A view on Fishing,Community and Life on the NW coast of Scotland

Posts tagged ‘Afro Celts’

Singing Nancy Spain with Christy Moore……

Going on the few holidays from Applecross I have never been too concerned as the break come to an end as I am back home here. Have a couple of days at sea under the belt and todays weather being forecast to be inclement I kept a fleet of creels on board to wash today. I, although the Inn was reasonably busy, left early, but not before coming across a coffee barista who was serving at the Festival…..the world is getting smaller and he wished the Inn was his local, and managed to back to the Varuna and put the creels ashore ready for today, handy as the N/NW wind comes in on top of the pier. Going to have some fine music on the headphones as I head back to Cambridge while pressure washing.

So back to Friday afternoon and a trip back to base camp, where some were getting ready for the evening,


before heading back into the arena to hear some amazing Caribbean/traditional music from Edward 11.



Then onto Michael McGoldrick


coming in with the cider and ale bang on time I admit mild disappointment when I only saw four of them. Quickly forgot the numbers as they were simply brilliant and a great wee interlude when he brought on his talented family to play even more whistles. Only when listening to his set and John Joe Kelly


who was beyond description on the bodhran, did I realise I was missing the music of the Celts a little. Went to listen to some Deep South blues at Stage 2 from my favourite dozing spot


but KT Tunstall drowned him out from the Main Stage. So ending the day with Glen Hansard,


having asked Andy who he was and the fifth time I was told, it sunk in …The Commitments. Great sounds with some almost thrash guitar but very tuneful and a Van the Man song thrown in. The end of the second day was hard to describe and it was the first time I have come across Gipsy Punk.


Not to everyone’s taste but it was an enthralling show


and it was a show with huge energy




with Eugene Hutz and one of the girls ending up on top of two big base drums on top of the audience.



Best way to describe Saturday was in the terms of a musical journey. After breakfast, as usual Andy turns out the full English


for anyone in the camp who wants it, it was off to Quebec to hear Vent du Nord,


a fine quartet who are passionate about where they come from. Then it was off to Chicago to hear some blues from The Cash Box Kings guitar, mouthy and vocals superb,


and followed by John McCusker with a fine band. You keep seeing multi instrumentalists turning up with different bands. Heidi Talbot


and Chris Drever.


So from almost coming home it was now away to Haitian Creole with Leyla McCalla but just could not stay awake for the whole set but the CD makes up for missing some of it. Back to the Main Stage for a bit of Mid west cowboy songs with a Californian influence, Sam Outlaw, hats off before the camera came out.


The variety is immense. Then some blue grass with Darlingside,


just a half set here due to overlap, but knew I was going to see them later as there was a cancellation due to ill-health. From the NE of the US of A they were a fine quartet of harmonious musicians and as Andy said, ironic, which can be unusual for the neighbours across the waters. So then it was to the Den where Rachel Sermanni was playing a lovely set with stories to every song.


The Den is by the Duck pond and amongst all the people and sounds the swan is serene.


The Buddhist emptying the dirty water of the broken coffee machine by straw would not at first sight make a song but it did. Spoke to her after and said the next time I saw her overworked Dad I would mention I had heard her. To think one of the last times he spoke to me he was reading a summons out to me for speeding.  So back to the music and after another listen to an awestruck Darlingside it was over to Africa for some Afro Celt music. The sun was setting just before this gig



and the girls were happy.



Engrossing and I was captivated by both the Gaelic Rap


and the rhythms and colours from Asia and Africa.


It could not possibly get better but next on was Christy Moore.


He played just about every song I knew and then his encore. I do not do bucket lists but if I did towards the top would be singing Nancy Spain with Christy Moore and here I was at Cambridge doing just that with 10,000 others. What an end to a perfect, if tiring, day.

And back home now on a Thursday afternoon almost exactly a week after it all kicked off, in the general rush of things….phone call from Inn means I nip out to the Varuna for yet more langoustine despite the fact that I was out the last two days. Fleets washed and mended and ready to be picked up tomorrow morning. Cambridge is but distant memories.



Applecross Games,…”Are you normally this busy?”

