Photographs & tales, following a jazz saxophone & piano duo from Scotland, as they tour around the UK and beyond, in their Tour Bus (a converted ambulance). Click on a photo below to read each post.

Carrbridge, Dyke, Fochabers & Kincraig

2 gigs over 2 weekends up in Badenoch & Strathspey (Carrbridge & Kincraig) and Moray (Dyke & Fochabers).  Glorious weather for both trips!

Click here to see Carrbridge on Google Maps

Our first concert was in Carrbridge Village Hall.  This was the village hall used in the BBC Television Drama “Monarch of the Glen” (2000-2005) starring Richard Briers, Susan Hampshire, Julian Fellowes. Alistair Mackenzie, Dawn Steele, Tom Baker, Martin Compston and many more.  It was about a fictional Highland Estate called Glenbogle Estate, loosely based on Sir Compton Macenzie’s “Highland Novels“.  The Estate is run by the Laird, Hector MacDonald (Richard Briers) and then his son, Archie (Alistair Mackenzie), and was set in Ardverikie House on Loch Laggan near Kinlochlaggan on the A86.  “Glenbogle Stores” was in Laggan (see pic below), Broomhills Train Station near Nethy Bridge on the A95 was “Glenbogle Station”, and scenes of “Glenbogle Village” were set in Newtonmore and Kingussie.  You can read more about the drama series here:



and watch clips here:

Carrbridge Village Hall used as “Glenbogle Village Hall”

The view from Glenbogle Village Hall

Ardverikie House used as “Glenbogle House” on Loch Laggan

“Glenbogle Gate Lodge and Bridge”

Shop in Laggan used as “MacKechnie’s Stores, Glenbogle”

Broomhills Train Station on the A95 used as “Glenbogle Station”

Ian at Glenbogle Station. Golly!

Glenbogle Station

Platform ticket for entry to Glenbogle Station (50p)

We drove up to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway car park at Coire Na Ciste.  Great views!

Coire Na Ciste car park at Cairngorm Mountain Railway near Aviemore

Coire Na Ciste

After the Glenbogle gig, we drove on up to Nairn to stay the night, so’s we were nearer the next day’s venue.  Beautiful location!  Beautiful weather!

Click here to see Nairn on Google Maps

Nairn seafront

Boat on the Moray Firth at Nairn


Sailboat on Moray Firth at Nairn

Nairn Harbour

…..I’ve often wondered where the Queen kept them…..!

Monument to the Nairn Fishwives

We explored Findhorn, just a few miles away near Kinloss and Forres.  Its a beautiful, unspoilt wee seaside village.

Click here to see Findhorn on Google Maps

Findhorn Bay

Findhorn Bay

A father and his son enjoying Findhorn Bay in their small sailboat

Moored yachts at Findhorn Bay

Seafront houses at Findhorn Bay

Moored yacht Findhorn Bay with the Culbin Forest behind

The Culbin Forest near Forres – lots of forest walks

Our next gig was at Dyke near Forres.  A beautiful wee hamlet of homes and farms in a quiet location with huge open skies and views of the landscape.

Click here to see Dyke on Google Maps

Dyke Village Hall

We received a very enthusiastic and warm reception from the audience.  A really enjoyable gig for us!  A friend of ours, Ted Percy now lives in Forres, and came to see us play.  He’s been a great supporter of ours for nearly 20 years.  He used to live in Hawick and came to see us nearly every Friday night when we had a regularly gig in the George & Abbotsford Hotel in Melrose in the Scottish Borders.  He told us a story of how he once did a sponsored walk along towpaths, to a jazz festival, and his friends renamed him “Towpath Ted“.  The story inspired me to write a tune of the same name in his honour, and we’ve been playing it regularly ever since.  (We always play it when he’s there!!!)

“Towpath Ted” with Ian & Dom at Dyke Village Hall (pic courtesy of David Jamieson)

The second weekend of this trip took us back up to Moray and this time to Fochabers.  Another very nice wee town just off the A96. To play in the Fochabers Institute – a very nice venue indeed.  We were met with a very warm welcome by team Samantha & Alan.

Click here to see Fochabers on Google Maps

Fochabers Institute

We were lucky enough to have the Fochabers High School Jazz Band supporting us.  They played a 30 minute set at the beginning of the concert playing such tunes as: “Night in Tunisia”, “Canteloupe Island”, “Skyfall”, “Green Onions” and more.  They were very accomplished.  They were also playing at the Fochabers Highland Games at Gordon Castle on the Sunday.  Great experience for them.  Here’s some pics of them performing:

Fochabers High School Jazz Band

Fochabers High School Jazz Band

Fochabers High School Jazz Band. The saxophonist sang the James Bond Theme “Skyfall”

The audience were again, very nice and very enthusiastic. Particularly the group form the Moray Jazz Club in Elgin who came to see us play.

The next morning we had croissants & tea at Spey Bay before heading off to our next gig.  Another beautiful location looking north.  Huge open skies and landscape.

Click here to see Spey Bay on Google Maps

Breakfast stop at Spey Bay

Spey Bay

Spey Bay

Shelter made out of branches on the beach at Spey Bay

The drive down to our next gig took us through Malt Whisky country!  Nearly every town seems to be the name of a malt whisky (because they are made in those places!): Aberlour, Glenfiddich, Dufftown, Ballindalloch, Glendronach, Strathisla, Glen Grant, Glenfarclas, Knockando, Cardhu, Glenlivet and more.

Click here to see Aberlour on Google Maps

Aberlour’s main street – a long, very straight, wide street

Aberlour’s main street, looking in the other direction

Aberlour church

Ballindalloch Distillery

The gatehouse and bridge to Ballindalloch House (not unlike something from Glenbogle!)

We had a look around Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie in the afternoon.

Click here to see Ruthven Barracks on Google Maps

Two horses obligingly pose in the foreground in front of Ruthven Barracks!

Inside the barracks

Inside the barracks

Inside the barracks

The final gig of this trip was in Kincraig not far from Kingussie (and indeed, next door to the Highland Wildlife Park with its Polar Bears!).  An enthusiastic and friendly crowd turned up after a long day of Royal Wedding and FA and Scottish Cup football finals.

Click here to see Kincraig on Google Maps

Kincraig Community Hall (from the rear)

Kincraig Community Hall from the road

The next day, on the way home we had a lunch stop at The Hermitage near Birnam on the A9.  Some huge Douglas Fir trees!

Click here to see The Hermitage on Google Maps

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

The Hermitage

Douglas Fir trees at The Hermitage

This dog absolutely refuses to follow its owners into the cave!

…and of course, no trip on the A9 can be completed without a coffee and toilet stop at The House of Bruar!

Click here to see the House of Bruar on Google Maps


Words and photos by Ian Millar © 2018

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