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Scottish folk tale

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By Jackie Beedie


The UK has been basking in a heatwave all summer.

It has been the hottest ever July and people are falling down from heat exhaustion all over the place.

So it is about the same temperature as Bahrain in November.

We had purchased tickets to an outdoor concert and we were looking forward to a lovely day in the sun, with maybe a smattering of sun cream to protect the nose.

Ha! As soon as we arrived the sun disappeared and all the missing rain from the previous two months decided to make an appearance.

It rained for the five days before the concert, so we packed our welly boots, fleeces, raincoats and oldest jeans.

Although we had a little shower on the day of the concert, the rain held off all night and we had a wonderful time in the end.

The concert was the farewell gig by a band called Runrig, who if you don’t know are a Scottish folk rock group.

They successfully blend traditional Scottish folk songs in English and Gaelic with heavy rock.

Their trademark sound is distinguished by two drummers working in perfect harmony, a booming bass layer and soaring electric guitar from a guy called Malcolm Jones – who is definitely up there with Hendrix, Page and Clapton in terms of talent and ability.

Runrig have been around for 45 years and as well as Scotland, they have a massive following in Germany, Denmark and Russia.

But with the members now all being in their mid to late sixties, they decided to call it a day and hang up their guitars, drumsticks and tour bus.

Last year they announced the concert in Stirling, which took place last Saturday, would be their last ever.

Since they are one of my favourite bands and Stirling is my hometown, it was a no-brainer for me.

Tickets were purchased for the sell-out concert for the family and plans were made.

As I mentioned already, although initially not looking good the weather did hold off in the end and we all ended up with a rousing chorus of their signature tune Loch Lomond.

The other great thing about the day was that the concert was held in a field right below Stirling Castle, which is my favourite building in the whole world.

I could not keep my eyes on the stage because I had to keep looking at my beautiful castle.

The building holds such dear memories for me, as when I was an army cadet in my teens I spent many weekend camps in the castle, which was at the time the regimental headquarters of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders, a regiment of the British Army.

As kids we had the run of the place in the early evenings before lights out.

We would get into all the nooks and crannies, playing hide and seek or pretending to be one of the castle’s many ghosts.

It was a very emotional day for me witnessing the last dance of my favourite band, under the brooding auspices of Stirling Castle, and certainly one I will remember for a very long time.

I will have to be content now with their recorded music, but they were always a band that were best listened to live.

So in the style of that other Scottish band, The Proclaimers, “Runrig no more”.

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