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

Posts tagged ‘Rura’

Scottish Music in Good Hands.

We arrived in plenty of time, even if the League of Highland Gentlemen had turned up. Result being that Skipinnish


kicked off our musical evening in fine style with their new singer Norrie Mciver. Have not seen or heard them for a wee while and was pleasantly surprised.


They got the crowd going with some breakneck piping and Runrig songs as well as their own. Perfect warm up to the RURA set,


some said not so good without Adam Holmes but I thought they were excellent. Extraordinary bodhran playing.


The weather was not too hot as the showers started mid evening but the stage and tent were dry if a little cold by the end of the night. The weather was spectacular on the mainland


and the trip to Portree was worth it just for the views over the Hill.


Prefer the snow cover to be lighter as you see the rock feature.


Into Niteworks and, as a Niteworks virgin, was not too sure but they were the best warm up to Treacherous. Liked the combination of driving computer beats with the mix of fiddle, pipes and gaelic voice.


All these bands are taking traditional music on their own journeys, sure some do not go for it but I find they cleanse the soul and take you places away from the everyday stresses of rural living.

Treacherous were their usual exuberant selves with Ali dancing about the stage, Ross giving it laldy on the whistles and pipes, while the box


and fiddlers and banjo


completed the front line up.


They are a complete band and are showmen as well. Almost got a smile from Adam towards the end. Maybe because the dry ice had cleared somewhat.


Very slight downside was the over exuberance of some of the younger set which gave the security some concerns and Ali telling them to behave. Drink related rather than animosity. Certainly noticeable the amounts of drink consumed and that does seem to be the case for west coast festivals but the music still outshone, even the girl who asked for a climb on my shoulders, a very brief one as frowned on by security, was more intoxicated by the music than the alcohol. Back home and tucked up by 1.30am after a very fine visit to Skye and meeting up with a few Festival regulars thrown in.

Comeback Stalled but Rura Eases the Fretting

The come back has stalled somewhat as we are still waiting for the bell housing to arrive in the Highlands. Apart from moments of frustration I just have to get on with it. The weather has been quiet and settled which does not help the mood and am getting a little fed up with cutting, chopping and stacking wood. One advantage of the situation is that it is pleasant to hear the young voices of the community across the road on the play ground. Take a wee break to take some of the younger ones across the road. They are very traffic aware.

Tuesday evening there were four cars which made their way over the Plockton to hear Rura play some fine, fine music.


Good to see a whole table from Applecross but so easily could have gone on the bus if it was legal. Such a waste of a good asset, but so many people have tried to no avail to get it on the road. The music put on by Lochan and The School of Music was so worth the journey over the Hill. The sunset as we travelled along the Achmore road was spectacular and more so as we saw glimpses of it.


We were early so had time to catch the sun dipping down behind the south end of Skye


and a quick trip down to the back of Frithard was rewarding as the after light softened.



Knew the music well as most of it was from the last album, bought at Cambridge.



Made it up to the Pen stock and saw the concreting had all been poured


with the outlet pipe in place


and most of it buried.


The Share launch is progressing and an evening at the Hall is planned provisionally for the 17th of October. Lots of work going on behind the scenes to get it all in place, comprehensive business plans and worst possible scenarios for the Community has to be worked out to reassure investors of the safety of their investment. Both the investor and the community benefit as well as it being a green renewable resource.

The MoD have issued their consultation on Thursday and I am not sure what exactly we are consulting on. We now see the new map which Qinetic want to protect the new hydrophones and it is what we were told at Kyle. Little change and although I will put something down as part of the consultation I am not expecting any positive reaction. Such is life, feels like we are being squeezed in every direction. Maybe being broken down does not help the current mood. The shifts at the Inn continue and many regulars are coming in. By the end of the week you get to know who is in what house and expect them in the evening for their meal. A wedding this weekend has meant a little boost as things have dropped off somewhat.

(just a wee note from a very noisy bar) Came in just before six and it was already jumping. The pre wedding drinks party was well under way with the first 30/40 tippling away. There were very few other customers apart from  two groups of regulars. They were seen to with plaice, turbot and monk fish and enjoyed the fairly raucous night. The wedding crew got themselves together around 7.30 and started ordering lots of food and drink. I suppose I approach it the same way as I fish, if you sort of know what you are doing and stay calm, it all takes shape. Several top comments sent to the kitchen and they could not believe how organised we all are. It’s becoming a really good team again after a scrappy sort of summer with too few staff and too many coming and going. Managed to book a band for the share launch in the midst of it all. So hoping most who are invited will be able to come. In amongst it all the Hydro boys came down, an after dark finish for them and will mean another trip with Dougal and Eilidh to take a few shots of the progress. The Lego bricks are taking shape seemingly as well as the paneling coming off the concrete at the intake. The wedding group are pretty “well to do” but it always makes me smile when I see workies in as well and no one gives a toss. Sign of a good bar. Home now and pickup last nights ice cream. Forgot it so strawberry ripple and amoretti biscuit tonight.


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.

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