly (First Aid)
A great trip. We had a lot of fun and it is a very long time since I laughed so much, Thanks Ernie. Jean you deserve all the credit for organising the trip. We will all remember it with a smile, Jean enjoy your jewellery from all of us. Something to remember Schliersee and a fabulous group of people who had a great time together thanks to you. (Thank you all for my gift xxx)
David Bridge (Tug-o-War)
Absolutely fantastic time! Many friends made, many hay bales jumped;) Really can't wait for round 2 haha Thank you very much to everyone:D X
Yvonne Kennedy (Dancer)
I loved my stay in Germany and the people there were really nice. It was great to experience Highland Games in the snow.
Katrina Kennedy (Dancer)
To sum up Germany all I can say is that it was eventful and adventurous. Thank you to everyone.
Jillian Kennedy (Dancer)
Even though we got off to a bad start, I had a brilliant time throughout the whole trip. The atmosphere and setting of the games field was fantastic and the people were very friendly and hospitable. The winter weather on the first games day was the perfect excuse for a Canadian Barn Dance in the snow- there's a first time for everything I suppose. Thank you to everyone who went and made the trip the great experience it was.
Jane Kennedy (Helper)
An adventure never to be forgotten. Highland games in the snow a first. Games field was in an idyllic setting with the friendliest people I have ever met.
It was a pleasure to be with so many fantastic people. Will be laughing for months as I retell the stories, especially as I can see straw bales from my office window!!
Finlay Cameron (Pipe Band)
It was a great weekend! Was really nice to meet some of the Bavarian people, especially our hosts, the Wahllander family and also the Dancers, Heavies and T.O.W people. Finlay
Bronwyn Palmer (Pipe Band)
Firstly thank you very much for the opportunity to visit Schliersee, I had a brilliant time and met some fantastic people! The journeys to and from Germany were something I will never ever forget!
Best quote of the weekend has to be “See they Germans, they are mental” by Ernie!
Also watching the big German (Verna?) walk out of the tent rip off and eat the pigs tongue and ear was disgusting yet hilarious!!
Louise McIntosh and I throwing the eggs was so funny!
Thanks again for some of the best memories and stories to tell. Bronwyn x
Stuart Anderson (Athlete)
Just thought I would add to these few thoughtful messages because I laugh every time I think of our trip. Trying to explain to friends and family, well I just can’t cover every story and even when I try they just don't get it. We have all made the elite "I’ve been to Bavaria and you haven’t" club! Between the snow, the beer, the people, and oh yeah the travelling this could have been a recipe for disaster. However the snow made us shiver which lead to more beer and the amazing crack with the amazing people - to which I have never seen such hospitality (or club life up a mountain side!) -
which in turn made the travelling more bearable and hilarious! Finally, all I can really say is when can we do it again????
Lorna McLachlan (Pipe Band)
Great to have met loads of new people on the trip and to make new friends. It was fantastic to be a part of such an amazing trip. Although we weren't prepared for the extra long journey and the cold weather, the good company and the laughs we had along the way made for a really enjoyable experience. Looking forward to seeing everyone at all the games next year!
Grant Sinclair (Athlete)
I give my thanks to all the people on the trip to Germany. I have been on a few of these highland games trips now and this one was the BEST one I have ever been on. I still have a wee smile to myself when something reminds me of the trip. I still have the cold that I got on the trip, which means that I took a wee piece of Germany home with me!
Rachel and Margaret Adam (Dancer & Helper)
Rachel and I pass on our thanks to you all for such a brilliant experience - definitely one of life's adventures to tell the grandchildren (and great grandchildren) about. The difficulties of getting to and from Bavaria have soon been forgotten, Rachel has written her own little scrap book of the trip.
So once again many thanks to everyone.
June Templeman (Dance Caller)
Been trying to write a poem but have given up - would need too many verses!!
Often danced 'A Trip to Bavaria' but never thought I would actually be there. Beautiful spot, lovely time with loads of laughs. The Bavarians could not do enough for us and we were treated wherever we went. The Dancers were a credit to you and never seemed to show any sign of tiredness, just enjoyment. Great Company and have been telling the tales on a daily basis.
