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30 August 2016Summer holidays? What holidays?

On our July visit to Auchindrain we were asked to move from Martin’s House to Stoner’s Barn where there was more space and better light, so that we could be filmed by the delightful George and Amy, students on a three month internship at Auchindrain. The idea is to use clips of us on the new interpretive tablets which will guide visitors round the Township. Innes decamped temporarily to Bel a’ Phuill’s house to do some carding and spinning for the camera, after which the “film crew” spent the afternoon in the barn with us as we waulked. We had a constant stream of visitors to deal with too, so it was a busy day. Looking forward (we think!) to seeing the video.

The following week we took the ferry to Dunoon for a brilliant evening in a packed St Mun’s hall. We were treated to some lovely playing by two tiny fiddlers, and by Gordon, a big fiddler. The audience was very lively and enthusiastic, with no shortage of volunteers to waulk with us at the table. After three sittings we called a halt as it was in danger of becoming a bit of a rammy! We had a superb supper of “Scottish Fayre”: haggis bites, clootie dumpling, tablet … Yum! And they gave us some lovely flowers. The evening raised the fabulous sum of £1210 for the church’s new lighting system.

Our annual trip to Mull is a highlight of Sgioba Luaidh’s year. Click here for some pics of this year's visit.

We spent a wet August Friday in Sheila’s Cottage on Ulva, with lots of visitors after a slow start. Lunch in the Boathouse was as good as ever. Next day the weather improved as we settled in to Duart Castle. Following on reduced ferry fares with the rollout of RET, record numbers of tourists are heading for the Islands this year. Most of them seemed to be on Mull – it’s the busiest we have ever been at the Castle! From shortly after we started in the morning, when a troop of Scouts from Lochgilphead came crowding into our kitchen, till the end of the afternoon when we were asked to stay a bit longer as two tourist buses had just arrived, a constant stream of visitors came pouring in. Eight year old Jude, a wee local boy, stayed with us for quite a long time, and sang some Gaelic songs he had learned in school. A few of the Scouts came back for another go after touring the castle. “Which part of the castle did you like best?” “This!”

06 July 2016Paying tribute to a good friend.

As we come to the end of another busy session, Sgioba Luaidh Inbhirchluaidh wish to pay tribute to our dear old friend, Donald Macleod of Harris and Portnalong (Skye), who died on 28 May 2016. We valued his gentle and patient guidance, and his never-failing help with our Gaelic, always at the end of the phone ready to help when we had a "linguistic emergency"! Being a staunch upholder of tradition (and a man!), he would never waulk with us at the table, but supported us in many of our performances, and was a welcome presence at our practices and parties. Having reached the age of 92, Donald could look back to a different era. (He remembered as a little boy sitting under the table while his mother waulked with the other women.) We benefitted greatly from the insights he gave us into a vanished time, which we try to re-create in our performances. We owe him a great debt. 'Gad ionndrainn, a Dhòmhnaill chòir. Fois shìorraidh dhuit.

04 July 2016400!

Sgioba Luaidh reached an important milestone recently: since our foundation we have notched up four hundred performances. We thought this worthy of celebration, so we gathered at Inverkip Hotel where we enjoyed a sumptuous lunch, and a good blether. There were certainly a few reminiscences about some of the adventures we have had over the years! Click here for some pics.

We are winding down now for the summer, with our practice sessions suspended till September, but we will still be ticking over. July is quiet, until our visit to Auchindrain on the 30th. Then in August we have a night at St Mun’s, Dunoon, on the 5th, followed by our usual trip to Mull and Ulva, and then back to Auchindrain. On the first weekend of September we’ll be taking part in the huge Scotcon event at the Royal Highland Centre, Ingliston. This is quite exciting, as it promises to be spectacular, with re-enactment groups and all sorts of things happening. (Click here to see the stellar lineup!)

Then it’s back to business as usual!

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