On this page is an article about the Cairdean
Cairn project for Grandfather Mountain Highland
Games to help pay for the new office building after the
old one was destroyed by flooding in 2004. Clan Smith
Society has paid for its name to be placed among the
other Clans, associations, and individuals who wish to
be commemorated on the cairn. We have seen the cairn
and it is very beautiful and so much in the tradition of
the old Scottish stone cairns.
Pictured above is an example of the cairn before the placques have been placed.
Since this is something that membership fees
have paid for, we wanted all our members to have
access to the information about this worthwhile project.
There will be a link on our website to go to this infor-
mation, but for all those who do not have access to the
Internet, here is the information about the Cairn.
Highland Games Office
Linville, North Carolina
In medieval Scotland it was customary to place a stone
on the burial place of a loved one or even a kinsman and ask a prayer for the repose of their soul as you passed by. The
utterance, "Cuiridh mi clach 'nad Charn," meaning, "I shall add a stone to your Cairn," beautifully spoke of loving intent and a
solemn promise that the deceased one's memory would be kept alive.
In the hallowed tradition of our Scottish ancestors who built a Cairn to memorialize the glens of
their forefathers as they journeyed out to settle in the New World, so do we plan to erect this
Cairdean Cairn in Linville, N.C. to commemorate 50 years of preserving
Scottish Heritage at Grandfather Mountain. As we recognize the past, we also look ahead to the
continuation of these Games, which embody the spirit
of those independent Clansmen who helped lay the
groundwork for this nation. The names listed on this Cairn will be individuals who value the storied past of
their predecessors and wish for their sacrifices and successes to be built upon for many years to come.
Your pledge will help us plan our construction schedule and ensure that the new office building goes
up in a timely and economical fashion. Your generous contribution will help provide a central location from
which we can continue coordinating one of the world's finest highland games. We plan to commemorate your
generosity by placing this "Cairdean Cairn" in a prominent location just outside of our new office
building. The Cairn will display the names of donors on four bronze plaques. Please fill out the attached form so
that we can recognize your gift on one of these plaques.
Origin of the Stones
Stones gathered from MacRae Meadows on the
slopes of Grandfather Mountain, the highest peak in
the Blue Ridge and widely considered to be the oldest
mountain in the world, will be used to build the Cairn.
The Cairn will be raised on the site of our new office
building in the heart of the Linville River Valley, the
highest valley in Eastern North America.
For more information contact:
Grandfather Mountain Highland Games
P. O. Box 1095
Linville, NC 28646-1095
Phone: (828) 733-1333
Fax: (828) 733-0092
GMHG's New Office Building
The Ellice and Rosa McDonald Scottish
The Cairdean Cairn
Why a Cairdean Cairn?
What is a "cairdean cairn"? "Cairdean" is the Gaelic
word for "friends". The Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is blessed with many friends. "Cairn" is a Gaelic word
which means "a heap of stones". Cairn refers especially to one raised over a grave, or as a landmark on a mountaintop
or a path. The Cairn traditionally is used as a memorial or a
The early Highlanders of Scotland could not afford
large and expensive memorials, so they borrowed an idea from the pages of the Old Testament, where the children of
Israel raised a heap of stones upon crossing the River Jordan to commemorate their miraculous deliverance into the
Promised Land. Today, these cairns can be seen throughout all Scotland, the Lowlands as well as in the Highlands;
memorials to the deceased, as well as markers of historical note. Some examples in present day Scotland are the Cairns
of Culloden Moor and Robert Bruce's in Galloway. A Cairn also stands in the hallowed fields of Arlington National
Cemetery in remembrance of the victims of the terrorist bombing of Pan Am flight 103 over Locherbie, Scotland. The
stones for this Cairn were imported from the same quarry in
Scotland from which the base stones of the Statue of Liberty were taken.