Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Isle of lewis and HebCelt

Summer is the time for sun, sea and festivals. Me? I went north to the Isle of Lewis for the Hebridean and Celtic festival in Stornoway so it was more like rain, mud and music but nonetheless it was a great week away. Set on the grounds of Lews Castle the festival had something for everyone.


The journey north started with a 223-mile drive from Glasgow to Ullapool where the guilty pleasure playlist was blasting from the speakers and singing at the top of our voices. All three of us in the car were very excited to be on our way to Stornoway, it was my first time! The driver, Eilidh, could not stop talking about the “amazing soup from House of Bruar” so of course we had to stop there for lunch to try it ourselves. If you haven’t been here before let me tell you it is a beautiful place but sadly a rather expensive place to visit so we stuck to buying soup and I had a little bit of pasta. After being fed and caffeinated we set off again our next stop being Ullapool where we caught the ferry to Stornoway. The holiday began there as we all treated ourselves to a few alcoholic drinks. Arriving in Stornoway we then drove to Aignish were we staying the week. 



Stornoway
As the musical festival didn’t start for a few days I wanted to explore the island a little to see what Lewis had to offer. I love a bit of culture when I am on holiday personally I’m not a fan of lying about doing nothing. Our first full day on the island we decided to take a trip to Stornoway and explore the town, granted it is small so it didn’t take very long. We stopped off for lunch in Lido café. The food was absolutely beautiful and the menu is forever changing depending on what is fresh and available that day. I opted for a goat’s cheese bagel with caramelise onion with a side of chips. I love goat’s cheese and the bagel did not disappoint. We came across The Good Food Boutique which sells amazing chutneys, cheese, organic produce etc. it was amazing and definitely one of the best shops in the town as I love foods like these. 


Sight-Seeing
We are off on an adventure! We got in the car and drove all over Lewis to soak in the culture. First stop, the Calanais Stones. These are a set of standing stones that are as famous as they are mysterious. Archaeologists have studied these stones dating from around 3000 BC but still no one knows how or who put them there. Whatever the reason they are beautiful! Set on top a hill the views from the area are marvelous.


We then move from one mysterious stone structure to another: The Broch. Again on top a hill sits a stone building with both who built it and its use unknown. There are doors, stairs and windows so possibly someone lived there but given that I a petite 5ft had to double over to fit through; they must have been tiny.

Lewis also has many beautiful beaches. I only got to visit two but they were so worth it! Even though it was rather windy the sun was still shining. With white sands and beautiful clear water, it would have been easy to forget you’re still in Scotland.




HebCelt Festival
The festival traditionally begins with a ceilidh on the Wednesday followed by 3 days of music. We had tickets to it all and we were making sure we made the most of it. The main headline act was Runrig who were playing on the Saurday night with other headline acts Hayseed Dixies and Red Hot Chilli Pipers playing Thursday and Friday. Other than bands I hadn’t really heard of much of the music so we read the description of a few bands and made sure we got to see them.

Thursday:

Kathleen MacInnes and Sineag MacIntyre with the Urban Teuchters. Even though they were singing in Gaelic and I had no idea what they were saying the feel and sound of the music was great! The crowd were loving them too! Perfect music for any Hebridean ceilidh.

Orphan Colours were fantastic too! Made from members from Ahab and Noah and the Whale this band were upbeat and definitely got the crowd bopping along. They were even kind enough so do a signing session in the merchandise tent so of course I had to go along and say hello. I have to say they are a bunch a lovely guys.


The headliner Hayseed Dixie performed a lot of cover songs which was perfect for folk like me who didn’t know much of the music. The covers were great and had a Celtic twist to them and included classics like ‘Don’t stop believing’ by Journey and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen.

Friday:

For this day I had done my research! I had to go see Woodenbox and Hunter & the Bear. They were both great but Hunter & the Bear have to be my favourite band of the entire festival! As soon as I could I bought their music. They are a band of 4 guys with a folk-rock sound. I instantly knew I was going to love them when the lead vocalist started. His deep and rough voice is insane and the lyrics are amazing! We spoke to them after their set and pleaded for them to come to Glasgow which I’m hoping they do once their debut album had been released. And of course we couldn’t miss a photo op with them.



Saturday:

On the weeks running up to the festival I was so excited it was all I could talk about. A friend in work looked up who was playing and told me to see RURA and Skippinish. Sadly, we only got to see RURA but they were amazing. With a mix of proper Celtic music with drumbeat and bagpipe with a more modern electric guitar and vocals they were outstanding. The crowd definitely loved them as much as I did.

