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

Posts tagged ‘Treacherous Orchestra’

Fishing,Inn,Music,Hydro and “Oh Dearie Me”

Saturday morning and a fresh breezy day from the south. One washing out drying another underway, three days fishing, a couple of shifts at the Inn, a trip to Ullapool to hear some of the best music Scotland has to offer, some Hydro investigating and an “Oh Dearie Me” moment.

Fishing began on Tuesday and the weather held most of the week, a mixture of sunny

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and grey

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but mostly calm apart from finishing off on Thursday afternoon when a fresh southerly sprang up and it was a bumpy steam home. The last fleet of the day was a little up and down but luckily I left the best till last. The fishing has taken a bit of a dive and catching and putting back the berried langoustine is starting to hurt. That last fleet is an example of just keeping going despite the catch being poor. I probably caught as much in that fleet as I caught in the previous five.

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But that is fishing and although in general terms pot fishing is the most routine of all you do come across many surprises. And of course as long as you pick the weather it is always a pleasure being on the water. Friday, I decided not to go out and that gives an indication of how poor the catch has become, as the weather was fine. Thought that only two days since hauling the creels I would be hauling on the day would not be enough for a decent amount of langoustine to be in the creels. Be out of langoustine at the inn this weekend as I sent off a few kilos to Loch Ness Inn early on Friday. But hopefully it will all start again next week. The choice is to land the berried females and I cannot do that now. Maybe it is good to do without now and again. Fine days

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and nice to head back to the moorings knowing that is another good effort under the belt.

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The Inn has been a little quieter this week, although still very busy. I was at the Inn last night due the previous night’s music, and sorting out where everyone was to sit is still stressful with plenty on the list, remembering the residents, larger tables booked and then a five and eight wander in looking for something to eat. You work out a wee seating plan for the evening and usually it is not even close. You change the plan several times in your head and pretend you know what you are doing. When a couple decide they do not want to share they have to wait a little longer, the fact they do not want to share usually means they are a little prickly anyway, get a little bothered that they have to wait longer. All you can do is just chat away to them. Finding accommodation for a couple who come down later to eat, they are so appreciative of the help they get when they come to Applecross. It is a fundamental of living here, so whether you own an Estate, shoot on one, work on a harbour on the North East of England, a nurse or retired GP living in Guernsey, you make them all welcome and hope they enjoy the Applecross welcome. In the passing Davie alerted me to an unusual light over to the west. Only just caught the halos below the sunburst.

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Working last night was a wee penance for taking Thursday evening off to go up to Ullapool to hear some stunning music from Ali Hutton

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and Ross Ainslie

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alongside Owen Sinclair. Accompanied by Canadians and the odd Aussie in the Boss’s car we arrived early due to me thinking that it started at 7.30pm. 8.30pm start meant a couple of pints at the Ceilidh Place and me nipping down for a few chips and a wander round the harbour. Music was immense, front row seats watching masters at work with whistles, pipes, guitars and a couple of fine songs from Gordon. Enjoyed by all and good to meet up with the Pankhursts who Ross reckons have been to more Treacherous gigs than he has, and he plays with them!! A long drive but the music was so worth it and the banter was up there as well. Andrea, on the sound, seems an important part of the deal, and photos taken at the end,

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all a bit chaotic as people were leaving and chatting.

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Back by 1.00am and although up early to get the langoustine away on the lorry a relaxed day on Friday. Keeping an eye on the Hydro as the website is not showing power output at the moment so we have to go up to see all is well. The spear valve does not seem to be operating as well as it could be so power is a little restricted. Probably simple resetting of head levels or such like. Going up to the Head to check the screen is always a pleasure with the weather favourable. Bit of green on it and a quick clean

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and shift a couple of stones which rolled up against the gate which keeps the flow going before making my way back down. But not before dipping feet into the pool and taking time out,

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relaxing in one of the beautiful parts of the world.

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I like the fact that all one sees is a small dam, a track and a shed when green energy and money for the community is produced in idyllic surrounds.

