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FIRST ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE ASHBURTON CALEDONIAN SOCIETY.

Yesterday was not so propitious as might have been wished for the first great meeting of the Caledonian Society. The programme of the day was opened at ten o’clock by a procession of the members, headed by those of their number who had donned the national garb of Scotland, who were preceded again by three strongwinded pipers. The ■ procession started, in a drizzling rain, from the bridge, and traversed the whole length of East street to the ground lent by Mr. H. T. Smith for occasion—one more of the many kindnesses Mr. Smith has shown to the cause of sport in Ashburton. The leading feature of all Caledonian sports is ( of course the Highland costume, and' to those who care to be particular about'clan tartan we would mention the following! Mr. George Kidd appeared in a smart and very complete suit of Royal Stuarts, comprising a kilt of the royal tartan of heavy texture, and a gracefully hung plaid to match. His tunic was of the orthodox clansman’s cut, of invisible green, and dotted with the usual diamond buttons. His plaid was secured with a handsome shoulder buckle of silver with Gaelic inscription. engrave 1 upon its shields, while by his left side hung the genuine claymore, and from his right side a finely appointed dirk, with all fittings. His accoutrements were of a very superior class, and the “sporran,” without which no Highland dress is complete, was a laurel won at the Braemar gathering, and presented by the Queen in person to Mr. Kidd, as a first prize for Highland dancing. Mr. John Calder, who wore the Gordon tartan, looked remarkably well in his neatly fitting, and well appointed uniform. He did not affect the claymore, but he wore a finely mounted dirk, and a “eltboin dhu,” and his breast bore many a mark of honor won in dancing contests. At a later stage of the day’s proceedings, Mr. Murray, of Dunedin, came on the ground. He was superbly dressed in the clan tartan that bears his name, and he too, wore dirk and “ skhein dhu” handsomely mounted in cairngorms, while to use bis own words, lie “ had not jacket room ” for all the trophies he had won at dancing. Another Highlander who appeared was Mr. Campbell in the tartan of his clan, loyal to cheque, and well put on. Mr. Campbell is a true picture of the Highland veteran, and we thought of many similar gatherings we had seen at Brae mar, Athole, Birnam, Dunkeld, and other places in th# Highlands pf Scotland where the kilt is not jtfcg exception in the crowd but the rule. The last on the list was Mr. James M‘Rae, in the kilt of tbp Black Watch or Sutherland Highlanders. Wo may mention, however, that the piper to the Society wore a Black Watch tunic and H’ews of the Royal Stuart. The other pipers present were Messrs. Forbes, Ross and Scott. The weather sadly marred the arrangements of the Committee, who for two or three hours wore undecided whether to postpone the »poft§ altogether for the day* or to go on with the more easily decided competitions. The latter course tllPy ultimately decided to follow, and # lortly after 1 o’clock the day broke up into fine sunshine, and allowed a far larger proportion of the heavy programme to be gone through than at first appeared possible. In addition to the difficulties laid upon the Committee by the upsetting of their arrangements by the weather, they bad to contend with the encroachments of an unruly crowd, who despite repeated warnings and almost .solicitation would persist in crowding on to th® course, and round every competition that took place. The dancing platform was rushed in this unseemly way, and as a consequence not more than forty of the many people who would have wished to see a Highland reel in character enjoyed the pleasure. We had thought better of a crowd of Ashburtonians, and it is small encouragement to the Committee to again undertake the duty of superintending the arrangements, if they are to have their work interfered with and interrupted in this foolish way, especially when the competitions could be so much better seen and enjoyed from a distance. The first event chosen from the programme was Tossing the Cabiw—lst prize, L2;

2nd, LI. This exercise is always a- prominent feaure in Caledonian sports, and usually brings out in Scotland a large number of stalwart farmers, ploughmen, and shepherds. Yesterday, the e tries were even more numerous than we expected, and the interest taken in the contest was therefore much greater. The caber used was only a long piece of 6 % 3 timber, about 12 or 14 feet long, and not the orthodox sapling in the rough, with the thin end used for grasping, and the butt serving to give impetus. Before starting, however, the plank was somewhat fined down at one end with an adze, and this somewhat helped the throwing. The entries were as under, with them the order of merit after the trial had been decided.

1. Mat. Stitt, 20ft. 2£in. 2. Rhoderick M'Rae, 19ft. 3. W. B. Compton, 18ft. 9in. 3, B. Wright, T. M‘Dowall, W. Furneau, R, CUyden, and J. Kearns. Orm Handicap Hurdle Race

—440 yards, .0 hurdles ; Ist prize L 3 ; 2nd, 395, Organ, 1; Risely, 2. Handicaps.— C Risely. 7 yards,,' T. Organ, scratch; T. M'Douall, 3 yards •; I). A. Stuart, 3 yards; Campbell, 6 yards ; S. Simpson 5 yards.. For this event only Organ, Risely, Simpson, and M‘Dowall faced the starter. Organ camp in an easy winner, though little Simpson kept him close company all >hrough to the last hurdle, where he baulked, and was out of it, Jetting Risely come in second. Running High Jump— Men and boys; Ist prize, LI ; 2nd, 10s. i M'Dowa), 4ft. 9in. ; 2, M'Farlane, 4ft/ f ju. The other competitors were Collins, Movshead, and R. Anderson. Quoits —Ist pifoe. hi ; 2nd, 10s. ’ The entries were Compton, Winter, Walsh, Simpson, Kidd, Hums, M Leod, Lindsay, and Smith. First honors were Gained by Compton, second by Burns. Standing High Jump— Mon boys j Ist prize, LI ; 2nd, 10s. ■ This event was won by Organ 1, Morshead 2, fiom three others. Handicap Flat Race, 100 yards Prize,

