Ullapool Music Festival Weekend 2016

October 23, 2016 by in Blog

Ullapool is more than a name on a Highland map. More than a port where seafarers savour and devour dry land, relax from the vagaries of a heartless, conscienceless ocean, rich in bounty. More than a tourist destination I fell upon in 1968. Bedded for the night I explored the town.  Along Shore Street to the ferry terminal where I still recall bright red gas cylinders upright awaiting collection, to West Terrace, then parallel to the Ullapool River, strolled Castle Terrace, to meander (and meet) the A835. This highway, with various number changes,  leads to  Durness, where a short trip to Cape Wrath awaits the adventurous.  I remember that hamlet too. The creative community that was  –  is   –  Balnakeil, and the old A35 van being dragged from a  sandy track  by a large army truck. Relieved I gave the guys enough money for several pints: once more my bacon saved. Once more a scouse accent bonding solidarity with strangers. Another trip, years later, revealed a memorial garden to John Lennon who visited relations as a child.

 

Ullapool is a cultural and gastronomic delight.  Its tiny, huddled streets, a redoubt from the worst vagaries of Highland winters. Music, impromptu, fills its very air.  In pubs songs attempt to imitate the wild, skirlish emotions of the wind. Sharing craic and a drink with friendly folk my soul is cleansed and refreshed. Ullapool, once more has woven its magical balm. Once more I breathe in air as fresh and sweet as a new born child.

 

The images reflect a little the town’s attractions during this year’s Loopallu Music Festival. Memories  inevitably drawing me there next year. How could it not with this from the Guardian: “The only music event anywhere in the world to feature both Franz Ferdinand and the Ullapool Pipe Band.”

 

Music makers relax by the edge of the loch

Music makers relax by the edge of the loch

 

Tangerine loch and nothing to do but enjoy the autumnal warmth

Tangerine loch and nothing to do but enjoy the autumnal warmth

 

"And how do think it went last night ...?"

“And how do think it went last night …?”

 

Over the loch to Lewis

Over the loch to Lewis

 

"Damn thing doesn't want to start ..."

“Damn thing doesn’t want to start …”

 

I peered down unto the tiny boat admiring the fortitude of those who sailed her

I peered down unto the tiny boat admiring the fortitude of those who sailed her

 

The next Dylan seen in Ullapool

The next Dylan seen in Ullapool

 

Fire in the morning

Fire in the morning

 

Cold blue at night

Cold blue at night

 

The ferry terminal promises a smooth sailing to Stornaway

The ferry terminal promises a smooth sailing to Stornaway

 

Ullapool: a most spiritual place

Ullapool: a most spiritual place

 

An earlier crossing on the Carron ferry, just south of Fort William

An earlier crossing on the Carron ferry, just south of Fort William

 

A final drink 'afore we leave

A final drink ‘afore we leave

 

The cranes are about to fly south for the winter

The cranes are about to fly south for the winter

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