Saturday morning at Belladrum, 10:30 and roasting, so we made it and what’s more we never set on fire. Seems to be a Belladrum tradition that the old girl ‘bursts into flames on the way here. First time we ever came with a caravan the under bonnet insulation set on fire labouring up to Cluanie. The stuff had sagged a little and touched the turbo charger, needless to say there’s now an aluminium heat shield there. Having said that the turbo on the 200TDi I fitted is nowhere near the bonnet now anyway. The following year that dreaded 15% hill out of ‘Drum’ had the ignition wiring set on fire, probably overloaded by the electric radiator fan that was working overtime as we crawled up by that oak framed house about half way up.
We left Arnish around 10:00AM in the hope of catching the 10: 55 and collecting old ‘Lightning Maclennan’ on the way. It’s been a few years since he’s graced these pages and I was looking forward to his wisdom
A great run through
All along I’d been dreading the journey through, it’s August and the roads are full of numpties. In truth, had it been left to me we’d have been on the 8:55 and not the 10:55 but the rest of the family ‘are not morning people’ and we were hoping to catch a courier. In our true disorganized style we’d left it until the last minute to order sleeping bags and chemical toilet fluid. The ‘minging’ blue stuff for the bog we could substitute with biological washing liquid but sleeping bags were kinda crucial for the boys.
Sure we had ordered this stuff last week with a guaranteed delivery of Tuesday or Wednesday, until you read the ‘small print’ that is We checked out the store at Sconser and there was no sign of our parcel, so off we went eastwards down the A87 until we spotted an M&H courier van at the Sconser fish farm. Stopping there and accosting the driver to no avail we continued eastwards over ‘Drum Na Cloiche’. Just prior to the Moll turning at the head of Loch Ainort we spotted a ‘Menzies’ van so unhitched the caravan, left it in a lay by and turned around. Ten minutes later we had our sleeping bags, toilet rolls and fluid for the bog Twenty minutes later we were on our way to Broadford for fuel, shopping and money. In true ‘Heillan style’ the bank had run out of money and the Co Op cash machine was empty Being ever resourceful we just kept going round in circles and getting £50 ‘cash back’ at the checkout.
Finally, we were ‘on our way’ and much to my surprise between Kyle and Drumnadrochit we only had 4 other vehicles behind us, all of which I let by.
The stop at ‘Drum’ allowed the ‘Old Girl’ to cool down and wifey to raid the cash machine there. Consequently we ‘sailed’ up the 15% hill after Drum and never even needed low ratio.
Here at last
We finally got here and pitched up in a great spot not far from the arena.
Of course it then took us a further hour or so to erect the awning that we’d never seen or used before.
Finally we were sorted and headed to the ‘party’ and ‘Tiggs D Author’
a south London rapper who I’d normally consider as ‘not my thing’. However it was this dudes first time in Scotland and he was really good. The boys too were ‘well impressed’ though they were nowhere near ‘us old crusties’ and would have been embarrassed by our presence.
Much better trousers
The next act we went to check out was ‘Beardyman’ and I have to say he did not disappoint. I had seen him before at Rockness and was not impressed, mainly on account of the trousers he was wearing. Now, I’m sixty so have seen most fashions come and go and worn more than my fair share of ridiculous leg attire. Sure I had the widest ‘flares’, the baggiest ‘Bags’ the shiniest ‘Stayprest’ the tightest jeans and the loosest ‘loons’ but I feckin’ hate ‘doon yer arse’ troosers and old Beardyman wore the most ridiculous pair I’ve ever seen at Rockness.
Why anyone would want to wear trousers that you cannae walk or run in and originate from the American penal system is beyond me. Especially when the wearing of said trousers in such a fashion indicates you’re up for anal sex!!!!!!
With Beardyman out of the way and an excellent kebab from ‘Johnny Baghdad’s’ demolished back at the caravan we headed back down to the ‘Garden Stage’ for what we hoped would be one of the weekend’s highlights. Suffolk’s greatest rock export the mighty ‘Darkness’.
We saw these rockers years ago just at the cusp of their fame and they were awesome. Sadly, fame seems to have gone to their heads and they spent more time fannying about with their sound engineers than actually playing to the crowd. This kind of pish you expect from the Stones, U2 and the Stranglers, not a bunch of hicks from Suffolk. Consequently the guitars sounded so good you couldnae here a word Justin was saying
Having just left the ‘Grass Roots’ Black Isle Brewery stage and seen these kilted heroes belt out some awesome tunes without any fannying about. Despite our best attempts we couldn’t discover who this amazing band were but they were ten times better than the Darkness and did no ‘fannying about’. In fact they finished off with a Bay City Rollers number!!! No shit, I was dancing to ‘Shang a Lang’ before I left!!!
All this I recorded yesterday and somehow it vanished As Friday dawned clear and bright I spent a vodka fuelled breakfast writing it all down and lost it
However, my vague recollections are of getting my nails varnished and going to see Grousebeater, that amazing fusion of Celtic, Acid, house beats that are guaranteed to ‘bring the house’ down.
Sadly, by that time I was pure wrecked so couldn’t elucidate on their amazing performance. Suffice to say, they were ‘pure banging’.
Several drinks later
After a spell in the caravan ‘chillin’ with one of ‘Johnny Baghdad’s’ offerings we headed back out to see Skye’s maestro biker Danny Mackaskill and his ‘Drop and Roll’ show.
Sorry, I have no idea where that third picture came from
Four being my darling wife who will kill me if she sees this and five being the lady that sold us a nose stud and T shirt. Sure that is the most awesome dress I’ve seen in a long while Tutankhamen eat your heart out!!!!
They should have been on the main stage
After all this and a spell of bangin’ toones at the ‘Mothers Ruin’ stage we headed to the ‘Hot House’ tent to see ‘Alabama 3’ but were seriously miffed at not being able to get anywhere near them.
They really should have been playing the main stage! Alabama 3 are one of those bands who’s albums do not do them justice. Having shot to fame after one of their songs featured in ‘The Sopranos’ their gigs require more room than any tent can accommodate. I’ve seen them 3 or 4 times and these dudes need SPACE
The highlight so far
By the time Alabama 3 had finished belting out their set Wifey was pure worn out so I escorted her back to the caravan then went to see the band that I’d been waiting for, The Orb.
The electronic masters did not disappoint and as a headline act in the Hot House tent they were awesome. Sadly at 60 years of age ‘yours truly’ was pure feckered and could only handle around 45 minutes of their ‘bangin set’ before having to head home to the caravan
Apologies for the language and trouser rant but I was mainly wrecked all weekend and felt a little colourful. Had no internet all weekend and forgot me camera