Around three years ago we visited The Black Isle, a stunning peninsula on the eastern side of the Scottish Highlands. We immediately fell in love (nothing new there as far as our ever increasing love of Scotland goes) and spent a couple of subsequent holidays touring the area and getting to know our way around. Whilst we were there the first time we came across the Black Isle Brewery and it’s wonderful beer and opted for a brewery tour. This took all of ten minutes as, at the time, the business was relatively new. Nowadays the delicious organic Black Isle beer is exported all over Europe and even further afield and the brewery itself has tripled! It’s well worth a look.
Last year we heard about a festival organised by the Black Isle Brewery called ‘Jocktoberfest’ the tag line being Beer, Bands & Bratwurst. We desperately wanted to go but simply lived too far away to make the journey. This year, however, was a different story!
We booked our tickets as soon as they became available and were excited to finally be going to ‘Jocktoberfest’. Camping, live music, excellent beer and good food! What more could we have asked for?! Good weather? Well we even got that!
We set off on Friday 7th Sept on our mini adventure. We drove through the undulating mountain scenery of The Cairngorms with its purple, greys and greens against a bright blue black drop. The excitement was building!
We arrived on the makeshift campsite at 7.10pm to set up our small tent. Said tent had been purchased prior to the occasion by hubby as, and I quote ‘the size is more appropriate for festival camping trips.’ The tent we usually take on holiday is somewhat larger and has an east and west wing along with a central hallway dontcha know!
The brewery is on a fully working organic farm and so the barns had been put to excellent use housing bars, food and live music. When we got down to the event centre the site was already buzzing and the sound of the Peatbog Faeries was lilting through the sound system and over the breeze. At 9.30pm a ceilidh launched into full swing, which would have been wonderful had I not been hampered by a broken toe! We did the next best thing; we headed for the beer barn.
Puddleduck , who was not partaking of the delights on offer in the beer barn, I hasten to add, had been a little trepidacious about the trip but her eyes lit up when she saw the number of other sproglets who had also accompanied their parents. She quickly made friends and disappeared into the kids Hay Barn to play. She returned with several new adornments to her face, arm and hand! Yup, she’d been face-painted!! Once we had eaten and drunk (not too much) we retired to our little tent for coffee and sleep.
The next morning we were greeted with bright sunshine, men playing rugby with loo rolls and the smell of bacon cooking. We had a lazy morning before going down to the barns for a fun filled afternoon. Live music was already blasting out of the PA system and we were bombarded with the mouth-watering aromas of churros and chocolate dip, bratwurst and a hog roast.
After watching a few bands we had a little bite to eat and a bit of respite back at the tent and then around mid-afternoon we ventured down to the barns once again for the evening festivities. The atmosphere was already electric and the barns were strung with twinkling fairy lights. The stage had come alive with colour and we had the opportunity to listen to some bands we had previously never heard of. We were not disappointed and came home with a couple of extra CD’s for our already vast collection!
Esperi was AMAZING!!! I have never before witnessed ayone playing a bass with a bow, a ratchett, a kids whirly tube and other bizarre items but WOW!!! He is one to watch. Bought his CD and it’s just beautiful. Easy Tigers were nice and mellow – loved them too. Toby Michaels and his Rolling Damned RRROCKED!!
The event was a huge success. It was our first time at “festival” camping as a family and there were a few eye-openers along the way. The lack of wash facilities and limited number of toilets on the makeshift site was unfortunate but understandable given the nature of the place. We were inventive and it didn’t hamper our enjoyment in the slightest. I think the whole experience was a learning curve; the lessons of which we will remember when we attend next year’s ‘Jocktoberfest’ event. And I have to say we are already excited about that!!
Our love affair with our new home just goes on and on. Long may it last.