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

Shall brothers be, for a' that."

Robert Burns

The Royal Dunkeld Hotel

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

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

A wee jaunt to Glasgow to see a superb performance at the Royal Concert Hall  from Mary Chapin Carpenter and her band.  Fabulous!

(Her new album - "Sometimes Just the Sky" is worth a listen.)

May and most of our migrant birds have arrived for the Scottish summer.  (Optimistic or what?!)  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 might 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.) Winter reminded us that it has not quite finished!  It was the Monday following the Niel Gow Festival when the sunshine and blue skies finally arrived.  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!

The Inchewan Burn on a snowy day in early March.

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 www.musicinscotland.com )

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.

October is here.  Saw the first Goldeneye of the year on Butterstone Loch (and a few geese overhead earlier in the week).

An hour casting a fly on a late September afternoon, the River Braan falling nicely after a spate.

Caught one wee brown trout - but there is so much more to fishing than fish.  Great therapy.

More very sad and unexpected news with the passing of Ewen Sutherland.  He'd been in and out of hospital recently, but no one saw this coming.  So sad.  Fond memories of music, fishing and sailing off the west coast.

September always brings some fabulous weather, with sunshine and cloudless blue skies.  Alas, the fine weather gave way to some dreich days of mist and rain during the fiddle week, but it was still great craic.

Sunday the 10th saw the Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society annual fiddle extravaganza at Pitlochry.  It was very much a tribute to Campbell Smith and Marion Chalmers, two very significant and much-loved members of the Society, who passed away this summer.  Special guests were Ross Ainslie, Ally Hutton and Garry Innes (pipes, guitar & accordion/compere), who made a truly spectacular contribution to a superb night of music.

Happy fiddlers by Little Dunkeld Kirk

August , and the swifts have left for Africa after their all too brief visit.  Sadly, there are other deartures to report ...

Campbell Smith is no longer with us. Campbell was a dynamic character -  conductor and catalyst for the Dunkeld & District Strathspey & Reel Society, and a pro-active and extremely helpful member of the Niel Gow Festival Society.  He will be missed by many.

And Oban fiddler Maurice Duncan passed away this month.  Maurice was a highly respected performer and teacher.  He was a guest at the Niel Gow Festival on more than one occasion.

Loch Hakel, near Tongue, Sutherland

June brought plenty of rain to the Perthshire landscape (much needed, after a very prolonged dry spell).

 

The Troot Tour 2017 was a real blast, in spite of some serious gales and consequent ferry cancellations.

Steam loco "Kissack" on the Manx Railway.

Saw the first swifts of the year on Saturday 6th May.  Summer is here!  The fiddle week was great fun - a bunch of great folk, and the fantastic weather was a bonus!!  Many happy fiddlers! 

The bluebells in 2017 were magnificent! 

Ron Shaw has published a book of music in traditional style for 'cellists.  It contains old tunes from the tradition plus many of Ron's original compositions.