Calum’s Road is on Raasay, leading from Brochel Castle to Arnish. This last week we were on Raasay, and drove to the end of the road at Arnish. From there we took the path over the hills to Torran, then on over the ridge of the island to Umachan, a hamlet that is now deserted but was home to three families in the early 1900s, where they had a very hard existence.

Donald Shaw wrote a lovely tune called “Calum’s Road”, and I was determined to play by the roadside. So here’s a video:

Marwyn’s father was born in Umachan, along with all his older siblings. We now realise just how hard it was to even get there, let alone manage to eke an existence out of the poor ground; the fishing must have been crucial.

As I finished playing the tune, I realised that I had a small audience. Thanks for the appreciation!

Wicker Horse

We had a great week in Dumfries and Galloway over Easter, with glorious weather. The wicker horse was decorating Kirkcudbright centre, I fitted in a couple of bike rides in the sunshine, we visited MacLellan’s Castle, the savings bank museum and kirkyard in Ruthwell, and I had my first sea swim of the season (cold water though, only about 9C I think!). I also found a rather glorious mediaeval goblet in the shop at MacLellan’s Castle! And of course I forgot to add when I first put this up – we went to the lovely session at the Steam Packet Inn in Isle of Whithorn, where the nyckelharpa had a great time as always (joined by the fiddle on this occasion!).

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Yesterday I went to my first fiddle evening class for a while. I’ve rejoined the class at the Scots Music Group, as the Fiddle 7 tutor is now Mairi Campbell and I really enjoyed her workshops on improvisation and Cape Breton music at the Fiddle Festival in November. The Greenbank Buskers have some stuff coming up too, and of course I won’t be neglecting the nyckelharpa – I’m going to one of Vicki Swan’s workshops near Morpeth in February. Then of course there are lots of sessions to go to …

I enjoyed playing with the Greenbank Buskers again for the annual youth ceilidh. The fiddle needs its exercise! Here’s the best photo of the band (until the Facebook link breaks).

Posted by Greenbank Parish Church, Edinburgh on Saturday, 29 September 2018

The band personnel always depends on who’s available, but it’s always good fun to play with these great people.

I enjoyed a great session in the Boda Bar this evening hosted by Alice Thorsell. Lots of great tunes (pretty international, though lots of Swedish and Scottish) and good to see other session friends there. I will be back! For a change, I took the fiddle – nice to give it some exercise, and I played a few Swedish tunes on it that previously I have only played on the nyckelharpa. G minor is very good for my fingering 🙂  No photos, sorry.


Blazin' Fiddles

We rarely get to Edinburgh festival or fringe events – but found out this year after returning from France that Blazin’ Fiddles are finishing off their 20th anniversary celebrations with a series of concerts, two in the Queen’s Hall – so we went along. It really was a fantastic concert, they were truly on form, and also had Karen Matheson singing a few sets. We were surprised to find only a couple of people there we knew – there are usually lots on well-kent Edinburgh fiddle people at these gigs!