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The “Oh Dearie Me” moment I have to say caught me a little by surprise and involves the MRD500. I thought having to break into the music room because there was no key available to use the community sound system for the ceilidh, replacing the door with no cost to anyone bar the volunteers who put everything back together, was the end of the matter. But no, a letter appeared addressed to the Community Council questioning my “integrity” to hold public office. Had to leave the room for 5 minutes while the others discussed me. I can only view this latest with humour and disbelief that people can spend so much effort to write so much rubbish. Skimming the letter, I was almost calling the police myself to be taken away in handcuffs, such was the dire awfulness of my actions. But enough this a positive, beautiful and fulfilling place to live and as one of the fellow councillors said afterwards it becomes easier to ignore personal vendettas the more ridiculous they become, just have to guard against the constant pecking away at ones contribution to the community.

 

 

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

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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.

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

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

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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

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

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

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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.

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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

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and fiddlers and banjo

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completed the front line up.

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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.

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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.

The Conachers of Dunkeld and Sydney.

(Tuesday) Gentle shift this evening and feeling a little less stressed out having dived into some book work last night. May well be paying some fines but at least it is underway and setting up some systems where I intend never to lose sleep over it again. Silly really as I know I can do it but keep putting it off. Only New Years Resolution this year. Catch up and keep up. Quiet as it is we still did around twenty meals. The “maintenance” is still on going at Sand and the Hydro boys are back in town. Good news is the turbine was producing 90kw today for a while but they have to come back as a couple of parts are not compatible, so it is back down to the 50. No sign of it drying up yet despite the little rain we have had in the last couple of weeks.

(Friday) Weather has definitely improved and on Sunday it was a peaceful morning across the Bay

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and the Milton whooper swans were quietly feeding on the bottom grass of the loch.

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There was entertainment on in the evening, meeting a lot of people due to working through the week these days. Previously I missed them through just working the Sunday lunch shift. Good food, music and chat. Hopefully Treacherous Orchestra have another couple of fans. Only down side is the after effects on the Monday. Not terribly worried as the day was not for fishing, nor yesterday, but today was fine and peaceful although there was still the remains of a northerly swell in the morning. Fine day

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although cold with a dollop of snow on the hills.

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A few langoustines about on Wednesday and a fleet full of squat lobsters meant I had sweet chilli squats for tea after the shift. One of the few meals I have from what I catch and do not cook myself. Back on the boat the afternoon saw me taking a bit of time out feeding the small gulls

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and cormorants.

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They were good company watching them diving

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and wheeling in the air,

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chasing the pout I was throwing them, sad I know, but nice to be in the same environment as them and not doing too much damage to it. Been a couple of whale entanglements recently, some being freed but sadly an orca washed up dead on Tiree having been entangled on creel gear, either in use or ghost creels. Our activities on land and at sea are starting to cause havoc with our sea life, plastics and PCBs being major causes. Thinking about going over to leaded rope to at least cut down bottom foul ups. We do not get many cetaceans our way, possibly as a result of the MoD sonar activity, but I have had four encounters over the thirty odd years at sea, two bad ones and they were ones on the seabed.

So onto Thursday evening at the Inn where it was supposed to be quiet so I could do some paper work. Walking in I sort of knew it would not happen like that. A couple were on the Big Table by the fire and had booked on speck, the Conachers from Sydney. They and the scattering of local bods were on good form but the fire was low and it was cold. Caroline with a couple of gins Francis with her Sauvignon and Mark with a crofters and dram along with the Connachers meant it was a rather frivolous start to the evening shift. But good craic was had throughout the evening and the Conachers story was fascinating. Around the turn of the 20th century the family were based in Dunkeld, his great-grandfather being a keeper to the Duke of Athol (my assumption). Things hit the fan when his son Robert got the Dukes daughter “with child”. A big no-no in them days, so money changed hands and Robert and his brother made their way out to Australia. This saved me asking the Aussie question about voluntary or forced emigration concerning their predecessors. His brother did not survive more than six weeks but after serving in the WW1 Robert obviously established his family resulting in this return visit from Sydney. Another part of the tale is the great-grandfather became Baron Baillie of Dunkeld, a title conveyed by the Duke and was an ex officio, justice of the peace type role. The following is from a site I looked up.http://www.visitdunkeld.com/dunkeld-decline.htm

