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.

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Nessie welcome at Eden Court.

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

 

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2 of Di Gilpin‘s knits.

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

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

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

But one knitted item took me by surprise.

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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!!

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The setting and the weather were terrific.

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The campsite was mobbed!

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

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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.

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Blessed with a lovely evening.

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

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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.

OMG it’s 2016!

And already it’s nearly a week old! It seems 2016 is going to pass by as quickly as 2015. A very good reason to enjoy every moment.

A week ago it was Hogmanay and we went to a town Ceilidh in the nearby Town Hall for the first time. We had a fabulous time. Before ‘the Bells’ i.e midnight, the ceilidh band, a group of 5 local lads who were home from University, but definitely knew what they were doing played two sets of Scottish Country Dance music. Right from the first dance the floor was full! And not just with us old ‘foggies’ who had been brought up with these dances but a really good mix of children and young adults who were definitely having fun.

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It was a great start to the New Year and enlightening that although the old tradition of ‘First-footing’ is definitely a thing of the past, families are celebrating the coming of the New Year with an alternative Scottish tradition- a ceilidh.

Slainte Mhor!   Cheers!  Good Health for 2016. May it be a good year for us all.

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Not A Highland Games!!!

And there was me thinking I’d be writing about a Highland Games next. How could I have forgotten about The Portsoy Traditional Boat Festival when I come from a seafaring background and heritage!

Portsoy is an old fishing village on the north-east coast of Scotland with a picturesque 17th century harbour. The construction of the harbour walls is unusual as they were constructed with vertical stone rather than horizontal. Since 1994 it has been the venue for  an annual boat festival. In the past I have tended to miss it because I was never home on holiday from Saudi at the right time. Not any more!

Traditional boats in the harbour.

Traditional boats in the harbour.

Of course there a variety of boats to be seen.

Boats of yesteryears -big and small!

Boats old and new – big and small!

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Coracles drying.

Coracles.

Coracles.

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Music of all kinds -nautical, folk and pop.

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A chance to ‘have a go’.

The ‘culture tent’ focussed on the similarities and differences between Norwegian and Scottish fishing folk lifestyles.

A part of the Norwegian display.

A part of the Norwegian display.

The typical Scottish fisherfolk diet.

The typical Scottish fisherfolk diet.

But it was disappointing to see that the British jumper for sale was from Guernsey and not a local Gansey.

What no Ganseys!

What no Ganseys!

Not everything was sea related.

This miniature bus taking children around the village made me smile.

Cute miniature bus.

Cute miniature bus.

Earlier in the year I heard that there was a doubt that the Boat Festival would run this year. I’m so glad that it did as I thoroughly enjoyed my visit.

Bagpipes Galore!

Love them or hate them Bagpipes seem to be associated with Scotland. I say that because I’m well aware that other countries play bagpipes too. I remember feeling just a little bit homesick when visiting the old Roman town of Jerash in Jordan and heard the sound of bagpipe playing from the amphitheatre. Intrigued, I went closer to investigate and found 2 Jordanians were the source of the playing.

This weekend it was the European Pipe Band Championships and they were held in a town 12 miles away. Perhaps, after 28 years away from traditional events like these I was really keen to go. It was certainly an experience- over 100 bands were competing in different categories including juniors.

One of the many pipe bands.

One of the many pipe bands.

The bands are made up of bagpipe players and drummers.

Every band has a large drum too!

Every band has a large drum too!

Drummers practising.

Drummers practising.

Checking out the competition?

Checking out the competition?

Giving her husband support?

Giving her husband support?

And there were plenty of refreshment options for the 20,000 people who attended.

mmmm?

mmmm?

Besides the pipe bands there were competitions for Highland dancing, Drum Majoring and baking the best ‘tattie’ (potato) scones.I read today in the newspaper that this last event was won by a Welshman and one of the winning Pipe Bands was from Ireland so the Scots certainly didn’t have it ‘all sewn up’! 

Highland Dancers.

Highland Dancers.

I have a feeling I’ll be searching out a Highland Games to visit next to continue my repatriation to Scotland!!

Thinking of home.

The town taken from the beach.

The town taken from the beach.

‘Home is where the heart is’ is an often said phrase. For me home is where my husband is as that is definitely where I am happiest. So at the moment it’s here in Saudi! I can never actually remember ever feeling homesick for what is my real home- Scotland. I love being there and am looking forward to eventually returning there to live but at the moment living overseas is still enjoyable.
Yesterday, however, I was made aware of a new music video by the UK group ‘Scouting for Girls’, which had been filmed entirely on my ‘home’ beach. What a surprise, as my town in Scotland is not exactly high on the list of any film producers as far as I’ve ever been aware! It was a weird feeling to see somewhere that I have known all my life as the backdrop to a well known group’s music. But did it make me homesick? No. But it did make me very happy to think I will be able to walk on that beach in just 3 weeks when I go home on holiday.
Sadly, after trying for an hour to attach the video I have failed miserably. But here is the link if you want to take a look- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLgjs96kOhQ&sns=em
And here are a few pix I took last time I was there in February.

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