The Whistle at the End of the Universe …by Ian Nicholls

The West Coast of Scotland has to be one of the most amazing places in the world. All year I had been looking forward to another few weeks exploring it on a very special little ship, The Hippo-owned by a friend. Sailing ensures that things aren’t seen to quickly and the world goes by a sensible natural pace. The sea is not our natural habitat, and this is brought home effectively when whales would overtake us, and dolphins would come and go as if my magic.

Our destination this year was to be St Kilda, right on the edge of the Scottish West Coast, and having assembled a mix bag of sailors and musicians, we met in Castlebay on Barra.

Our experiences were mad, beautiful and mystifying. In my mind recording these is all part of journeying. In this modern world the click of a digital camera is now the accepted norm. Not always. For years traditional music told stories of joy, happiness, shipwreck…the list is endless. For me I wasn’t going anywhere without my fiddle and my MK Low D.

St Kilda had a profound effect. A new tune “Village Bay” tries to conjure up the wild eyed sheep, the incredible cliffs and amazing struggle of St Kilda, however trying to fit it all in is still very much work in progress…I’m not sure a single tune will suffice…


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