“In the reign of Charles II. Dunkeld received an offer which it declined. This was to raise its status to that of a Royal Burgh. The offer was renewed by Queen Anne and accepted, but although a Charter granting the appointment of 3 Bailes, a Dean of Guild, a Treasurer and 10 Common Council men, besides other privileges, was prepared, it was never carried into effect. Dunkeld is now only a Burgh in Barony under His Grace the Duke of Athol, the jurisdiction being conducted by a Baron-Bailie, appointed by his superior. The Baron-Ballie is ex-officio a Justice of the Peace and a Commissioner of Supply. Holders of this office during a long period were Messrs Conacher and Jack, the latter dying in 1906. The present holder of the office is Baron-Baile Watson, Deans’ Cross, who succeeded the late Mr Kenneth MacDonald.”

It is these little ceilidhs at the Inn that I work for, dipping into the history of a family, just being part of some one’s oral history and it is so relevant in todays land reform movement. That power the establishment still hold over the ordinary people and exercised in different ways in the modern age if any one steps out of line or in this case above themselves.

Our own wee run of people no longer with us stretches to the Big House with the news that Mrs Wills, Richard’s mother has passed away suddenly. Not having the stats but I am sure there are more deaths at this time of year, I suppose weather,short days and a general weakening of the body contributes.

 

 

Edinburgh, Treacherous Orchestra and the Snow Aussies.

Well how times change. Went to get the post on Saturday afternoon hoping there were not too many late investors as we did not want disappointed people. However it was not bad as they were mostly filled in forms of previously received BACs and cheques. Two days ago we were hoping the opposite and on Wednesday the dam broke and the river flowed our way. I was away on Wednesday evening and managed to briefly pick up on a continuation of the flow on Thursday from a slightly stressed tweet saying it was all over bar a double-check on how much was in the total. By this time I was in Edinburgh at a Social Finance Conference/Workshop, originally booked for a leaflet and investor push to have our target reached. Dai, the day before, took all the pressure off. Thought about not going down, but this becomes all-consuming and a wee break was needed to remain sane. You end up being unpleasant if the pressure becomes too much and end up saying things you regret later. At least when you know you are at that stage you can modify reactions.

So after work it was down the A9 at a steady pace to reach the West End of Edinburgh in plenty of time to find the Roxburghe Hotel and join in a day of Social Banking/Finance. Opened by John Swinney and followed by a series of interesting and humorous speakers from Australia, Holland and Germany. A workshop in the afternoon where we talked about Community Shares. A really interesting share issue about fair trade footballs, hand sewn, from Pakistan and then was asked to say a few things about our share issue as we had three or four minutes left. Met Kelly who was taking the workshop and I had only known previously through emails. Applecross makes itself known to so many people and in so many places. Only down side is I did not display my expensive parking ticket properly and ended up with a nasty fine. Times like these I know I am a Teuchter.

Inverness was the next stop and a few trips around town as usual after several kips on the way up the road. Made sure I was north before the weather closed in. Driving along Ness bank saw the tribute lit up on the bridge.

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Was supposed to meet Alison at Eden Court for a night of Treacherous Orchestra but suspected she would not get away from the computer and the Hydro Share Issue and that was the case. Only found the message when I got home as The Court wi-fi was not behaving, it is better at home. The music was top of the tree as expected,

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probably one of the best concerts of live music I have been to and I am starting to notch up a few. Good to meet up with Jacky and Mark before the music started.

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Good to know the music and they played the Grind album with a few of the old favourites and by the end of the night had the crowd jumping.

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Innes

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even tried a bit of crowd surfing and made it back onto the stage unharmed.  Mind you with three arms and two fiddles…..In fact he was very gently put down and it was the School of Excellence and Applecross contingent that were involved with this delicate manoeuvre. One of the attributes I love about Treacherous is that they so obviously into what they do

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and most of the time are either laughing

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or grinning their heads off while still producing some excellent sounds.

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I was a little surprised at the room and the closeness of the gig and nipped out for the camera at half time. Just took a few snaps as did not want to lose contact with the music. Did not get any of the posed shots but happy with the ones I took. And they were jumping at the end as well.

