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

Posts tagged ‘Cambridge Folk Festival’

Duncan Chisholm Took us Home Early at Cambridge.

Cycling home in the dark into the teeth of a growing southerly gale, sitting at Cambridge Festival base camp seems a lifetime away. It is not just the music but the people who make the trip so worthwhile. Talking about this and that with guys you are comfortable with


while the Tiger Moths fly overhead in a warm climate is a great way to break the day-to-day routine of life in Applecross. A spot or two of music also played at camp.


We often meet up either at the Main Stage or Stage 2 as we head for the same area to watch the music, around 15 guys meeting up in a 14,000 crowd just happens again and again and is a lovely part of the Festival.


Also taking time out to wander by the Duck Pond when things get a little too tiring.


Other activities also took place like green haircuts, pedaling to produce the energy needed for the hairdresser.


Sunday morning began with a world band called Varldens Band, strong Swedish influence but they opened by dedicating their set to their lead singer, Charu Hariharan, who was refused a visa to enter the UK to sing at Cambridge. How ridiculous is that, she can travel round Europe but when it comes to sing here she gets turned down. Some of the group were quite visual in their appearance


and the Chora was out again.


They had a great set but really got the crowd going when they turned Scottish with some tunes by David Foley of RURA. He plays the flute as well as he beats the bodhran. Stayed at the Main Stage to hear Solas followed by Blazin’ Fiddles,


good rocking Celtic music at its best. Tiring badly by now but went over to the snooze spot by the back of the Stage 2 to listen to Della Mae, a grand all female blue grass band. Out for the count within minutes and woke up with Alister on one side


and Harry on the other. Appreciated the wake up as I heard them sing a brilliant version of Sixteens Tons. Was not too bothered as I knew they were back on at the Club Tent later and they were exquisite. By now I was well awake, fed and watered, and ready for what turned out to be one of the high lights of the Festival, a set by the brilliant Duncan Chisholm.



I have always known about his fiddling but never up till now paid too much attention to it. Back in my hazy past I was putting on events at our local hall and one of the best nights was to bring in Wolfstone, one of Duncan’s earlier bands. Struan was also playing in this band but has now turned his hand to marine electrics and has worked on the Varuna….fascinating how lives take different turns. Back to the gig and it was truly captivating, He has just completed a trilogy of albums with many slow airs and he took us all the way back to the Highlands up to his homeland of Farrar, and Affric. It was simply stunning and I turned round to some of the guys and could see in their eyes they were in the glens with me. His music and playing were immense. His band was not too shabby with Ali Hutton filling for Innes Watson, Megan Henderson, Jarlath Henderson, Greg Lawson and Su-a-Lee on the cello.


Noticed that Bruce MacGregor, Julie Fowlis and Jenna Reid were all on the edge of the audience watching and listening and that says so much to Duncan’s status. Went to buy the trilogy and chatted to him after and true to form he is very much a gentleman, naturally interested and appreciated the praise heaped on him. So by shaking his hand I completed very briefly meeting and shaking hands with a fine threesome of top Scottish fiddlers having already met up with John McCusker and Bruce MacGregor. It is not that any of anyone’s music was any less enjoyment but his Mr Chisholm’s set was awesome. Still to come, Baaba Maal, from a distance as was Imelda Mae, followed by another blast of Della Mae and finally although torn between the New Orleans Hot 8 Brass Band and Kila,


I opted for Kila to finish my Cambridge break.


Wonderful time, great food, company


and not too much cider and left with some great memories to see through the rest of the summer gales. A rapid and organised pack up


with Andy kindly running us back to Peterborough to catch the train north on Monday morning meant the Highlands were calling us home again.

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.



New Blue Deal and Cambridge Starts.

(Over the next few posts I made a few little jottings down in-between some immense music and craic over the four days we were on site at Cambridge.)