Seen off another Games Day and the Aftermath, although the Inn staff are still seeing to it now as there is still two hours of food serving to go as I start this post. I had an easy day yesterday by catching up on some sleep and cycling off down to Toscaig to case the croft for a bit of fencing. The outer fence of the north end of the croft has been down for a few years and that section has been deteriorating letting bracken and rushes take over. The deer and sheep quickly finished off the willow that had been growing inside the fence, but prioritising making some money meant that nothing was done to sort the problem. The plan this autumn is to have both sections of croft fenced and reintroduce a wild flower meadow below an orchard. It will have to be something that does not take a lot of time and animals on the croft is simply a no-no. By rights I should not still have my croft as I have not used it properly. Over the years I have maybe used it as an extended garden but little else. Now with a little more time and effort I intend some clearing, soil analysis, drainage and planting. See how it goes as I maybe using this posting as a bit of pressure to get things underway. Luckily I will have some good advice behind me from the Black Isle. That apart the day was quiet but aware of the busy part of the community as the Applecross Games were underway at the Campsite. I almost made it but could not find the energy and knew I needed that for the evening shift at the Inn. As ever Applecross is full of contrasts and the hurly burly of the Inn is so different from the peace and quiet just a half mile down the road at Milton.


Came up early and soon we were ordering, serving, arranging tables for the Coghills from Skye to the Carron Valley MCC. The couple of rooms that were full we found tables without any waiting. Sometimes you think how lucky things are to work out like that but it is so well organised that it always falls into place and it is no accident. There was no sign of the Boss so we decided that there was drink involved with her visit to the Field. Good team on meant there was no reason for her to worry about anything, just Billy appearing after ten (closed early for the staff to get a night out) for a pint or two only getting the one, bit miffed but it is one of the few nights for early closing. Home by 11.30pm and asleep not long after.

Today was approached with some trepidation as some staff have had a few the previous evening and it is one of the busiest days of the year. Began by getting some more langoustine ashore


and things were rapidly underway with the visitation by the Nicolls, all seventeen of them. Put them on two tables and it worked out pretty well as the young and older of the group split up fairly naturally. Biggest table bill I have done so far but they were so easy to look after and very appreciative of the service. The day slipped into a bit of relentless ordering of food and drink with hordes of people calling in before heading home or people passing through.


Noticeably more Chinese on the go and mainly attracted by the NC500. It was getting  a bit fraught by 4/5 o’clock they just kept coming in, luckily for us the weather held up is still holding off so the evening shift should not be too hard. The car park extension is taking place under the careful eye of Kenny.


He is doing a very fine job and Applecross is showing quite a few examples of his dexterity with his machine. Seems natural when working away at his job. Garden full and the bikers just keep on coming but you can see why.


While all this is going on Rob comes in to cook a BBQ for the Games helpers/organisers and some spread it was too.


I managed a small plate on the side just to sample of course. The lamb and monk fish kebabs, langoustine, squats were all top drawer.


That food could have graced any tables in any top restaurant in the country.


Meanwhile on the other tables the food just kept coming out. Isla and her mate had her eye on some langoustine tails, trying to look cute as she could but don’t think she managed one.


Things had quietened down a little by tea time, the band had struck up again and I was away down the road with some ice cream and a Crabbies to check the forecast for Cambridge, pack a couple of bags and plan for the next week.heading to Aberdeen tomorrow to take in a Blue Deal Workshop, organised by the NEF, before heading to The Cambridge Folk Festival. Christy Moore and Afro Celts are top of the list but the list is long and there will be surprises among the attractions of Imelda May, Baaba Maal, Mike McGoldrick, John McCusker, Blazin’ Fiddles, Imar, the list goes on and on, filled with brilliant musicians. So be off-line for a week or so but taking photos and meeting lots of friends again.

A post on fb coincided with a train of thought I have had over the last few weeks regarding how we live, politics and how we treat each other and the environment. In particular as we joined the Trident protest in Inverness, we watched the inevitable vote for the renewal of our weapons of mass destruction. jobs was rather a new and lame reason put forward for its renewal, but saw in the debate how party lines are more important than common sense although some Labour MPs just cannot vote for something so against their conscience. Came across the following tweet from Gary Lineker, not often see tweets from him but worth a mention and this diagram which say it so succinctly.

