Monday, May 23, 2011
UK Tour: Day 5 (Glendaruel to Skye)
Though this tour is much better routed than the other UK tours I've done, we've still had a couple of days of driving. Really, the trip was only 200 miles this morning, but we were stuck behind a lorry (a semi) most of the way through the mountains. It made for some slow-going, but we felt good that the lorry would crash first into any oncoming traffic, thus making our survival probability much higher.
Yesterday we traveled via a quick ferry ride from the Isle of Bute to Glendaruel for a gig at the Village Hall. It was amazing in that about 15% of the population of Glendaruel was in the hall during soundcheck, but because the hall was quite a bit larger than that, we decided to move the gig down to "the pub." This was a good thing for the most part, but my voice is quivering in and out of workingdom, so singing without a microphone felt a bit wrong. I always oversing when I am fighting crowd noise, and then I end up hoarse for days. I'm glad I know this about myself, lest I show up to gigs with no voice on this tour, but still ... I wish I could have given a bit to the pub crowd yesterday.
We played with some fantastic local musicians, Nick and Callum, who know just about every song ever written, and play everything with strings. DC and I just sat around a table with these guys and traded songs, jamming along, and every so often remembering that there was a crowd of folks drinking and listening. It was exactly what you might expect to find in a small village pub in remote Scotland. It was perfect.
Follow that up with an impromptu and informal dinner party at Nick's house, and you have just a perfect evening. Nights like that are my favorite thing about being on the road, especially over here. You not only meet the locals, but they are always incredibly fascinating people.
I spent a couple of hours talking history and life and adventures with a wonderful man, who told me all about the area and land. He used to own one of the Laird's (Lord) big old houses on top of a hill. We commiserated about old plumbing, but I felt angry about having my 100-year-old pipes replaced when his home had been built in 1696 -- and still had some pipes from the Victorian age.
After everyone left, we stayed up with our late talking linguistics, politics, law, and religion with our wonderfully gracious hosts. Again, it was perfect.
This morning we got a later start than intended, but still managed to have a little time to see some things along the way. Eilean Donan was closed because of the insane weather -- we're talking 100 mph winds. But we managed a quick stop in Glencoe to see an exhibition about the massacre (Evil Campbells!), a picturesque view on the side of some mountains, a curry chips lunch in Fort William when we almost got blown away walking to the car, and a cute little sandwich shop/petrol station on the side of the road. I think we stopped once more, so really 200 miles in 6 and a half hours isn't as bad as we'd thought I suppose.
Tonight we are playing at the Isles Inn in Portree, which is really a compound word of Port and Ree, not Por and Tree as I originally thought. It's a derivative of Gaelic. So there you go. Linguistic lesson of the day. Here's a link to some images of Portree if you'd like a peek.
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