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John, thanking the crowd mentioned a few places where everyone came from to hear them, and of course Applecross got a mention. I do take a lot of pride in the achievements of this community from getting Innes back onto the stage safe to raising over three-quarters of a million to own its own Hydro Scheme. And the forecast meant I was quickly out the door and heading west (Treacherous on the iPod for the journey as it is now) Flurries of snow above Dingwall and the Brahn as well as Achnasheen but decided on the Hill. We locals just do not like the Coast Road especially being on the road for a couple of days. However just going round the corner, starting the long climb up to the hair pins I was thinking the Coast Road would be a very satisfying drive to end the journey. I passed the last tracks of cars and, unbelievably a motorcycle track, and slid my way to the top. Speaking to Peter, the plough, next morning he said he was impressed with my tyre tracks. Took the whole of the road to get up and over. fortunate that most of the snow was on the Kishorn side so not sliding down. Home safe by 1.00am

Saturday was another recovery day and a day that I need to refocus on my own business and try to disengage a little from the Hydro and the like. Still to be around, but needs must. Thinking along these lines as the weather was not too bad, a bit of a run in the sea from the North, but still could have and maybe should have gone fishing. Instead a trip up the road

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to make a phone call and ended up on the Bealach again with the van full of Aussies and dogs. Dougal and Eilidh

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used to the snow but for Taneil

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and Mel it was a first.

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How different we all are. Twenty three and this was their first experience of the white stuff we see every year. Come to think of it I have not been in 40c of heat so just a bit of role reversal. That and looking through photos before making up the road for work made up the day. Although we are still a bit over staffed with the Boss being away it was a fine shift. Plenty of time to speak to all the guests, Nairn, Edinburgh, Skye to name but a few. Sometimes there is little effort needed as they pair up themselves and all you need to do is see they get their food and drink and leave them to it. Honeymoon couple from Kishorn over, had to spend their first night eating at the Inn, a privilege to serve.

Finally although I am not sure it has truly sunk in but the total, amended up due to the circumstances surrounding the contract, has been reached and with ease. While walking with Dougal and Eilidh yesterday morning a thought stuck me about the difference between hope and belief. I think belief is a very strong ideal and can lead you down a long wrong road, just look at the world around us, while hope was the feeling I unconsciously used to get through the high stress levels. For me it has been stressful and for Alison, doubly so. But the planning and effort that she has put into the marketing of the Community Share Issue has been second to none. Taken its toll a bit and now she is off down the road to speak at the Rural Parliament in Musselbourgh and in the exalted company of the FM Nicola Sturgeon. Applecross is once again making itself known for all the right reasons. None of this could happen if we did not have the support of most of the community and the establishments who allowed access to their customers, the contractors HighlandEco, and all our contacts who helped us on Social Media through sharing and retweeting the Applecross message. Also the mainstream media, local and national press and broadcasters decided we had a story to tell and let us tell it through their outlets. Can only thank every one involved and appreciate all the comments coming in. Now to commissioning the Hydro and we need a decent forecast for the next two weeks, decent in that no named storms coming our way. So again thanks for helping us achieve this

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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.

Land and Music, Universal Needs

(Very early Saturday morning). After nipping out to the boat for a few prawns for the Inn, a few jobs, quick dog walk and even quicker pack it was into the van by 1.30pm and down the road to Glesgow. Did it in fairly good time although messed about with the parking. Missed the car park and parked on the street, walked to the Royal Concert Hall for a stunning Fiddletree Concert. Beautiful music, found myself closing my eyes and kept imaging tumbling, flowing water across the Highland Hills. Not surprising as there was a mix of Cape Breton and Scottish fiddles, American cello with Irish harp. Brilliant mix and really loved Mairi singing “Smile or Cry”. Haunting powerful song, also liked the words put to the tune about what grew in Otis’ garden. Alison ended up sitting by a group of Cof S ministers and met some one who did not know where Applecross was. Left early as we were going to hear Shooglenifty and that was simply a beezer. As it was their twenty-fifth they had guests and they were special. The whole concert was stunning and it finished with a crescendo of Indian drumming. There was an encore with more drumming, Ross Ainslie and Angus, still on his feet, leading the rest of the guys. Just have n’t got the words and maybe a wee bit tired having walked around half of Glasgow to properly describe the joy of music. No photos as we ended up a little rushed in getting to the music but Shooglenifty’s fb page worth a visit. Finally got to the hotel around 1.00am, seemed to go on for ever, the hotel that is.