Screen Shot 2016-07-22 at 23.03.42

“Don’t get Trident, never have. If it’s ever actually needed we’re all screwed anyway. Spend the money on something important.” Gary Linekar. Very disturbing that in our democracy our Leader states openly in Parliament that Human Rights and the Geneva Convention mean less to her than killing a 100,000 people in the so-called “Defense of our Nation” using illegal WMD. Sometimes up in the remote North West it is easier to envelope oneself in the busy day-to-day life of Applecross than contemplate huge issues such as building weapons that we cannot surely use in any circumstances with money we have not got and Climate Change. We are busily setting records of ice melt and high temperatures around the world which only merit a sentence in the News Bulletin but if some one walks into an office in parliament then headlines are written about Parliamentary privileges being broken. Life is more simple up here with just a few petty disturbances and on the whole you get what you see. Stick to sorting out the croft maybe not so simple.


Stressed, but humour wins through.

Just trying very hard to lower the stress levels. Come away from trying to register V.A.T. online and although I am not the best IT guy on the peninsula you follow the instructions, fill in the boxes,sort your password, get your ID and then get your activation refused. Give it a rest for a wee while and do a catch up on something else. On the plus side I had a good chat with a couple of Company directors this morning about governance and things seem to be on schedule, tight but ok. We may be dealing with problems that are not there which does not help stress as it is difficult to deal with people’s perceptions.Over the years I have been involved with the Pier I have missed one deadline in 13 and so far the Company has met all its deadlines. We are moving from the volunteer world into the paid administrator sphere where we can no longer expect to do so much as volunteers but the problem with all new organisations is finding the extra revenue to pay to keep a track of financial and legal necessities. It is the growing pains of a new entity in a small rural community and trying to take something from the buffeting we have had over the last few months improved governance is emerging. One thing I forgot to mention about the Community Company AGM was that we ended up with 3 new members and 4 definite offers of volunteers which probably says more than anything and gives a better balance to the overall picture here. Reading in the WHFP this week about another community going through an upheaval and my heart goes out to the people involved as I know how upsetting these situations are and it is not pleasant reading a view in the press of what is happening locally. You feel powerless to correct anything you feel is taken out of context or misconstrued. I am fortunate that I do not feel the need to place blame and try very hard not to judge those with different positions to your own, very difficult at times when you are in the middle of  a vortex but it is character forming they ( however they are) say. I have to say this blogging lark is a bit of a stress release and to those who read it sorry for boring you today. The stress levels have also lowered due to me getting my headphone jack sorted out on the iMac and now have the NAD amp and B and W speakers linked up and some pretty good music has been playing loudly for the last couple of hours, Babelfish,Nickel Creek,McGoldrick and Afro Celts. Taking the odd photo helps as well as you can just look at it and remember how fortunate you are to see something like yesterday’s sunset take place. Also picked up a shell on the Bay the other day which are fairly uncommon here, lots on the Harris beaches, beautiful pinks….natural perfection.




Most important of all we need to keep our humour and a couple of comments come to mind when “a member of the public” said as she left the Community Council meeting on Tuesday that it had been far more entertaining than telly. I take that as a compliment and a follow-up chat confirmed it today. Yesterday while chopping wood at the gate, a stop for a ceilidh with a passing resident ended with a fantastic saying in gaelic for some one who is leaving maybe not in the best of humour, “thoir do chasan leat” meaning be sure and remember to take your feet with you….west coast/gaeldom humour at its best. Life may be stressful but it is so good.

Tag Cloud

Wee Ginger Dug

Biting the hand of Project Fear

Beyond the Horizon

Commentary and Sustainability Policy Analysis from Dr Calum Macleod

Lenathehyena's Blog

IT'S NOT ROCKET SALAD.........in the Land o' cakes and brither Scots

Scottish Communities CAN

Scottish Communities Climate Action Network

Beyond the Bloomin' Heather

A critical discussion of the history and politics behind Scotland's most beautiful landscapes

Jean Urquhart

following dissolution of parliament this site will move to jeanurquhart.com

Derek Bateman Broadcaster1

An ongoing dialogue

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Small Scales

fisheries and ocean conservation in Atlantic Canada


e-learning, networking, and the UHI


It's got a backbeat. You can't lose it. If you wanna dance with me.

derek bateman broadcaster2

My first and last ever blog (probably)

Jessica's Nature Blog


Shawndra Miller

Giving voice to the world’s remaking

Hiking Photography

Beautiful photos of hiking and other outdoor adventures.


Just another WordPress.com site

Life at the end of the road

the trials and tribulations of an accidental crofter


A Highland GP on life the universe and anything...

Auld Acquaintance

Scottish Independence