Summertime has always been my absolute favourite time of the year. When I was in school I just lived for the long summer holidays when I could play with my friends and my sister all day long until the sun set. Everyone has different associations of summer depending on where they live in the world or their childhood memories. For some, when they think of summer they think of the smell of freshly cut grass, for others it’s lying on a beach reading a book and for some it might be the taste of lemonade or ice cream. I am so happy to be spending this summer with my family and childhood friends here in the Highlands of Scotland after a year away in France. Even though many people complain about the weather here in Scotland even at this time of year, I can’t think of a better place to spend my summer holiday ... and here’s why ... One of my favourite things to do in summer is go to see a Highland Games. These events happen all across the Highlands and Islands of Scotland (and in many countries across the world) over the summer and are a great chance for friends and family to get together and support the local community. A Highland Games event is a big gathering with food stalls, fair games for children and sports and athletics competitions along with Highland dancing displays and ceilidh music (this is Scottish country music performed by a live band). Many of the sports are very specific to Scottish tradition such as ‘tossing the caber’. This is a competition in which the competitors attempt to lift a full-length tree log (which has been uprooted and stripped of branches of course) and to toss it up in the air so that it falls perfectly straight on the ground having flipped over in mid air. It is quite a thing to behold! The oldest Highland Games of Scotland date back to 1314 and they are now an iconic part of the Scottish summer. Another thing I love about summer here is the great ‘Thunder in the Glens’ Harley-Davidson Ride-Out. Every year in the Highland village of Aviemore which is nestled among the Cairngorm Mountains, the ‘Harleys’ is put on. In recent years this event has got bigger and bigger attracting thousands of visitors to this small village every year and it is now officially the largest Harley-Davidson Rally in the United Kingdom. Food stalls are put on, live bands play and there is a bustling atmosphere throughout the whole area. This event is aimed towards those who own or who just love Harley-Davidson motorbikes. Bikers flock into the village, enjoy the weekend and then put on a huge (and very loud) ‘ride out’ of the village at the end of the weekend. Finally, summer just would not be complete for me without my favourite fruit - strawberries. Here in the Highlands, strawberries are grown as one of our best-sellers over the summer months and one thing I love to do on a warm summer afternoon is to pick some strawberries to eat with cream at the end of the day. These are some of the reasons why summer is my favourite time of the year.
What is your favourite time of the year and why? What do you associate with summer?