Hogmanay 2019

New Year was a belter. Hence why I am only writing about it now. Not that I was on it for three days like some were, just that I am old enough now my body needs that long to recover. 

I was working behind the bar this year at the Applecross Community Hall, which gave me a different perspective on the night. Normally I would be twirling around the floor with everybody else. Many times I wished I was but it was very enjoyable to watch all the happy, smiling, familiar and some not so familiar faces capering about having a good time. 

Myself, Greg Watson and Dave Davidson made a good team behind the bar. We were able to keep up with demand, even using the Hall’s new equipment to keep track of the sales, and we managed a cheeky tipple or two for ourselves as well. After my shift was done I threw up my hands, let down my hair and forgot all about it so a big congratulations to all the unsung heroes who returned to the scene the next day to clean up! And to Caty MacLennan who organised the whole affair. Just after the Bells she served some life-saving stovies with Judith Fish of the Applecross Inn. Magical nights like the one we shared this Hogmanay would not be possible without the contribution, no matter how small, of time and effort from members of the community. 

Dasannach kicked off the night with some Ceilidh tunes. This was only their second performance as a group and they went down a treat. After the first few tentative dancers approached the music it wasn’t long before the floor was full. Shirts were unbuttoned, jackets were flung over the backs of chairs and the sound from the speakers was challenged by the stamping of feet and wild hooching.

The recently formed local Ceilidh troupe includes Annie Beaton on pipes and leading the dances, Sean Kilbride on fiddle, Owen Kilbride on accordion, Derek MacLennan on guitar and Niamh MacLennan on cello. They set the party roaring that night and we look forward to when we can have a good dance again up at the Hall. 

This was followed by Stramash, made up of Alasdair Hambrey on fiddle, Alasdair MacKenzie on guitar and Fergus MacVicar on pipes and whistles.  These three lads spent their Summer here in Applecross and came back to play at Hogmanay because they loved it so much. We were all very glad to see them again and hear their fabulous music. I am not musician nor connoisseur enough to extol their technical abilities but I am a lover of music and I love to see it played with passion. That they did, at one point I thought Fergus might actually fly off his chair and MacKenzie seemed about to lose his head. I was only sad I did not get to dance to more of their songs. By this point it was a real stramash, we were spinning in circles behind the bar. The bar closed at one so I did manage to join in their epic Strip the Willow finale. 

Whatever came after was either beyond my ken or cannot be written down. In any case this year promises to be as wild as the last with many exciting things to happen and many interesting people to meet in our little Sanctuary. Happy New Year to all, make it a good one.

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