Kintyre Christmas hit resounds 40 years on
THE catchy rock ballad Mull of Kintyre was released as a single 40 years ago tomorrow (Saturday November 11).
The anniversary of the iconic Christmas number one, the biggest-selling non-charity single in the UK, has created a mini media storm. Last week the Big Issue sent a team to make a Christmas special feature and the BBC has produced a radio programme.
Between Sunday and Monday, STV video journalist Clare McNeill filmed and interviewed surviving band members John Brown and Ian McKerral. In addition, she interviewed Alastair Cousin of the Linda McCartney Kintyre Memorial Trust and Argyll and the Isles Tourism Cooperative director Niall Macalister Hall about tourists on the McCartney trail.
Last Thursday, Ms McNeill, 26, about to visit Kintyre for the first time, contacted the Ardshiel hotel for help finding some of the musicians.
Amanda Grant, at the hotel, suggested contacting the Courier and Ms McNeill emailed but both reporters were out. While waiting for a reply, she spoke to Explore Argyll’s Iain Johnston, who set up a schedule starting at 1pm on Sunday afternoon.
In bright autumnal sunshine, Ms McNeill interviewed Mr Cousin in front of the bronze statue of Linda McCartney in the Shore Street memorial garden.
Mr Cousin spoke about how Linda worked and donated to projects close to her heart in Kintyre.
With Mr Johnston leading the way, Ms McNeill left for a 2.30pm appointment on Saddell beach with the two pipers.
Mr Johnston ensured she gained some exercise and approached the beach with a walk, as per the rules, from the lodge gates, lugging her tripod and camera.
The two pipers, the headliners of the afternoon, did not risk a slip on the muddy path and drove to the end of the track before joining the party.
During a short interview, Mr Brown and Mr McKerral described how the late Pipe Major Tony Wilson had come to a band practice in July 1977 and told members the plan.
Late afternoon sun, on a perfectly still day, ensured Ms McNeill saw Kintyre at its Sunday best as she filmed the pair. They marched towards her reprising their role from 40 years ago.
Anne Cousin and Alastair, with their dog Angus, watched from the path. Mrs Cousin magically produced a flask of coffee and chocolate biscuits from a wicker basket and someone asked if it was Irish coffee. It was not but was warming as the sun dropped below the horizon.
On the Explore Argyll Facebook page, Mr Johnston, wrote: ‘Special thanks to Alastair and Anne Cousin at the Linda McCartney Memorial Garden and Ian McKerral and John Lang Brown for coming up to Saddell Beach to be interviewed and for performing Mull of Kintyre.’
The report was due to be broadcast on Wednesday.
At Saddell beach are, from the left, Alastair Cousin, Ian McKerral, John Brown, Clare McNeill, Anne Cousin and Iain Johnston. Above, Clare films the two pipers reprising their performance.