We also took a trip to the acoustic stage to hear Ben Sunderland. It was just him and his guitar and it was beautiful. Even though not many of the crowd knew his songs we were all singing along at one point as he took the time to teach us some lyrics. There was so much beauty shining through his lyrics and music that I could just close my eyes and pretend I wasn’t in a tent on a muddy field. He also held a signing so I bought a CD to get signed and we had a little chat and found out he was playing again that night elsewhere at a ceilidh we had tickets for also so it was great to see him play again.

All in all the festival was amazing. I was able to forget about the mud and enjoy myself. There was something for everyone with 3 different music tents, plenty of food, clean toilets and even a circus tent. I would definitely recommend it to everyone as it is a very family friendly festival. There was even some carpool karaoke. 


Have you been to HebCelt before? What’s your favourite festival experience?

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36 comments

  1. Never heard of the HebCelt before but sounds amazing! I'd love to visit the isle of lewis - looks beautiful!

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  2. The Isle of Lewis looks beautiful. I haven't ever seen a blog post about it. Looks like the festival was amazing too.

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  3. Lucky you, such beautiful surroundings for an amazing festival.

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  4. The scenery is beautiful! I love a good festival, and sounds like you had a brilliant time!

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  5. I'd love to visit this place. It looks so interesting, and of course the gig is cool too :)

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  6. The scenery is just absolutely stunning and ive never heard of Hebcelt until now x

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  7. Wow sounds like such a fun trip and the views are amazing. Shame the soup was expensive, but the goats cheese bagel sounds incredible x

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  8. These pictures look so good, I love the sunsets your photography is amazing my love :) x

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  9. What a lovely festival - love discovering ones I have never heard of and loved that you took the opportunity to explore the area before settling into the festival. That bagel looks yummy and those beaches look glorious!

    Thanks for sharing,

    Leigh at Fashion Du Jour LDN x
    www.fashiondujour.co.uk

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  10. It looks such a beautiful place - and a great festival too. I have never been to Scotland but would love to go. Kaz x

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  11. Lovely scenery. Never heard of HebCelt but it looks good! It's nice to be able to do new and different festivals x

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  12. Gorgeous photos, i've never been here but may have to visit x

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  13. Is it bad that I have never even heard of the Isle of Lewis? It is isn't it haha!! I love the way this looks, I'll make a note to visit! H x

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  14. Isle of Lewis looks lovely, I have never been to a festival before so can not comment on that, but do hope to change this one day x

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  15. Looks so beautiful. I've never been before. Great photos

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  16. I have never heard of this place before, looks really good!

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  17. This is such a pretty place to see, although expensive the food sounds expensive and nothing is better in life than having fun in a pretty place! :)

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  18. I have to admit, i've never heard of the isle or the festival! Its looks beautiful though, hope you had an amazing time!

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  19. What incredible scenery and that festival looks like good fun.

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  20. wow, it's amazing how much scotland looks like ireland... maybe it's just the rain

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  21. I've never heard of this festival before but it sounds really great! It's nice you got to meet some of the acts too and do a bit of sight-seeing before you went xx

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  22. I've never heard of this festival before, but it looks great!

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  23. That beach is beautiful. I love how quiet and peaceful it is!

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  24. I love a good festival and this looks perfect. I like the sound of hebcelt a lot.

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  25. It sounds amazing! I'd love to visit Lewis, I went to Uist a few years ago and it's just a beautiful part of the world - the beaches are gorgeous aren't they!

    Jess xo | The Indigo Hours

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  26. The scenery is so beautiful. Your photos are perfect.

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  27. The scenery is stunning, I hadn't heard about HebCelt before!

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  28. This sounded like such a great visit. I can't get over how pretty the landscapes are.

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  29. What ana amazing sounding festival- I may have to go to that one next year!

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  30. This sounds like a great holiday to do. The Festival looked fun and the beautiful Calanais stones look like something I'd enjoy visiting.

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  31. Awesome setting for it, your pics are awesome. Definitely my kind of place

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  32. What an absolutely gorgeous location! I have never heard of the festival before but it looks like you had an amazing time x

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  33. The scenery there is beautiful. You have taken some lovely photos there. The festival looked fun too x

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  34. I've never heard of this festival before but it sounds like you had a great time! Fab scenery and that broch looks very well preserved. We have loads of them up here in Shetland - they're about 2000 years old, Pictish dwelling houses.

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  35. I've never heard of HebCelt Festival before but it looks and sounds great! Shame about the mud but I'm glad you still had a wonderful time! I love the pics :) xx

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  36. ive never heard of the isle of lewis or the hebcelt festival. both looks really interesting!

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