In Cambridge now settling into a BBQ at Andy’s after what seems like three days on a train. After an early start on Monday to avoid the afternoon’s breeze managed to get round 350 creels for a decent catch, the last for a week, so both Inns will have a few langoustine while I’m away. Went through to Aberdeen to take part in a workshop organised by the NEF and they are working on a report about coastal communities, their survival and future. It is really difficult to define coastal communities when you have Margate, Mallaig, Stonehaven and Applecross all classed as coastal. Managed to say a couple of relevant pieces and will certainly email a more lengthy synopsis about our potential and barriers. It was a good day out with a lot of brainwork involved and even including my little spat with a well known east coast fisherman with differing views about MPAs. Met some really interesting people but the only problem for me was there were not enough people on the ground from the places, rather too many academics and council workers. Good but you could tell there was a lack of experience of what it was really like on the ground. The afternoon was split into workshops and it was then I realised that I could have been in any one except aquaculture. Tourism, inshore fishing and energy and the connections between them all. I think there is going to be a missive sent to NEF about what it is like on the ground battling to keep the communities alive. The report is a huge undertaking and will be difficult to collate with so many different problems to identify and deal with. Lots of enthusiasm and made a few new contacts, as usual it helps coming from Applecross.


Thursday involves an early start and by 7.15am we are queueing at the gates waiting for opening at ten.


Banter good and time flies by as the regulars start appearing.


Before you know it the new bigger tent is up, following instructions makes it easier (Alison is good at that) and a wander into a now familiar site follows while Alison catches up on sleep. The same camping area is bagged and it is good to meet up with familiar faces. Weather so so by mid afternoon but forecast right in that it just passed through. Some waited though.


Planned a pre music nap but a few ciders got in the way and before you know it Imar


were blasting out a fine set,


so much so went to get their cd signed and had a wee chat with Tom after the gig.


There was a little hiatus with a couple of acts that did not appeal. Most of the time it is working out which to go to as there are so many good ones. English hand on the ear folk has never appealed but I gave it another try with little success. Couple of good songs and another cider filled the time before a fine Bluegrass band from the West Country came on, Flats and Sharps, were very, very good despite their sound problems with instrument pickups. Back to the tent for an early night after welcoming the late comers from Argyll. They did not take advice on setting up the tent well and made some remarks to the effect they were holding fairly sharp tent poles so wandered off. They are always late and made up for it in imbibing as I was back up at one to join them. Far easier doing this than getting grumpy in the tent trying to get back to sleep. So day 1 ends well into the start of day 2. It is going to be a long week-end but so looking forward to what turns up.

(Friday afternoon) It is only mid afternoon and blown away already by Megson


and Mike and Ruthy Band. Stunning and could go home already with what I have heard and the craic has been immense. Megson from the NE of England singing beautiful penned songs from their homeland followed by the guys from Massachusetts and that area. Brilliant story/song about a trip south,”the road goes on for ever and the party never ends” alongside Vincent 52 with great banjo playing.


“The road goes on……”lyric was a frustrating lost memory but the young ones in the camp found it on the net while we tried to guess who sang the lyric. Straight to the marquee to buy a couple of CDs and back to the camp for a wee break before more and more and more. Robert Earl Keen for those who are wondering.


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.


Crab and Mango at Perth Station..

Finishing off now at the cafe with a valedictory cup of coffee.

Oh so tired. Full of music, Shoogles being the last band. Rocking the crowd as usual and the humour from Angus direct and instructive, to the girl on the phone anyway. We were slightly puzzled by Angus dedicating a tune to Cilla and it was only a couple of days after that we realised that she had passed away. The morning started in fine form again, catching the end of the Quebec boys and then onto Lone Bellow.


They seem to have got involved in a wedding at their hotel last night, at least that is what they thought and by the look of guitar man Brian he was probably right. he had a rather pale and white sheen to his visage. Zach went over to him at one stage of the performance and came away saying he now knows what indiscretions smell like. With the follow-up of ” too many bad decisions”. Lovely lovely music, a little break and then washed over by Danu, this as a result of the wee break.


When back to the campsite the overindulgence was quite intense.


Meeting up with the guys from the last century and the new young ones were hard to keep up with. Should not have tried. My Puritanical existence of the last ten years or so was no practice for getting involved.


Another visit to the exquisite Stray Birds started the recovery but it also needed a couple of hours kip back at camp. It felt as though I was conscious but may have dozed off a couple of times, but the music was still there. Again back at camp more sense this time but  overslept, still got a good part of the Punch Bros on Stage 1.

More wonderful bluegrass before seeing yet another highlight in the Ben Miller Band.


