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

Posts tagged ‘George Gunn’

A”Northerly Land”

Monday; What a day, with a lovely start.


Bees decided to take a wee look around to see what is going on. Warm in their corner although a bit early for some grub.



Majestic weather although a breeze from the north and an email from the accountant meant I stayed ashore and combined some more rapid recovery bookwork with tidying up outside and finally a late afternoon walk with Dougal and Co down across the Toscaig Regen.


Delivered the poker, which seemed to take on a “Feel the Force” life of its own in the master’s hand, and as the sun was dipping over the Cuillin


just sitting on a rock looking west


and south


with The Northerly Land playing on the Ipod waiting for Dougal to come back from his jaunt with a couple of hinds….it just can not get better.


Empty mind and absorbing the scene even for a couple of milliseconds becoming part of it, all is well, Kyleakin is looking well below the Bienne and the Bridge is lit up in the late afternoon and I think the Prosperity heading in under it.


Everything is so clear at this time of year and the light is so strong as it gets lower in the sky.


Fortunate that this is my office.


Patient granny, Jenny, waiting in the heather for her wayward grandson.


Although George’s poetry is for the glens of Caithness there is relevance to the geography of the coastal hamlets of Applecross. The Glen having been cleared as well with the houses to the south built on the edge of slopes and by the shore.

Sunday; Writing on Sunday morning , reflections on yesterday are so good. Despite a bit of a nasty headache for most of the morning the day’s music sort of blew it away. Do not want to think of the number of painkillers I have taken but the liver does not feel too tender so no more of that. Went down to the Royal Concert Hall to get tickets for the piping concert, alerted by Ross Ainslie on social media. That completed, back for a wee snooze before meeting up with Alison, she was doing something which involved shopping, I haven’t a clue what. So settling in with the IPod and in one of the seats where you can stretch one’s feet. We were treated to an astonishing display of piping from the more traditional, Angus MacColl, Argyll, through to a composition from Canada called Boraraig, selected extracts from a suite commissioned by Blas Festival, Budino from Galicia, who then played with Ross Ainslie and Jarlath Henderson and so it was half time. I have not got the words to describe properly the effect of sitting listening to uilean,small and Gallician pipes, accompanied by guitar, belting out the Fairy Dance. The obvious joy the players took in playing the tunes, I suppose you can say it is a sort of meditation, and all you can say “This will do”. The second half, by the way, was pretty dam good as well with the Scottish Youth Pipe Band. Surprisingly there are not many hours in the day at this Festival, especially when walking to and from the Concert Hall, you pass MacCumba banging out their rhythms on drums and a couple of pipers, sounding very primitive.


Some of their beards matched their ardent playing.

Evening was under way before taking a breath, well another wee snooze while not hearing about Hearts beating County, and a visit to a Tapas bar before heading over to the Oran Mor for The Northerly Land. Can only say I was blown away for the second night in a row. So different in culture to the previous night but equal in its warmth and possibly a bit more exuberant. A little hiccup on the way occurred as we were walking up to the venue, Alison casually asked if I had the tickets. Of course I didn’t,so it was back onto the underground and three quarters of an hour later and six pound down we were inside the Oran Mor to be treated to a very lively Lewis band called Face The West.


I have to express my ignorance of this band but they rocked and got the place warmed up for Iain Copeland and Co. I have been listening to this album almost non stop for three months now and to be quite frank it was a privilege to hear it live,


to hear the immediacy of George Gunn’s poetry, the brass section, the rhythms of Ian Copeland alongside the traditional instruments of Seamus, Neil and Angus. High amusement when a track was under way with no fiddler on stage.


Something must have triggered in Neil’s subconscious because although missing the first riff he made it for the rest of the track and got lots of ribbing for the rest of the set. To be fair with ten musicians and poets coming and going there needed to be an awareness of what was going on that was more than usual. And no surprise but one or two guys turn up who you have a faint recognition of.


A fine night and catching up with Rob today, a lot shorter than his, but we had more to do tomorrow.

So imagine sitting on top of a wee hill just to the west of Toscaig looking out over the Sound watching the sun sinking through the broken clouds over the Cuillin with the words of George Gunn and the rhythms of Iain Copeland in the air.


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