Best moment when Gus (he should be renamed The Grand Old Duke of York) led the Pipers & Drummers over a stream, up a rather wet and slippy hillside, playing as they went. When finished playing on the top of the hill he shouted " 3 cheers for Bavaria". I am sure we would all second that.
Thanks for the Invitation. June
Liz Douglas (Helper)
I felt very proud to be Scottish during the presentation on the last day. I was delighted that the Scottish contingent won the competition, despite some interesting interpretation of the rules of Highland Games by our hosts. I felt very proud as the dancers, athletes and band lined up to receive their medals and applause. One of my favourite memories was of the band as they appeared at the top of the hill overlooking the games field playing a medley of Scottish tunes - wonderful!
Another favourite memory was of the 2 male dancers ie Ernie and Dale giving us their rendition of the Sailors Hornpipe at the restaurant on Friday night - a taste of what was to come!
Lyndsey Douglas (Dancer)
I was really chuffed when Dully, one of the tug-o-war athletes, gave me his medal. The 3 wee dancers all got medals from the tug-o-war athletes, they were very kind.
I loved dancing at the ceilidh on Sunday night, it was exciting and great fun.
We both loved the fact that everyone was so friendly and supportive of each other. The athletes were always there to support the dancers when they were dancing and vice versa, at least when it wasn't too cold!
Ernie's jokes and humour really added to the enjoyment of the trip. We both wouldn't have missed it for the world.
Graham Langlands – Tug-o-War
I had a fantastic time in Bavaria. Loved meeting the Pipe Band, Highland dancers, Heavyweights and all the Bavarians. I enjoyed every minute of it!
And now the novel we’ve all been waiting for...........the Trip according to Ernie.............
Once upon a time in Bavaria by Ernest G Weir (the Gs for Gilbert and you can all stop laughing now thank you!)
There once was a group of travellers the likes of which has never been seen before. Assembled were the greatest athletes, finest musicians and most graceful dancers Scotland has ever produced. They were going on an adventure to a small town in Bavaria, to take part in a historic Highland Games. First of all however they had to get there.......
Our story begins at Edinburgh airport. Our group was ready to get on the plane to Frankfurt when low and behold the plane was delayed. Not the end of the world I hear you say? Well maybe not unless you have a connecting flight to Munich. So after arriving at Frankfurt and getting a good going over by German security, pink highland dancing hoodies are obviously the new get up of your average terrorist and anybody wearing one needs to be treated with the utmost suspicion!. We raced through the terminal to discover we had missed our flight....
Luckily we had in our midsts a man who could in fact sprachan de Deutsche(that means speak german for all the nitwits) enter our hero of the hour Gus. Our man Gus wrestled Lufthansa Helga to the ground and told her in no uncertain terms we were going to Munich or else!!
So an hour later there we all were on a train to Munich. Now I’m not completely heartless I do have sympathy for anybody suffering suicidal thoughts, all I’m saying is that he could have picked another EFFIN TRAIN!!So there we were sitting stationary while the German police put our unfortunate pal into poly bags. Now after this massive shock it is understandable you might need a wee drink to steady your nerves. Luckily the buffet car was there to help. I must add at this point that a large part of the group seemed to have been preparing themselves for this since 11o'clock that morning by drinking steadily through the day. A fine example of forward planning!
We arrived at our digs at half three in the morning with no bags. Luckily our hosts had prepared a meal to cheer us up. Obviously he was worried about us being tired and to save time had put pudding and main course into an interesting mix of Angel Delight and Spam topped off with spuds in vinegar. Delicious!!
Next morning up we got feeling a little rough and a bit stinky. After a super breakfast of more Spam we were off to see the sights. Worth a mention was the distillery we visited. Now not knowing a lot about whiskey other than I turn very green and very angry when I drink it. I was surprised to learn the Germans like to give it about the same amount of ageing time as paint thinners gets. No keeping it for years and years in Bavaria. Nope a couple of months and it’s in a bottle and out the door.