Wash boards,


electronic spoons, trombones along with fine blue guitar and singing. They were wonderful and gentle but if you walked into a bar with them there you would walk quickly back out. Missouri based and played their Ozark stomp well, mountain music, delta blues and bluegrass. Great lead into Shooglenifty


to end a fabulous Festival.


The well organised drill was in action again on Monday morning and as a result we were at Ely station waiting for what we thought was a 8.46 to Peterborough but in fact a 8.58 which came in at 9.07 due to a slow-moving freight train. A fine name for a tune or the lyric of a song. In fact there was a bit of a ballad for the way home. We missed the East coast connection so every connection till we arrived in Inverness 45 mins after the last train to Kyle left. Another tune title? So we had a taxi arranged for us at the expense of Greater East Anglia Railway. Arrived home only an hour after schedule with little extra stress. After all I have to try to seat 150 people a night on 80 seats for meals at the Inn. That is stress. Knew I was coming closer to home when I spotted one of the Lochcarron group at Waverley Station and I was asked at Perth Station for the Inn’s crab and mango recipe. The weather has continued on its merry way up here and we are now mostly resigned to not having much of a summer. Off to Rona now to pick up the Castaway via a couple of fleets.

Still Summer in Cambridge.

Very briefly you think what is happening back home, but it is brief. This Festival is so good, intimate if you can say that when 14000 people are wandering about listening to some cracking music. 9Q7Q0515 Yesterday morning was busy and we did not have to move from the Main Stage till after two as Irish band, Goitse, got us off to a flying start. The name is an informal Irish greeting “come here” and we did. Beautiful combination of bodhran, fiddle and song was a fine wake up. 9Q7Q0541 The Festival was starting earlier each day. Then a blue grass band all singing and playing with the one Mike, old time. Their harmonies , lovely to hear, and you knew the blurb was right when they said their influences were Bill Munroe and the Carter Family. They were from Pensylvania and called The Stray Birds. 9Q7Q0549 And finally for this session Show of Hands, who I know from a cd of Andy’s, and were brilliant musical protest song singers. Cynically sarcastic view on the greed of the few is probably the best way to put it. In a sort of surreal way you are still aware of the world still turning outside the Festival site and put into song and sung by the Show of Hands confirm you are not alone in how you view the world. 9Q7Q0550 Had to take a break 9Q7Q0523 and a couple of hours in the afternoon meant loins girded and back into it. The hours spent at the camp base were at times chaotic but everything was immaculate the next morning for another go at it all. Nick, who was a one time resident of Applecross was there in spirit but not in body this year. Although he is a long term participant he decided to take a break but his last years escapade was mentioned a few times. He was in touch after his last visit saying how much he enjoyed seeing this band, but it was politely pointed out that it was the only one he saw due to a certain over indulgence on his part. Cambridge has many different effects on the body and soul.  Gentle start of blues with Alvin, sitting outside listening rather than watching at the side of Stage 2, before a racous half hour with some Quebec boys, a three piece called De Temps Antan, at the Club Tent. Stood at the back and listened as they were seated but what a sound they produced of Quebecois. 9Q7Q0555 Then onto experiencing  a highlight listening to Rhiannon Giddens of Chocolate Drops. We were gobsmacked as she included everything from Odetta, Patsey Cline to a Puirt a Beul sung so fast and yes in Gaelic. 9Q7Q0557 We all were simply captivated and her hour was rapid. No over runs at Cambridge with everyone starting and finishing on time. The sound team were pretty stunning in getting all the sound checks done in allotted times. Almost dazed some of us took a little food break  while Joan Baez played her set. Listened from a distance and after some food and now the ever present Crabbies we wandered in to catch the last of the set, singing Imagine with the rest of the crowd. And then Treacherous, 9Q7Q0571 this crazy adrenaline fuelled band from our parts. 9Q7Q0565 A dozen guys playing stunning traditional instruments to a jumping crowd. 9Q7Q0560 As well as repetitive and building rythmns coupled with a light show the whole is a piece of musical theatre that enters your being. 9Q7Q0568 Just before the end of Baez noticed some one on the way out to get ready for Treacherous and it was a regular of theirs, Jacky who was here with Mark. Finally met some one I knew, this is the Inverness syndrome, always bumping into some you know. Maybe it is the Scottish community mentality.  Back to the stage, the fifty five years legs were twenty again. 9Q7Q0574 Down at the front and bouncing with the rest of a packed audience. 9Q7Q0564 Music takes you places, so ends an exhausting day in fine music and great company again.

