One Weekend- Two Festivals!

Having lived in Saudi for 28 years and missed out on the opportunity to enjoy lots of events I feel we are well and truly making up for lost time! This weekend was certainly an example of this. Having read about the  Inverness Lochness International Knit Festival  way back in spring I made it a definite must do on the calendar. I decided to go for the day on Friday and also take in Ruth Black’s presentation – Pictish Designs in Feltmaking.


Nessie welcome at Eden Court.

It was so inspiring looking around the Crafting area and Marketplace.



2 of Di Gilpin‘s knits.


Danish designer Christel Seyfarth‘s beautiful, colourful wrap. Her knit fest in Denmark had been the inspiration for this one.


Newcomer to the scene and their first ever showing- North Child.


Meeting Philip Paris the author of the new novel ‘Casting Off’.

But one knitted item took me by surprise.


My paternal grandmother’s gansey, knitted for my uncle James.
Moray Firth Gansey Project had a stand and I was instantly drawn to this gansey. The label was tucked behind so it was only when I pulled it forward that I realised it was one of my grandmother’s!
So all in all I had a really good time.
Leaving Inverness behind it was an hour’s drive to Ullapool to go to the Loopallu Music Festival. We had heard a lot about it but hadn’t expected to get there this year until a week ago our usual B&B phoned to say they had a vacancy. Luckily, we were able to get Festival tickets so suddenly we were to be festival goers!!

The setting and the weather were terrific.


The campsite was mobbed!


An excellent 12 year old drummer standing in for the usual drummer who was ill. The group were Davy and the Hosebeast!

Other bands that were a bit more familiar to me were- The Stranglers, The Wonder Stuff, Hunter and the Bear, The Selecter, Rhythm’n’Reel and Manran. As well as playing in the main tent and the ceilidh tent/beer tent there were band in 6 of the pubs in the village. A really good mix of genres too- with the Ullapool Pipe Band kicking off the whole proceedings on Friday afternoon.


Blessed with a lovely evening.

However, I was still on the lookout for colourful knitwear!



The village of Ullapool.

I have visited Ullapool many times and it always seems to come up with one more reason to make it one of my favourite places. This weekend certainly confirmed it.

Over the sea to …..Harris!

I first visited the Isle of Harris in The Outer Hebrides in the 1980’s but it wasn’t until I revisited them 12 years ago that I truly fell in love with this Scottish Island. Over the years I have visited many islands in Scotland and around the world but Harris is one I find myself being drawn to again and again. Luckily, my husband shares this love so I regularly manage to get a Harris ‘fix’.

What makes it special?

I suppose one thing is its beautiful beaches. Even on the dullest, rainiest day the sand has a magical luminescence that just never fails to lift my spirits.

Traigh MheileinThe colour of the water is absolutely amazing and definitely makes one think of much warmer climes!

Harris beach.



Another is the people who live up to their Gaelic saying:


– ‘a hundred thousand welcomes’ although to be honest this applies to my experiences of the inhabitants of other islands too.

Added to this is their trust in humanity. Sadly, something that was very evident in my town during my childhood, but nowadays not very apparent. Coming across ‘honesty’ shops lifted my spirits to think that someone had such faith in their fellow humans to be honest and pay for the goods they wished to take.

This lovely food shop had crabs, lobsters, scallops, salmon as well as newly baked bread, rolls, cakes and quiche. Such a joy to find.

Food Honesty Shop at Northton.

Food Honesty Shop at Northton.

and further along the road this little honesty shop stuffed full with all kinds of handmade items including Harris Tweed bags and jackets.

A cornucopia of handmade goods.

A cornucopia of handmade goods.

Even using a camping place is left to your conscience whether you pay or not….

Camping fees on trust.

Camping fees on trust.

As a lover of textiles a visit to Harris is always a great opportunity to add a few pieces of the world famous Harris Tweed to my fabric stash!

Beautiful, Harris Tweed.

Beautiful, Harris Tweed.

I suppose,though, when you have a liking for a place it’s more than a few ‘concrete’ reasons but more a feeling of ‘belonging’ or ‘feeling at home’ that makes it a place that you want to return too. For me, Harris is definitely one of those places and one that I can imagine I will continue to visit for a very long time.

If you’re reading this I would love to hear what your special island/place is:)