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Henk van Aalten

Arran And Concertina's

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Together with my family I visited last (long) weekend the Isle of Arran for a special celebration. My son (he lives in Scotland) convinced us to choose Arran for this celebration because of the atmosphere, the beauty, etc. of this island.

Looking back now I can confirm that he was more than right: it is in many respects a unique island and (at least from my point of view) I consider the people who live there as priviliged people.

One of those people is C.Netter Samantha. I met her at the Scandinavian Squeeze In (last April) and of course we could arrange for a meeting to play concertina, admire Samantha's beautiful Bflat/F Jeffries, discuss tunes (Polska #19) and to hear about the plans that she launched last April about an Arran Squeeze In. She plans to organise it in the autumn of 2005. The plans are still alive and the focus is know on organising (building) a sleeping facility. Knowing Samantha, I am convinced that she will succeed and I am already looking forward to next autumn to meet concertina friends on this wonderful island.

 

About Arran:

 

Arran is situated in the west of Scotland and is well protected by the Kintyre peninsula (see maps below).

 

arran1.gif

 

arran2.gif

 

The warm Gulfstream gives the island a mild climate, resulting in a wonderful vegetation-mix with even some mediterranean elements. The scenery offers everything that you can find in the rest of Scotland.

 

Travelling:

 

The low-fare carrier Ryan Air brought us from The Netherlands to Prestwick Airport for less than 60 EURO for a roundtrip. From Prestwick it is about 22km to Ardrossan where you take the ferry to Arran. From Brodwick to the Squeeze In location it is another 20km. An alternative is flying to Glasgow which is about 50 km. Public transport by bus can take you to Ardrossan and any place on Arran.

 

Specialties:

 

Arran is famous for its superb whiskey. I took a bottle with and can confirm this. There is a local beer with four different types. I like them very much (nice smell and aroma). There is excellent local cheese and last but not least the Arran chocolate beats everything that I have tasted (including famous Belgian chocolate).

More on Arran can be found at websites like: http://www.visitarran.net/

 

To get an idea of how it can be in autumn, I included a photo that I made last saturday morning (November 20) from Dippin Lodge (where we stayed) looking south to the small island of Ailsa Craig.

 

arran4.jpg

 

To conclude: Arran is a great place and I look forward to the next autumn. I will be there!

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Specialties:

 

Arran is famous for its superb whiskey.

 

You forgot one other August speciality ... MIDGES!

 

Apart from that, Arran is superb (we used to go walking there several times a year when we lived near Glasgow. We even had a trip there by paddle steamer with live folky entertainment one time) The distillery must be new though - they used to have to import the whisky.

 

Sounds like fun anyway - would there be room for a fiddle playing spouse.

 

Chris

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You forgot one other August speciality ... MIDGES!
That's why it is organized in the autumn!

 

Sounds like fun anyway - would there be room for a fiddle playing spouse.
When the same rules are followed that were used at the Scandinavian Squeeze In, I should say yes. But you better wait for the answer from Samantha. She is the organiser.

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...would there be room for a fiddle playing spouse.

I'm sure other instruments would be welcome... especially bayans and balalaikas. :)

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Henk, thank you so much for doing most of the publicity work for me! I can confirm that I will base the event on the very enjoyable Scandinavian Squeeze-in, and any instrumentalists, vocalists or whoever else is welcome, so long as they can stand the sound of a concertina or two! I was thinking of making one slight difference to the Scandinavian style programme, and that would be to offer an optional half-day trip to the distillery which is located at the north end of the island, about 45 km away from the proposed location of the Arran concertina event ...

I do feel very priveleged to live here, and it is nice to have that confirmed by an external opinion.

I should add that I am not personally building the accommodation, but my local village hall is being extended to incorporate a bunk-house with dormitory style accommodation. If you don't like the sound of that there are B&Bs and a hotel all very close by. And a pub.

I'll keep you all posted!

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The first bottle of whisky I ever bought was from the Arran distillery, who were very helpful as well as friendly to a complete novice. Last week I logged on to their web site and bought another 3 bottles. Lovely stuff.

 

Samantha, I've just told Anne about the Arran Squeeze, and we will be there! It will give me a chance to teach you a tune I've wanted to teach you since I learned it. It's called "Hare in the Long Grass".

 

Chris

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Now that sounds like a brilliant and fun event and I'm really tempted. I just hope it doesn't clash with Mark Davies's Bradfield Traditional Music Weekend which I believe is already booked for the middle of August 2005.

 

Pete

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AUTUMN, folks, AUTUMN. October or November-ish, 2005, and yes, I'll check with the conflict calendar ...

Samantha

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[Henk, look what you've started!] :blink: :ph34r: :unsure:

But what did you expect with such an island ;) . Organising a squeeze in on Spitsbergen in the autumn... Now that would be a challenge!!

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:rolleyes:

Samantha, Henk,

 

As you see, it has only started, me too, please !!, I start to dream and to work.

 

Samantaha willing to sing, better to try to sing with once more ?

A Basque song ? :D

 

Great ! Bravo !

 

Jochim

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Samantha

 

Please put me on the list for the Arran squeez-in too.

 

Theo

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AUTUMN, folks, AUTUMN. October or November-ish, 2005, and yes, I'll check with the conflict calendar ...

Samantha

Ooops - that was my fault - for some reason I thought I saw August (hence the midge comment) don't know where that got into my head!

DH says he remembers that there was a distillery just being set up when we were last in that part of the world - must be 12 years ago or more .... whisky should be maturing nicely by now :-)

 

Chris

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To all of you who've shown an interest ... I will most certainly market this through c.net nearer the time, so keep an eye out for it here. I'm gratified at the interest shown, and look forward to welcoming you all to this lovely island!

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I was greatly impressed by your description and the photo Henk. You must have had a great weekend. I was getting excited when I read the squeeze in might be mid august - with the midges - (I have holidays then) but now it looks like October/November. That's bad luck for me as I'll be back here in Honkers at the grind, with no chance of getting over there. Oh dear, the photo did make me feel VERY homesick. anyway, I hope it goes aheady for everyone who's interested. Sounds like a great idea and PERFECT location. I'm just GREEN with envy at missing the boat.

ClaireHK.

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I didn't find a problem with midges there when I went about 8 years ago in August, but that may just have been luck. From past experience I would say that the Higlands are worst affected and that it's not so bad further south.

I remember camping at Torridon one evening in August and watching a beautiful sunset with a fresh breeze and being completely untroubled. The next morning I looked out to see a crowd of danish visitors in bee-keeping equipment and thinking "Why are they wearing that?" Ten minutes later I wished that I had a set!

I am certainly interested in the event but cannot commit myself quite yet.

At least it's not so far to travel for us as those coming up from the South.

 

Robin Madge

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