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(Early Sunday morning). Well I was well content if tired last night tonight, Treacherous were absolutely out of this world. I cannot remember a night of music coming to such an epic finale.

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A long day and we had planned to take the train to Birnam but NCP do not like vans in their car parks. That meant me sorting out a two-hour meter charge that cost £6, breakfast and then out onto the motorway and North to Birnam…….not before heading south on the M74 for a few miles in the direction of Carlisle. On the boat if going south and want to go north I turn the wheel to port and head north, bit different on these pesky motorways, but we got there in plenty of time. And then ensued a very informative and interesting day of views exchanged, new people met and bumping into acquaintances from other meetings. Very glad not to be a note taker, having volunteered if no one else would. Great conversations with people from Orkney to the Borders. Met “Gentle Otter”, some people you think you know even if you only have contact through social media, but so much better to meet in the real as opposed to the virtual world. Problems are the same the length and breadth of the country and sometimes I wonder if enough people are trying to tackle them. Phase of the day was “Scotland belongs to all of us and to none of us”. That sort of fits in with my lack of interest in things, it is about experiences and what you take with you. All I have bought this weekend is the Treacherous cd, and it is  pretty reasonable, the rest is memories. The strongest feeling I left Birnam with was the laws of the land are there to be followed and respected, and up till now have been mainly influenced by landed folk. If we want them changed then the people have to influence the lawmakers that change is necessary for the benefit of the many and not the few. It will not be a 70 page submission but there will be two going in from the Schoolhouse to the Scottish Govt this month and we are able to give instances where community comes a very bad second to the Establishment.Had to leave sharp to get back just in time for tonight’s extravaganza. Met up with other representatives from Dallas, Applecross, Ardelve, briefly, and pretty sure there were many other Highlanders in the RCH. Started with a fantastic lady from Cameroon, then The Micheal McGoldrick Band,

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followed by some Malian blues from Songhoy.

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A night of mixed emotions, I was rested at times and excited by the sounds. After three hours it was T.O.

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These guys make me laugh with unadulterated pleasure.

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Played a lot of the new album and, if possible, it may be even better than what has gone before. I thought of the Hydro as they were moving around the stage and wondered if there was any way you could store the energy they produced.

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They looked so into their music it made everything so special although I did wonder if Ali Hutton was going to do himself an injury on the finale. The folk behind us provided lots of amusement for Alison as she was over hearing comments, not favourable of the night entertainment. They had not done their research and were at the wrong gig. One of them had switched off his hearing aid and they left before the end. What a weekend so far, the Festival Club will be jumping tonight but not jealous and now for sleeeeeep.

Living Well

Starting this in the Inn, busy and noisy, but coming to the end of  the night, it being quarter past eleven. Strange evening as at 8.15 the chefs were waiting for an order and at ten past nine they were cooking for twenty, starters and mains, humour could have been better but such is life. Been an interesting few days with two on the water Thurs/Fri,

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getting through most of the gear before the forecast wind started increasing on Friday. Thursday evening saw the Hebridean Princess steam south through the lowering sun.

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On the way to the boat caught sight of the roof lined with pigeons waiting for feeding time. Do not think they would survive at Arnish.

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Fueled up the Auk

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before leaving on a beautiful morning.

