THERE’S an old folk song that says: “Cairn O”Mount lies bleak and bare and cauld lies Clachnaben.” The hills almost lived up to their reputation last weekend but managed to redeem themselves at the last moment.
We were heading across for a weekend at the Stonehaven Folk Festival and I thought we’d stop en route for a wee leg stretch on Clachnaben near Banchory in lower Deeside. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t at its best and it rained and blew, blew and rained for much of the way. However, on the way down the hill things improved and by the time we parked the camper on the summit of the Cairn O’ Mount road the wind had blown much of the cloud away, the rain had stopped and it looked as though it would be a pleasant evening. What we didn’t expect was the spectacular sunset over Clachnaben, the hill we’d climbed earlier in the day in the cloud and rain.
The Stonehaven Festival was a huge success and congratulations must be given to the organisers for getting a great programme together. We didn’t get too involved - we only had Saurday afternoon and evening, but we spent it well. A great session in the afternoon, hosted by Danny Couper and Arthur Johnstone was a real treat and it was good to catch up with dome old pals - Freida Morrison, who I’ve collabarated with on various radio programmes over the years and Jane Fraser, who I haven’t seen for donkeys. I used to deputise for her on her weekly folk music programme from BBC Aberdeen. Good to see my old pal Andy Hall, who was photographing the event and others who I had met during the years we ran the Badenoch Folk Club.
Highlight of the weekend for me was the Show of Hands concert but unfortunately one half of the band, Phil Beer, has taken ill and had to pull out. His band partner Steve Knightley did a solo gig instead and he was absolutely superb. This guy must be one of the country’s top singer/songwriters and he took the hall by storm. Must make an effort to book another Show of Hands concert before too long.
Home yesterday but we’ll be away again on Wednesday - over to Harris and Lewis to research a couple of television projects to be filmed later this summer and to take in the Hebridean Music Festival. I already have tickets for the RunRig concert in Stornoway on Saturday. Looking forward to that very much, also to renewing aqucaintance with Clisham.