We wanted to do something to celebrate our Island heritage. The islands give us so much of our Scottish heritage - music, language and culture. These days they also offer some of the most amazing food and drink. We are going to run a series of Island takeover weekends - where the best musicians and singers come to play for us and we all enjoy the finest drinks and food from those islands - an island ceilidh in the centre of Inverness.
We've lined up some amazing nights with Tiree being our focus in December (Skerryvore playing across the road in the Ironworks that weekend!) and Orkney in February with Saltfishforty on oboard alongside a convoy of amazing Orcadian spirits and beers! However we start this weekend (1-3rd November) with Harris!
The weekends line up
5pm - Meet the Brewer - Mainland launch of Loomshed Brewery
6pm - Al Murden on piano
6pm - Harris Gin - masterclass - 1 hour £20
8pm - Harris Gin - Late night session - 1.30 hour £30
9pm - Dòl Eoin MacKinnon - live music from the man from Scalpay
3pm - Meet the Brewer - tastings and chat from Calum the man behind Loomshed
4pm - Inverness Gaelic Choir including Tosg and Siaban
5pm - Meet the Brewer - more tastings
7pm - Bruce MacGregor and Al Murden - tunes round the piano
8pm - Harris Gin - Late night session 1.30hrs £30
3pm - Michael John MacMillan - ceilidh session for the survivors
5pm - Legendary Sunday Session
9pm - The even more legendary Gerry Coogan on piano
Some background on the idea
The idea was one that bar owner Bruce MacGregor had sitting on the backburner for a few years. The musician, broadcaster and businessman said,
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with Blazin’ Fiddles in nearly every island in Scotland over the years. I just love the diversity that each one has. From language to food and drink to music and art. I’d actually been thinking of doing mini festivals at our sister venue Bogbain Farm for a number of years but I just couldn’t get all the elements lined up”
The stars were aligned after a gathering at the bar, organised by accountants, Saffrey Champness, brought MacGregor together with Jamie Mcgowan from Essence of Harris.
“The passion that Jamie has for Harris is incredible. He’s an inspiring individual and when he mentioned his ideas for launching the new Harris Brewery range on the mainland, we were delighted to get involved. That reignited the original idea of an island takeover of the bar.”
The weekend will focus on the launch of the new brewery, Loomshed whilst also welcoming the Harris Distillery. Harris Gin has become one of the most popular in the Scottish craft gin revolution and their team will be running cocktail and masterclasses. MacGregor’s food offerings over the weekend will also be complementary to the Island’s heritage.
“Our team of chefs are excited to be using the Loomshed beer for the fish batter and Harris gin will be used for the mussel sauce. These regular dishes will complement specialities which celebrate the islands traditions and ingredients.”
To ensure the Island feel is complete, the weekend will be packed with music from afternoon ceilidhs and sessions to performances.
“As well as food, drink and music we’re also looking at displaying art and crafts from all of the islands to give a true flavour of these unique communities,”explained MacGregor. “It’ll be a great chance for those living on the mainland to come and celebrate their heritage and also encourage locals to find out a bit more about these amazing islands.”