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Happy to go in as the Treacherous Orchestra were beckoning,laying in the Strathpeffer Pavillion later in the evening. Even coming in a couple of fleets early, was pushed for time as getting the bus, landing the Inn’s langoustine, cooking the squat lobster curry, and eating it of course, it was time to head east. Although it was a standard day at sea, routinely going through the gear, there comes along these moments when you are in the zone. That is the only way to describe it. Going across to the Main Bank after setting up the boat for hauling, I looked up and in the morning sun saw a porpoise lazily moving south through the water. As it came up the sun glinted on her wet back, before she disappeared for a few second only to come up glinting again. She looked so peaceful making her way down the south. Then looking around I caught sight of a skua silently gliding close to the water, wings spread and still. Felt as though everything was quiet and you were part of nature’s privilege. The sound of the engine faded for a few moments and all was well. Over the years I have been fortunate to have maybe half a dozen of them and they usually are to do with the weather/scenery, or the more unusual sights of large dolphin pods or whales. Frame of mind helps and every thing drops away. Great to experience as it happens and not to remember it as an event that felt good.

Enough of the warble, The Treacherous Orchestra were amazing as usual, opening with Superfly, indeed finishing with Superfly, playing the brilliant Easter island among others  and amongst others a couple of sets from their soon to be released album. They were preceded by a fine local band The Elephant Sessions, best way to describe them, traditional with lots of bass. Sounded great and their cd was playing on the bus all the way home. Struggle to keep the eyes open for the way back and heard the shipping forecast as we topped the Hill in the dark. All who went enjoyed the night.

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No respite as today I went off to Sleat for a Community Broadband meeting to discuss the way ahead for west coast back haul. Not really much to say other than it was a fascinating four hours learning about the potential and problems for the future . How communities are going to deal with state aid, back haul, increasing speed and capacity. Basically doing the work that the commercial companies do not think it is worth their while doing, how to train within the communities to make them more resilient dealing with problems that are going to arise in the future and to keep an eye on future developments. Politics are never far away and not too much detail at the moment. Often come across this when the motives and aims are totally submerged in the machinations of the western way of thinking. The simple fact of Ubuntu seems so distant but is the underlying thrust behind all the people attending these meetings but it is starkly apparent that it is the last motivation on the mind of commerce. Speaking to a couple over from Lochcarron in the evening and they know and are impressed about what is going on with Applenet and they were contacted through the Achmore initiative. Despite all the difficulties the communities are getting on with it and through meetings like these are getting together to plan a more cohesive approach. Hard work to keep a handle on it all but did feel it was very educational and again, despite the problems, very positive. Email sent to the Scottish Government did eventually receive and most of the reply was a wee lesson on what state aid was. I thought they knew I knew but that was the reply and not a good one. I am not having a success with the email outcome. Rick Stein did not even bother to reply to the berried prawn one and now you get bland replies from your own government, you do despair at times. A stop off at the Co-op in Broadford

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taking Dougal out and he was in the mood for a photo shoot.

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He had been attending the meeting, staying in the car for the boring bits.

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Evening was busy and disjointed but all ended well and was home and tucked up after a soothing ice cream selection from the Fifth Element ice cream maker. Sunday morning now, beautiful weather and another busy day ahead. The season is well under way and the hours and events are flying by. The Alba na Mara appeared in the Bay. She is Marine Scotland’s fishery research vessel. Assuming she is doing a burrow count to check on langoustine stocks.

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Now almost nine in the evening and a lovely one it is. There are so many light changes over the day.

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Stayed on a bit longer at the Inn today as staff shortages were muted, but it was not too busy so saw it until eight. Pleasant evening with all the customers and a couple of good chats with one couple who told Judith that she thought Gerald Butler was modelling his image on me, and no, she did not have a guide dog. I had to disappear into the prep room laughing. Bob “Peg” was over and spent a bit of time outside with him. Chatting about this and that when he told me that he saw Halcyon at Carbost, a new band including John and Adam from Treacherous, a bit too clubby for him to like it straight away but thought there was potential. Anyway he bailed out at half one and saw Adam next morning loading the car. Disappointed that they were not staying for a few tunes that night but playing in Aviemore, so he mentions this to Angus, the pub owner. That evening they are in Aviemore seeing Halcyon again and the next day Angus is snow boarding and Bob is on top of Cairngorm enjoying a beautiful day like today. A lot of people who are running about making lots of money, buying things, will not have a story like that to tell. We do not makes a lot of money up this way but I think we live well in many other ways. Had to stop to watch the post sunset light over Skye.

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