Summer at the Cambridge Festival.

Kept popping into the Internet Cafe on the site taking notes on the day.

Friday morn and little updates on the day before. Early start at Wilburton for the queue to get into the camp site. It is an operation well planned and executed and being involved means maximum enjoyment achieved. The journey down was almost dream like, making the Strath train with 5mins to spare, buying the rucksack and spare tent with plenty of time to catch the Edinburgh train, read The Bees by Laline Paull and doze the way south. Spectacular going over the Rail Bridge and interesting to see the new build in progress.


Bit of a shame it is investment in more car use. Imagine a couple of billion invested in public transport. Alison was working through the last stages of an application for the hydro which had to be in on the night and finished it in time at Andy and Jill’s. After being picked up at Peterborough Station by Andy this was  followed by a fine tea and research for the weekend on YouTube which came up trumps already having seen Fara,


a splendid group of fiddlers from Orkney with keyboards. They were assisted by Hayley Keenan


who plays with Talisk, one of the few I missed.  Lynched, a quartet from Dublin, were next and are the only band I have not bought a recording off, certainly of the ones I wanted.


They were so good with offbeat tunes and songs but lovely harmonies. And then off to Elephant Sessions to finish of the first day at the Club Tent.


That the crowd were jumping by the end of their set says it all. First saw them at the Strath Pavillion and new they were a fine band and they did not disappoint.



But I jump ahead, Andy had us in the queue at 7.50am,


doors opened at 10 and tents set up before going back for second load to the car park.


Our tents were slightly more difficult as the second one just bought and mine last set up was in Canada 5/6 years ago, buying the spare one was the right decision. Eventually set right and a wander round the site, siesta and a couple of crabbies finished off a fine start to the festival. Might add this to the CCs trip as an annual event.

Sat morn and in the busy net cafe.

Turned out to be a Celtic day in the main with a couple of other gems thrown in. We started off at the Main Tent with Rura slightly late as a wee flurry of emails had to be dealt with regarding the Hydro. Always a little frustrating as I cannot say much as it nears the day. Suffice to say that we live in a complicated world and trust has to be backed up by legal agreements. Not the way I go through life but seems it is necessary to have due diligence if anything goes pear-shaped. But back to the music, Rura,


a tune written for the 45% brought to mind the comment earlier in the day, “history is written by the winners and the music by the losers”, were great the Italians, Canzoniere Grecanico Salentino, from the south were brilliant, full on, musical from their locale and colourful. She started in black,


then white


and finished in red.  Seems it is called pizzica and originates from the Salento peninsula. A little break for too much food and a couple of crabbies before dipping in to Chris Smither, wonderful blues guitar and then on to Altan. Fine fiddling and box playing and then Wilko and Norman strutting their stuff. Found myself willing Norman to survive the gig as he came on looking like he was on amphetamines. He lasted the pace playing some fantastic bass and had a silky shirt at the end similar to my Martin’s wedding one. Looks cool but soaked in sweat. Wilko Johnson by rights should not be alive, but after having an eleven hour operation to remove a three kilo tumour he is definitely alive and kicking as is Norman Watt-Roy, previously of the Blockheads.


Cannot keep the pace up so back for a wee snooze even with Ed’s birthday celebrations going on.

Slightly refreshed, it was back to the club tent to hear the Sam Kelly Trio, including a fine banjo player.


They cracked it and finished with a couple of covers Sultans of Swing and The Chain, both rocked the tent. First album coming out and reckon they will be around. Finished the night off at the food tables in the grand company of Pat and Fedor with the Proclaimers playing on the main stage.


They had driven down on the Friday and joined the camp in good style with a slightly more roomy Vango. Good catch up. So all that was left was back to the campsite and a brief chat about the day before crashing out and sleeping better although aware of Matthew ushering  a very confused Ben back into the tent, seems Ben needs a little looking after, he does “massive bads”. This morning tales around the campfire included funeral eulogies, dementia and elderly care…… Mostly those up early are in our fifties and apart from music and tales of overindulgence this is now a theme. I am in the company of lawyers and social workers, interesting stuff. So another day ahead, enjoying ones self can be hard work.

Cambridge, Highlanders are on the way.

