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

Posts tagged ‘Mairi Campbell’

500 Miles

Admit the last post was a bit rushed as I did not want to arrive at Mairi’s performance in a rush and feel flustered. First though one or two things that have happened over the week. As important as any was the dozen 9Q7Q9838   or so volunteers who helped tidy up and plant the Filling Station. 9Q7Q9838   One of the few beautiful days of the year and the Station is now looking good, 9Q7Q9843 pity it is experiencing problems with connections. We are still selling fuel. 9Q7Q9839 Seeking info in trying to reduce the breaks in operation. The weather has been good this week but now back to the regular, a northerly cold breeze and damp. Despite arriving back at half past two this morning tiredness has not been an issue today and pressure washing a fleet on the pier was easy work. Thursday evening has left some good memories both of the light outside, the late sun casting a shadow above Cruary, 9Q7Q9889 catching Clachan in her rays 9Q7Q9892 the soft late light on Milton, 9Q7Q9896 before settling down north of the Bay 9Q7Q9899 leaving the sole yachtsman in calm solitude. 9Q7Q9902 The craic with Ken was the start of a fine couple of days which is continuing although difficult to describe as it is almost indefinable. The journey south began yesterday around one and after a drop off the catch at the inn. As I was up at five 9Q7Q9906 and had hauled 300 creels 9Q7Q9908 so was a little tired, although it was calm, 9Q7Q9915 and had to stop three times for snoozes on the journey. Got the destination right first time 9Q7Q9920 although I was a little concerned when I parked up. Thinking about it, it may  just prejudice, it being in West Pilton , or at least close by, including Muirhouse. Names that conjure up a bit of deprivation and crime. 9Q7Q9919 Seeing a family at the side of the road unfortunately confirmed this as I watched a young Dad yelling at a wee urchin to stop him running across the road. The wee boy, about three or four would have fitted in a black and white 1930s photo. What struck me most was he did not register that his Dad was screaming at him, must have been so regular that it had no effect. Just felt sad at the passing scene. Inside the Arts Centre, and the atmosphere is completely different. Warm, welcoming and safe. I settle in before the main audience and soon we are under way. I found it enthralling and experienced a period of timeless bliss. I think one way to describe it was when you are reading a book that you become so engrossed in and you want to turn the page almost before you have finished reading the one before you.  An hour and whatever of pure enjoyment watching and listening to Mairi enact and play her musical journey to where she is now. I knew little of what I saw although it seemed as if I did, the Mexican escapade was good fun. And the man with the kind eyes. 9Q7Q9918 Discussion after was very structured and comments were invited on the performance. Cut short a little as the Centre had a fairly strict closing time, stricter than the Inn. So glad to have a quick chat with Mairi at the end before making my way back up the road. The plan was to stop, camp and catch up on a sleep before coming home by mid day. But I was so involved with Mairi’s performance that I was passing Kingussie before I began to feel a bit groggy. But with head full of thoughts dreams and feelings of good fortune, Achnasheen was soon in the rear. By taking little steps to Lochcarron, then Kishorn, the top of the Hill I was finally home by half two. I find these little dips into real life keeps you going especially when I left Applecross with Hydro complications, the Filling Station down again and a few tears at the Inn. All real but too much sometimes and it gets to you. The perfect antidote this time was Mairi’s performance, but it was more than that and that is going to remain a “mystery” as I can not explain the peace one enjoys from these events. Back home and because I am reflecting all the time, early up and washing creels, bit of pressure called on to fix the Filling Station again, this time with an audience of classic cars and bikes. Cracked it eventually but we have to get this connection sorted, as it is starting to cause concern. And then work which was fine for the two of us to work the floor fairly easily until eight when we were hit for six. At half eight we had two fours and a three waiting for tables. Beautiful day for weather, visitors and now some fine fiddle and guitar playing in the corner, this now being Sunday. The service has now finished and as usual the compliments were flying in to the kitchen. Langoustine, scallops, crab along side sea-trout, lobster and cod and that was just the fish were consumed with gusto by Americans, and Europeans alike. The only down side of the day is the troubles at the Filling Station. Got it going twice today and it has been reported to the technical dept for a look tomorrow and if it is our problem then we can go looking at our end. It is a happy bar tonight with people coming out to hear the music. A couple of boys, Cameron and Niel, who were at the School of Excellence in Plockton. They are a fine advert for the school and are accomplished players. Stayed long enough to hear a set from the Austrian bagpiper The Hydro saga continues unabated but there is not too much to say in detail at the moment. Some of the figures and projections are indeed puzzling me but important decisions have to be made informatively and quickly. So it has been a heady mixture of music people, food and Applecross over the last few days. Good strong conversations, connections strengthened  and these young boys are good, not stop playing for the last hour and now we getting more of the small pipes. A satisfying weekend for the soul.

