Hugh Smith’s let­ter from Is­lay

The Oban Times - - News - Hugh Smith, 4 Flora Street, Bow­more, Is­lay PA43 7JX. Tele­phone: 01496 810658

Ex­plo­sive start

THE night skies above Lochin­daal were a blaze of colour when both Bow­more and Port Char­lotte greeted the new year with spec­tac­u­lar fire­works dis­play which brought gasps of ad­mi­ra­tion from the spec­ta­tors.

Hap­pily, re­cent gales had be­come a spent force and the events at­tracted large num­bers in full fes­tive mood.

On the stroke of mid­night, the bells of the flood­lit Round Church rang out to usher in 2017, and piper Lyn­say MacArthur, ac­com­pa­nied by her drum-play­ing sis­ter Rhona, pro­vided the mu­si­cal wel­come.

Meet­ing the costs of the dis­plays were gen­er­ous lo­cal donors and fundrais­ers and the money col­lected on the evening was shared equally be­tween the Fire Brigade Benev­o­lent Fund and the Is­lay Hos­pi­tal. As the last rocket streaked across the night sky, rev­ellers made their way to the vil­lage hall where they par­tied far into the night.

The py­rotech­nics were gen­er­ally con­sid­ered to be ‘the best yet’ and or­gan­is­ers are to be con­grat­u­lated for a mem­o­rable cel­e­bra­tion and a friendly com­mu­nity get to­gether.

Gath­er­ing line-up

LO­CAL GP Dr An­gus Mac­Tag­gart will be the guest chair­man at the Glas­gow Is­lay As­so­ci­a­tion’s 155th an­nual gath­er­ing, which takes place in the Glas­gow Univer­sity Stu­dents’ Union on Fri­day March 3.

A na­tive of Bow­more, he took over the Port Ellen med­i­cal prac­tice in 2010 be­fore also be­com­ing the co- owner of the Rhinns med­i­cal prac­tice at Port Char­lotte.

As well as look­ing af­ter the needs of his lo­cal pa­tients, he is also an hon­orary se­nior lec­turer in Re­mote and Ru­ral Medicine at Glas­gow Univer­sity, his alma mater.

An­gus’s mother, Mavis, in fit­ter days was highly ac­tive in lo­cal Gaelic cir­cles and his fa­ther, James, is the man­ager of the Ar­ran Dis­tillery.

Gath­er­ing artists do­ing as the doc­tor or­dered will be Port Ellen award-win­ning duet­tists and twin sis­ters Eilidh and Anna MacDon­ald, and Bow­more’s Ryan John­ston, a reg­u­lar top prize win­ner at both lo­cal and Na­tional Mòds.

Also on stage will be vo­cal­ist Clare Camp­bell, younger daugh­ter of El­iz­a­beth and Mal­colm Camp­bell, the as­so­ci­a­tion’s im­me­di­ate past pres­i­dent. Clare is no stranger to Mòd suc­cess and nei­ther is her older sis­ter Alison, who was among last year’s gath­er­ing soloists.

Also tread­ing the boards will be CalMac fer­ry­man Hector MacKech­nie, who struck gold at the Royal Na­tional Mòd in Stornoway last Oc­to­ber. Solo singers will draw breath when the ever pop­u­lar Rowan Broth­ers, whose fam­ily con­nec­tions are with Is­lay and Tiree, up the tempo with their ac­cor­dion and key­board se­lec­tions. As­so­ci­a­tion piper Andrew McCowan Jnr will also do his bit, as will piano ac­com­pa­nist Kirsteen Grant.

Hon­orary pa­tron Lord Rober­ston of Port Ellen will laud the tal­ents of the per­form­ers and the ef­forts of the or­gan­is­ers, and, while all this is go­ing on, Trail West will be tun­ing up for the ben­e­fit of those who will step out at the en­su­ing gath­er­ing dance tak­ing place in the same venue.

The Glas­gow Is­lay As­so­ci­a­tion was es­tab­lished in 1862 by Glas­gow printer and pub­lisher Archibald Sin­clair, an Ileach born at Mulindry in the Brid­gend dis­trict. Its aims were to bring to­gether na­tives of Is­lay and their friends, cher­ish­ing and de­vel­op­ing na­tive at­tach­ments, pre­serv­ing the tra­di­tions, po­etry and mu­sic of the is­land and pro­vid­ing re­lief in ne­ces­si­tous causes. Th­ese re­main the as­so­ci­a­tion’s re­mit.

The Glas­gow Is­lay is one of the ‘big three’ ter­ri­to­rial High­land as­so­ci­a­tions still ac­tive in the city. The oth­ers are the Glas­gow Lewis and Har­ris As­so­ci­a­tion, and Co­munn Eilean a’ Cheò, rep­re­sent­ing the in­ter­ests of the Glas­gow Sgiatheanaich.

Dr An­gus Mac­Tag­gart.

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