LI. The entries and handicaps for this race were as follow :— Organ, Stewart, Guy, and ©lighten at scratch ; M'Farlane, lyd, { Morshead and Robertson, 2yds. ; Compton and Risely, 3\ds. ; Gilmour, syds.;

The start was a fair one, and the race was closej-the handicap giving the difference. The result was—Gilmour, J. ; M'Farlane, 2 ; Morshead, 3. Gband Handicap Flat Races—Men, 200 yards, 300 yards, 440 yards, Ist prize, L 6 ; 2nd, L 3 ; 3rd, LI. Of these only the 200yds. heat was run, and Gilmour got first position, Simpson second, Organ third. ;The handicapping for this event was as follows

T. Organ, 200 yards, scratch ; 300 yards, scratch ; 440 yards, scratch. C. Risely, 200 yards, 3 yards ; 300 yards, 3 yards ; 440 yards, 5 yards. W. J. Robertson, 200 yards, 3 yards ; 300 yards, 3 yards ; 440 yards, 5 yards. T. M'Douall, 200 yaids, scratch; 300 yards, scratch; 440 yards, 3 yards. S. Simpson, Stewart, and Campbell each, 200 yds, scratch ; 300 yds, scratch; 440 yards, 3 yards. R. Anderson, 200 yards, 8 yards ; 300 yards, 10 yards ; 440 yards, 16 yards D. Gilmour, 200 yards, Iff yards; 300 yards, 12 yards ; 440 yards, 20 yards. Vaulting with Pole—Men ; Ist. prize, L2 ; 2nd, LI. In this competition we were glad to see one or two old faces, and to welcome some new one. To the front came our old friend Harry Fowler, of Chatmoss, who has held whatScotchmeu would call asort of ‘‘ daur ” over all coiners, for a season or two, and notwithstanding that the others showed good form, and threatened to come well up to him, he still held his ground by three inches over the next best man, Morshead, who cleared Bft. to Harry’s Bft. Sin. Johnny Hunt was in the field as usual, lithe, active, and popular as ever, and he was joined this year by as tight a little piece of vaulting form as we have seen at the pole-and-uprights for many a a day, in the person of young Hodder. He was out of practice, and not in the best physical condition possible, but his style of vaulting is remarkably good, and very graceful j and if he should think of taking a systematic turn or two against New Year’s day, we would not be surprised to see him appear to better advantage at Winslow. The prizes were apportioned thus ;—H. Fowler, 1; Moreshead, 2. Vaulting with Pole Boys under

16 years ; Ist prize, LI ; 2nd, 10a. Five boys entered for this competition, and showed some very promising vaulting. Their names were Price, Smith, Permain, Mitch oil, and Hodder. After a long trial of skill, in which the little crowd kept gamely up to each other, Price ftnd Smith found the sticking point, the former at Oft. jin., and the latter at f)ft Uin. There was perhaps as much interest taken in this contest as in any on the ground. Porting the Stone—lolb. \ Ist prize, L2 i 2nd, LI. For”this event, another relic of old Scotland, there weru eight entries, and should have been nm« if Constable Maroney had looked better after his own interests, and not been too late m putting in an appearance. As it was he putted with the rest, and was well up, but not being in fhp list his work did not count. The bullet used for a “stone" weighed 161bs, and after all had thrown their best, the following stood out for prizes;—l, Quinliven, 34ft. Sin.; 2, Mat, fjtjtt, 38ft. gin- ; 3, W. Furneau, 32ft. 3in, The Other computers were Cameron, Wright, Roderick M‘Ru.e, 'f, M'Dowal, and Leadly, Tilting in the R^ng— Prize, L 5. Nine horsemen put in for this bout, arid after some good displays of activity and keenness of eye, the prize was carried off by Mr. John Smith, whose splendid horsemanship was much admired. He lifted si* rings with his three tries. For some time the result appeared to be between Mr. George Kidd, Mr, IVjgeklejohn, and Mr. Hay T. Smith, jua, MriSW— Bagpipes, Pibrochs; Ist prize, L 5 j gnd, L2 10s. Marches, and Strathspeys, lstpri.zo,Ls;2nd, L2los. For this conjtpst the four pipers on the ground entered, and for fully half-aa-hoi)r they “ Raired frae every chanter, Hurrcanes o’ Highland reels. ” In Pibrochs, Pipe Major Murdock Elder, of the 105th Glasgow Highland Regiment, carried off the first prize, being the only prize the number of entries warranted. The marches and strathspeys contest was gained by Elder 1, and Forbes 3. During the afternoon, though the dancing events were held over till to-day, Pipe-Major Elder struck up a strathspey or two, and to his strains Messrs Murray, Odder, M‘Rae, and Campbell danced with great 11 virr” several foursome reels, Mr. Campbell taking the boards as keenly as he did thirty years ago. A large number of the host eyeiit# are still to be decided, and to-day the sports will be continued, until the programme has been exhausted. Confectioners’ booths were kept on the ground by Mr. W. T. Davison and Mr. lavft'm, white Mr, M- Scott sold liquor. • The brass band played selections at suitable interval* during the day.

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Permanent link to this item

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Bibliographic details

FIRST ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE ASHBURTON CALEDONIAN SOCIETY., Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 40, 27 December 1879

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FIRST ANNUAL GATHERING OF THE ASHBURTON CALEDONIAN SOCIETY. Ashburton Guardian, Volume I, Issue 40, 27 December 1879

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