2 gigs over 2 weekends up in Badenoch & Strathspey (Carrbridge & Kincraig) and Moray (Dyke & Fochabers). Glorious weather for both trips!
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:
We drove up to the Cairngorm Mountain Railway car park at Coire Na Ciste. Great views!
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!
We explored Findhorn, just a few miles away near Kinloss and Forres. Its a beautiful, unspoilt wee seaside village.
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.
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!!!)
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.
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:
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.
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.
We had a look around Ruthven Barracks near Kingussie in the afternoon.
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.
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!
Words and photos by Ian Millar © 2018