Latest news

" ... man to man, the world ower,

Shall brothers be, for a' that."

Robert Burns

November 2018 and a hundred years have passed since the signing of the armistice to end the First World War.  How tragic that, with that act, the seeds were sewn for the next global conflict, just twenty years later.

And even now, in the 21st Century, global harmony seems a distant dream, as it was for Robert Burns when he wrote "A Man's a Man".

Golden larches and dramatic sky above Loch Tay

October, and preliminary work begins for the dualling of the A9 between Luncarty and Bankfoot.  Sadly this means the removal of many trees.  Dramatic sunlight and cloud for a few photos before they were felled.

And another trout season ends.  Had a fine day on Loch Broom (Perthshire, not Wester Ross) with Bill Zobel.  We each caught three bonnie Brown Trout - Braw Broom Broonies!

September, and autumn has truly arrived.  Most of our summer migrant birds have flown south to warmer climes.  Another fun-filled fiddle week at the  Birnam Institute.  

Guest tutor for the Thursday evening class at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel was the inimitable Rua MacMillan.

August and "our" swifts departed for Africa right on schedule (last year they were gone by the 4th).

Playing in the Canongate Kirk with Alastair Savage & Friends is always a great pleasure.

July and a fine time at Common Ground on the Hill in Westminster, MD.  Heard The Kruger Brothers Band for the first time.  Individually, Jens, Uwe and Joel are phenomenal musicians.  Collectively, their playing blends seamlessly to make fabulous music - folk meets classical, with a veneer of Bluegrass and a generous sprinkling of magic here and there!

A fine summer evening of music in the very bonnie village of Kirkmichael, Ayrshire, with my good friend and fellow fiddler Alastair Savage.  We of course chose repertoire with Burns connections.  (The church in which we played was built in 1787, the year of the meeting between Messrs Gow and Burns.)

Had a visit in June from my old friend Jack Beck.  He was founder-member of a band called "Heritage" back in the '70s.   (Yikes!) Jack now lives in Big Stone Gap, Virginia.  Over ten years ago he started broadcasting his own radio show (on WETSfm and WEHCfm) which focuses on Traditional music.  Called "Celtic Clanjamphry" (try saying that after a couple of drams!), it celebrated its 500th edition last month.  Congratulations Jack!

Tunes in June ....  made video-recording last month, playing beneath Niel Gow's Oak.  Director/producer/camera man was John P. Martin.

You can find the FILM CLIPS by clicking the links on my "Recordings", "Tune of the Month" and "Teaching & Fiddle Weeks" pages.

May and The Orkney Folk Festival was blessed with blue skies and brilliant sunshine.  "Auld Hat, New Heids" had a weekend of great craic!

Played a special concert in the Scottish Parliament with Muriel Johnstone, in order to raise the profile of the initiative to create a memorial to Niel Gow in Dunkeld.  A big thank you to Perthshire's MSP John Swinney for sponsoring the event.

Bluebells (Wild Hyacinths) in bloom, Kinclaven Wood

(The Scottish Bluebell, or Harebell, appears later in the summer than the wild hyacinth.)

Had a tour of Fife on a train hauled by the most famous steam locomotive in the world, The Flying Scotsman! Then drove to North Queensferry for a photo of the train crossing the Forth Bridge on it's 2nd  outing of the day.

Arguably the most famous steam locomotive in the world crossing the most famous bridge in the world!!

Very sad news of the passing of Douglas Smith earlier in May.  Douglas did an enormous amount for the Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society. Thoughts are with his friends and family.

Thursday night sessions are now happening at the Royal Dunkeld Hotel (9-11pm).

Pictured are three of the regulars - Patrick, Daphne & Sheona.

May and most of our migrant birds have arrived for the Scottish summer.  Great to see Sandpipers and Sand Martins skimming the water.  Saw my first swifts of the year over Birnam on Wednesday 9th May. 

Spotted this fine sculpture in Belfast when the bus from the airport into the city stopped at traffic lights. The position of the sun was pure luck!

I later found out that it's by Andy Scott (yes, the "Kelpies" man) and is called "Beacon of Hope" (or as some wags would have it, "Nuala with the Hula"!)  Fabulous!

A small but perfectly formed Brownie from the River Braan.  First Troot of the year!

First fish of the year - a 5-pound pike from Butterstone Loch.  Caught - and released (of course!)

April and, at last, definite signs that Spring is here!!

Butterburr is in flower, a few primroses have appeared and the pair of ospreys at Loch of the Lowes have returned from Africa.

March, (Niel Gow's birthday on the 22nd) and Winter reminded us that it was still here!  The sunshine and blue skies finally arrived on the Monday following the festival.  However, the cold and snowy weather of the weekend didn't deter 25 brave walkers from the Niel Gow walk!  And another great weekend of music!

February and Spring is in the air.  Snowdrops blooming, ducks head-bobbing and dippers singing!

A snowy start to 2018.  Hoping this proves to be a peaceful and a happy new year.

December fishing for grayling on the Tay is a fine escape from the Festive obligations.  Alas, the fish showed no interest whatsoever in my maggots .... but this Robin became my best friend for a while!

November and fine, sunny high pressure weather for the Scots Fiddle Festival in Edinburgh.  The new album has officially been launched (and is available on line from )

Big sky over Rottnest Island, W.A.  A fabulous day with the friendly wee quokkas and, half a mile off-shore, a steady procession of humpback whales.  Braw!

By the way - this is a Quokka!  Very cute eh?!

A budding Biggles realised one of his dreams in California! A flight in a 1942 Boeing Steerman.