That night we were off for dinner at a local restaurant. The spam delivery van must have broken down because there was none on offer that evening. What we did get was a fabulous meal of cabbage in vinegar followed by pork with spuds in vinegar. Well some of us did, because at our table sat a huge German who for some unexplained reason took it on himself to remove Louise's half eaten dinner claiming she was too girly to eat pork in spuds. He then replaced it with a large spring roll in carrot and coriander soup and told her to eat it up like a good girl!! The fat man then had a very lucky escape. While Louise looked stunned her side kick Becky was just about to stick a fork right between his eyes, in a fit of red head rage. Luckily for him, Jean asked them to show off their dancing skills. After a fine display Jean then decided what the punters needed to witness more than anything was Dale and myself showing off our dancing skills. Now when I say skills...I mean the 10 minutes of arsing around we had done that afternoon. I have to say the German public seemed to be totally amazed at the two monkeys on their tiptoes twirling round the floor or at least I think it was amazement!
First day of competition arrived. We headed up to the site only to be met with an arctic storm! I have in the past been cold and wet but I have to say this was a new level of shittyness. With hypothermia setting in our team leader Stuart rallied the troops on the field and we gave what could only be described as a massive show of athleticism. The rest of the group however were less than keen. The pipe band were taking shelter in the catering tent. Bronwyn was busy sitting on top of the gas fire in the tent and melted the soles off her shoes. A smart move by anyone's standards!.
In the afternoon the temperature rose to minus 20 and it was time for the first test of speed. A relay race round the park. Now throughout the race the Scots had a healthy lead only for disaster to strike. On the final straight of the race there were two hay bales to jump over. A simple task you’re thinking? Well not for our man John who for all he is a great guy has the bale jumping ability of a rhino! He ran straight up to them floundered like a kipper and let the Bavarians snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. It’s difficult for me to convey what a dark shadow this cast over the weekend but I think it’s safe to say we were all extremely disappointed in John.
So after our catastrophic loss it was time for home to look out our dancing pumps for night time. We headed back up to the museum for a night of traditional Bavarian and Scottish music and dancing. After a fine meal of stew with spam in vinegar it was time to get jiggy with it. A fine night was had by all and topped off nicely by a 63 year old man dressed in leather shorts trying to chop rocks in half with his bare hands! And no I hadn't been sniffing glue. That did happen.
The final day of competition arrived and we were up and ready to go. Well most of us were. There seemed to be a bit of altitude sickness in the camp because there were a couple of no shows.
Again we were off up to the competition ground to get at it. With the better weather and the glare of the TV cameras we were showing the Bavarians how to do it. The TOW team however seemed to be suffering a little. Stevie and Scott obviously weren't on it after a busy night of whiskey drinking! And they suffered their first defeat of the weekend. They did however save the day later on when with a full team they snatched victory for the Scot's by winning the final pull. Never before have I seen men with such great tugging ability. It’s worth mentioning that throughout the day our pipe band (when not melting their shoes) showed the German's oompa loompa band what proper music was. Also our dancers put on a fabulous show assisted greatly by their band of skivvies (Mums) they had brought with them. But I think we are all agreed that the heavies - Stuart, Grant, Jamie, John, myself and last because he's a special case, Dale, were undoubtedly the stars of the show. I will however say before my facebook page gets covered in abuse that the TOW team were ok as well.
With victory secured and medals in hand we were off out again all togged up for our last night out. Another fine night was had. At this point in the trip strange occurrences were the norm. Although witnessing John doing a Gay Gordon's with a German paratrooper has to be one of the strangest of them all!!
To conclude I would like to say a massive thank you to all the people involved in the trip. Although it was a fantastic adventure it was the people on the trip that made it special. Also a huge thanks to the Bavarians for their generosity and hospitality which was second to none. Before I go I would like to leave you with a quote from a very wise man "SEE THEY GERMANS MAN THEY ARE EFFIN MENTAL". (Haha and that’s a compliment! Thanks Ernie)