Author Archive

21st of October

by on Sunday, October 21st, 2018

Susie and I had scouting trip to Islay last week. The ferry takes a couple of hours from Kintyre and we had fabulous weather, which was really far too good to be in any way representative! The Island of Jura (on the right) lies just north of Islay (on the left) and is more mountainous, forming a great back-drop to Islay’s gentler landscape.

Ruins on the island in Finlaggan Loch, where the Lords of the Isles held their councils during the highpoint of the Clan MacDonald. The hills behind are the Paps (or breasts) of Jura. It is a magical spot.

Islay is dominated by whisky distilleries. It is the most important whisky region outwith Speyside and is the mecca for peated malts. These barrel tops are filled with rainwater from the previous days relentless rain and stand outside the Ardbeg Distillery. Ardbeg is probably the most extremely peated whisky and challenges even the likes of me. My advice is start with Lagavullin…

11th of October

by on Thursday, October 11th, 2018

 

 

Hi Folks, usual apologies for my pathetic level of blogging activities. Here are a couple of snaps from a wee trip through Highland Perthshire with good pals Peter Moulton and his son Jake, who were visiting from Olympia, Washington. I’ve been turning up at chez Moulton like a bad smell each February for most of this century, so it felt great to show them around. The Crannog Centre on Loch Tay is a reconstruction of a Bronze Age lake dwelling which were extremely common in the lochs of the Highlands. The log boats were really cool and you can hire them out for the full experience. The “toatie” totem pole at the Hermitage (near Dunkeld) is actually a genuine one from the Pacific North West, but did not impress the lads as they have bigger toothpicks than this back home!

bty

15th of August

by on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Hi Folks, last weekend Susie and I took a trip to see some Pictish stones with friends Alena and Bruce visiting from Georgia. Alena’s family have hosted me umpteen times near Dahlonega, each time taking me bass fishing on their lovely property so it was great to return at least a small part of their hospitality. The stones are around Aberlemno, a hamlet near Forfar and in the heart of fertile Strathmore – that was the epicentre of the Pictish kingdom and culture. The stones were carved around 800 AD, a turbulent period when the vikings were beginning to ravage the coastline of Scotland and the Scots (from Ireland) were establishing a kingdom in the west that would eventually overpower and replace the Pictish hierarchy. The stones are virtually all we know about the people who were named by the Romans due to their body paintings or tattoos – Pictus. We also visited a small museum in Meigle that has a collection of stones that have been moved indoors to protect them from the weather. It’s amazing how well preserved the outdoor ones are considering…

Susie and I are doing a concert in Inchture (between Perth and Dundee) on Thursday evening (16th of Aug) check my website concerts page for details.

 

 

9th of August

by on Thursday, August 9th, 2018

Hello folks, just a wee report on a festival I appeared at down in the south of England last week. It was at a lovely little town called Wickham (Jane Austin fans will surely have heard of it) which lies in the flinty Meon Valley between Southhampton and Portsmouth. My Dad lived near there for many years before he retired from running a school so I am fairly familiar with the area. The head organiser is a great guy called Peter Chegwin who regularly attends events in Scotland and has many Scottish acts at his festivals. He is very keen to look after the artists and put me up at the wonderful New Place Hotel (the handsome and historic brick mansion house behind its own cricket pitch). The weather was extremely hot and so people were sheltering within two of the large tents enjoying the great music. Having your own seat was an absolute must. It was a very pleasant experience, very well run and friendly. I don’t do much in England these days, but this was very encouraging and they certainly love their folk music!

17th of July

by on Tuesday, July 17th, 2018

Hello Folks, I’ve been a bit quiet on the interweb for some time now, but I’m going to try to be a bit more active for the rest of the year. Here is an interesting ad from an estate agent in Stromness on the mainland of the Orkney Islands. We had a great trip there back in June when the days never really end and the hills and meadows are lush and green. Looks like a great opportunity for some one who loves the islands and doesn’t mind living somewhere with a rude name!