Although I feel a little like Tino, the Newfie,


who was outside yesterday waiting patiently for his German owners to scoff their langoustines, scallops and monkfish, I will miss the hustle and bustle this weekend coming. We are off down the road, well rail track, to the Cambridge Folk Festival. Travelling light as we will be looked after by Andy and Jill and will be followed down by Pat and Fedor, so a little reunion of sorts coming up and looking forward to it all. Listening to a Cerys Matthews prog on Radio4 about compiling an Irish songbook and one of the songs came with a wee story. Fields of Athenry, the song, and the story involved the Irish team being beaten 4.0 by the Italians. The last fifteen minutes of the game the crowd belted out the Fields of Athenry and sounded fantastic on the clip they played. Roy Keane however was not impressed and after the game his summing up stated that the fans should have come to see the team play to win and not to sing songs. Next game the Irish played the camera pans the crowd and picks out a woman holding up a placard “CAN WE START SINGING NOW, ROY?” Laughed out loud at the imagery of it all. Good to work alone.

The work weekend really started at around 3pm last Wednesday when I went in early for the first shift and this one and Thursday’s went well with no real incidents to speak of, not the busiest but steady with all the tables being used. Friday was a fine day at sea, seagulls getting hungry,


as was Saturday although Saturday felt long as there was a breeze from the North and enough to double the effort in getting 300 creels on board, emptied, rebated and shot back again. Made it to the Inn again for the back of three, having had a shower to wash the mud off and the smell of the bait. And then into a fairly long shift which lasted until we got the last of the revellers up to the Games Marquee and RythmnReel, the local favourites for this gig. I made it up to the Field for half four but all activities were all over by this time and only managed a wee chat with the Band before heading down to the Inn for the expected waves of customers. We did not get too badly hit, I think the Dream Machine took the edge of it but tired enough to only think of going up to the Dance for about five minutes before realism and age took over. The light towards the end of the evening was a little special and instead of the dance a walk along Shore Street did it for me.





Sunday was a repeat and it was a busy one with bikers and everyone else in for a meal. Sounds like the Walled Garden had a busy week as well. The summer weather does not seem to have put anyone off although the weather for the Games could not have been better and good to see all the effort put in had its rewards with a good attendance and lots of activities. Sort of passed me by this year as working took greater priority. Sunday morning and I was so glad not to have gone to the Dance, especially as it went on so late, just too old to keep both ends of the candle alight. Had a wee rain check on some of the next generation who appeared in the morning and there seemed a few over from the Dornie/Kintail way. They are already getting younger than our boys. Feeling ever so slightly older. Due to the forecast I had decided in advance that fishing was not an option so was at the Inn for twelve and went through a ten-hour shift which allowed the Boss away for a boat trip up Torridon with Torridon Tours and although did not speak much when she came back, many customers again, she enjoyed it immensely. A table wait but not too long. Between five and six things got a little hairy and with only me out front and keeping control was all one could do. Once Boss and Linda were back you could speak to people again. At one stage there were, Swiss, Belgian, Dutch, German, American, Swedish, Australian, Norwegian, French and Spanish all sitting either inside or outside the Inn. Went on a wee bit late as the last two customers came after the kitchen closed but got their medium steaks and venison burgers at half nine. Europeans tend to eat later and do not realise the kitchen has already been open for nine hours.

Went for a wee wander down the road just now and back after a meal of squats, garlic and new potatoes,


as the pooches were a bit restless. Now preparing for the trip south to Cambridge mainly making sure everything is charged and as said the packing light. Half hour between train connections so may bag another rucksack at Blacks. Dougal is doing fine otter impressions now.


For his exercise all you do now is throw stones in the water and his swims back and fore trying to catch them. Simple minds I suppose. Notice the Pier has now got a bit of a Brighton look with all the beach huts in a row.


Might paint mine for a bit of colour. While I was taking Tino’s photo his mate Emma was wanting attention so snapped her as well. cannot remember what she was supposed to be but there was a rare Tibetan terrier in earlier. Noted that Emma’s owner would have been in with a shout in the dog owner lookalike competition on Saturday.


The Hydro is coming together and very quickly with three pieces all being tied up at the same time, needs to be, with time running out. No more bodies found and with reports of unhappy bikers, a couple of local cars in the morgue we will see you again next week with my head hopefully filled with fine music and memories.



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