Mum and The Applecross Crime Wave.

With In the Wake of Neil Gunn by Mike Vass playing on a dark winter’s evening In Applecross, all is relatively well. Yesterday it was off to An Arcasaid for my first Christmas dinner of the year. Went with Son No3 to have a meal my mother/grandmother and a very pleasant time we had.
This place, along with what I hear about Howard Doris Centre, must be among the top places in the country for looking after elderly folk. The obvious care and attention the staff display for the folk staying at the Home is lovely to watch. Photos were taken by staff, Jackie Cairns,

photo 1

and I managed a couple myself.


Conversation was with the staff rather than my Mum as she has declined well into Alzheimer’s but seems happy, in fact happy as Larry, as she laughed and chortled her way through her meal.


Food was excellent and we both managed two desserts, a rather large panacotta being my second one.We did not stay for the ceilidh as I suspect we will see said ceilidh band over our way at Hogmanay.

First phone call of today started off badly, “Our toilets have been vandalised”. Images of broken cisterns and flowing water came to mind but it turns out that it was graffiti spray painted on the north gable end. So on the bike and up for a look with Dougal waiting impatiently to set off.


These days and in this weather it takes ten minutes to set off on the bike, choker, hat, gloves, coat, all never where one leaves them. So straight to the Toilets where we find some unusual postings. Lots of speculation about message, language and general puzzlement why it has ended up on our toilet wall.


Brief stop at the Inn to wait for a passing shower and rainbow


before biking back down the road to cutting, chopping and stacking most of the larch backs picked up on Saturday. And even on days like today there was a glimmer


or two off to the west.


Back to the Toilets and the investigations have continued throughout the day and we seem to have narrowed it down to some Greek football slogans, possibly with a touch of Millwall thrown in. We may even have the two teams involved, at least one coming from Thessalonike and the graffiti may even be a little rude. All very strange. Intriguing comment on twitter while trying to find out more was that there are Caley Thistle and Ross County slogans daubed on a remote Greek island puzzling the residents there.

That was some fine music and going by a fb posting may squeeze another concert in at Celtic Connections, best described by Celtic Connections themselves. The Fiddletree Gig.

“The giant sugar maple for which this project is named, having grown on a Cape Breton hillside for perhaps 300 years, was felled in 1994 by local luthier, fiddler and composer Otis Tomas, who went on to craft its wood into a unique family of instruments, and his reflections on its history into a unique suite of music.

After previous acclaimed performances at the Celtic Colours festival, this UK première features Tomas with a hand-picked ensemble of Scottish, Irish, Canadian and US musicians: Sarah McFadyen (fiddle), Joel Sanderson (cello/viola), Abby Newton (cello/fiddle), Mairi Campbell (fiddle/viola), Paul MacDonald (guitar), Laoise Kelly (harp) and Claudine Langille (mandolin).”

Means we are going to be running down the road to the Old Fruit Market from the Royal Concert Hall to catch the Shooglenifty 25th Anniversary concert. But you only live once.


Mr McFall’s Chamber at Clachan

Last night went out to listen to some brilliant music played by McFall’s Chamber. Stopped of on the way up the road at the Inn and was told that one of the musicians was asking for me which had me puzzled but when I went through to the dinning room I met up with an ‘old pal’ Mairi Campbell. Had a good chat catching up at half time and again at the end. I was entranced by some of the compositions, in the first half by James Ross’ Chasing the Sun and in the second half by all four new compositions especially Aida O’ Rourke’s Horns in the Little Bay. Although not a musician I could see there was lots of complicated playing and speaking to Mairi afterwards she found it quite difficult as she had only played the pieces three times before. A great night of great sounds and a stunning setting.

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