Newcastleton Music Festival

Delighted to be this year’s Poetry Judge at the 49th Newcastleton Traditional Music Festival. It was a great weekend with much poetry, music and singing. One of the highlights had to be Aly Macrae’s rendition of the traditional song “John Barleycorn.” Right from the start he managed to get the audience singing along to the chorus and by the end of the song we were belting it out!

Some great original poetry to be heard too, mostly ballads, one of the most memorable of which included a summary of the 1525 Curse of the Borders Reivers by the Bishop of Glasgow. The story of this curse can be read here: The winner of the competition had written a beautiful lyrical poetry about the power of love over greed.

The sun shone on the Music Festival this year, which was a good thing because we were camping all weekend. Each morning we woke to the cries of the rooks and jackdaws, replaced later in the morning by the sounds of fiddles, accordians, tin whistles and the song of human voices. Next year will be the 50th year of the Festival. Not to be missed! For more information, see here:


Wildlife Writing Workshop

I will be running a writing workshop for the RSPB at its Loch Leven Nature Reserve on Sunday 22 November from 10 am until 2 pm. Come with pen and paper and a readiness to be inspired by the birdlife and landscape of Loch Leven. Expected sightings include the return of the pink-footed geese, many winter water birds and possibly even the first season’s glimpse of the white tailed eagle. Cost £10.00 per person. Further details to follow shortly here and on the RSPB Loch Leven web-site found here