Belladrum & Gairloch…All in the name of research…again…well mostly ;-)

On Thursday August 1st we set out for our favourite spot, The Scottish Highlands.  The reason for this journey was threefold:

  1. It was our annual family holiday
  2. It was the Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum
  3. We were visiting the places that feature in my second novel ‘Through the Glass’ which is released on August 30th

It was a two tent adventure!  We used a small tent for the festival and then our larger tent was erected for our trip to research the Gairloch and Sheildaig areas.  I will share a few pics of both events.

Board and lodgings for Belladrum

Board and lodgings for Belladrum

Tent City!

Tent City!

Now being a communication junkie and also having the task of promoting two books you can imagine my frustration at having very limited internet access and a constantly dying phone battery!  But…I was determined to continue as normally as possible and so it was an interesting venture into the world of internet hotspots and sitting in the car whilst the phone charged enough for me to check in!  My debut novel Bridge Over the Atlantic has been reduced for the month of August and so I was hell bent on getting the news out there somehow.

When we arrived at Belladrum on Thursday it was in the midst of a pretty torrential downpour and pitching a tent in these conditions is an experience to say the least!  Once we were all sorted, however, the kettle was on and we set about deciding on a plan of action for the three days we would be there.  And there comes a point where you are so drenched you can’t really get any wetter!

The following morning saw a break in the clouds and we all laughed as an enormous cheer and thunderous round of applause erupted throughout the whole camp, as the sun began to peek through the grey.  The day ahead suddenly became more exciting!  There were some fantastic bands playing.

The Lafontaines were absolutely awesome.  How these guys are not topping every single music chart is beyond me.  They’re talented musicians and have the unique factor of a Scottish rapper.  Kerr Okan hails from Motherwell and has an amazing way with words.  His poetry and the bands overall talent made this an exciting gig to be present for.

The Lafontaines

The Lafontaines

I experienced a bit of a dream come true.  One of my musical heroes is Dougie Maclean.  Sadly he was playing at the same time as Twin Atlantic but we gave them a miss to enjoy a sing along with Dougie.  He was wonderful.  I mentioned one of his most famous songs, ‘Caledonia’, in Bridge Over the Atlantic and was delighted when he sang it.  It was a very emotional experience hearing the audience sing the heartfelt words at the tops of their voices.  The whole gig was great fun as Dougie tutored the crowd in singing the guitar solos and backing vocals.  Wonderful!

Dougie

Dougie

Washington Irving were as brilliant this time as when we saw them at the Black Isle Brewery’s Jocktoberfest last year.  We bought their CD this time and have listened to it lots since.  The Peatbog Faeries had everyone jigging along and thankfully their performance on the garden stage was blessed with bright sunshine!

Toby Michael’s Rolling Damned are another favourite of ours and their performance this year was excellent.  Toby is a born entertainer and arrived with a bright red painted face!  Their rendition of ‘A Little Bit of What You Fancy’ had everyone singing at the tops of their voices!  

Toby Michael's Rolling Damned

Toby Michael’s Rolling Damned

James are a band that I was a huge fan of back in the 1990’s and Tim Booth’s voice still has the capacity to send shivers down my spine.  Hearing everyone chant the words to ‘Sit Down’ really took me back in time and I left the gig with a rosy glow.  The fireworks were spectacular!

James

James

Other bands we saw and enjoyed: The Whiskey’s, Nina Nesbit (she sang The Proclaimers ‘500 Miles’ which is one of my all time favourite songs and another I nention in Bridge Over the Atlantic.  The Elephant Sessions – their fiddle player bears a strong resemblance to a young Tom Cruise (in my opinion!) They were great fun!  And the Noisettes who really had the crowd in the palm of their hand!  Amazing stage presence.  The selection of food available was fantastic and the toilet facilities were kept clean.  The Black Isle Brewery tent was our favourite place to drink!

Nina Nesbit

Nina Nesbit

After we left Belladrum, still buzzing from the wonderful atmosphere and the fantastic experience, we set off north to Gairloch.  And what a stunning place it is.  Photos really don’t do it justice at all.  Being there was simply something else.  The views…wow!  The larger tent, complete with kitchen area dontcha know, was set up on the most stunning site we had ever stayed on.

Our home from home

Our home from home

We took a drive to Sheildaig where Through the Glass is set.  Being there made me feel very emotional indeed.  I could imagine Jim walking down the main street with his dog Jasper in tow.

I will post some photos here…these photos are ones that I think Jim would have taken himself had he been real

Sheildaig

Sheildaig

Gairloch

Gairloch

Jim's fave spot (Through the Glass - coming August 30th)

Jim’s fave spot (Through the Glass – coming August 30th)

View from Gairloch

View from Gairloch

If you would like to read Bridge Over the Atlantic whilst it is reduced in price please head over to my Facebook page for more details (click ‘like’ whilst you are there for updates!)

Thanks for reading!

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