As we reported earlier, Mike Vass has embarked on his project to re-create a sea journey around the Western Isles, the mirror of a journey taken by author Neil Gunn in 1937. Seaman Vass has been reporting his progress via a blog he’s set up for the project, charting the adventure on land and sea.
Having spent time over the last few weeks researching material for the trip at the School of Scottish Studies and making other preparations for the journey, Mike and his initial crew (singer / harpist Jennifer Port joined Mike for a duo concert in the Red Roof Cafe at Holmisdal on Skye) arrived at Portree last Wednesday. They were soon aboard the Windsong with skipper David Vass (Mike’s Dad) at the helm and prepared for a peaceful night before setting sail for Duntulm on the north of the island the next day. This is where Neil Gunn bought his converted life boat Thistle and began his voyage in 1937. With the sea a bit on the rough side, Windsong sailed from there down to the more sheltered bay at Uig for the night.
Mike & Crew relax before preparing for the first gig of the tour:
As if to make up for choppy seas (and one or two delicate stomachs) the 2nd of May started with calm seas and sunshine, as the crew prepared for the first gig of the tour at the Red Roof Cafe; where there was a warm welcome from audience and hosts alike. Also braving the sea journey is project manager and co-founder (with Mike) of Unroofed records, Charlotte Hathaway. Charlotte is dealing with all the logistics of the expedition – transport to gigs around the islands, finding a 3G signal to help keep the rest of us up to date and the inevitable onset of sea-sickness – for which she is turning to the expertise of Neil Gunn himself – thanks to an edition of Off In A Boat specially reprinted for the project by Colonsay-based House of Lochar (http://www.houseoflochar.com/books/mar_scot_offaboat.htm).
The next leg of the journey takes the Windsong to the Isle of Eigg for a gig at Galmisdale on May 9th before heading back to Arisaig on the mainland next day. We’ll keep you updated of progress here, but to get the full story visit Mike’s blog at http://inthewakeofneilgunn.com. The best possible way to keep updated with events that will, no doubt, inspire yet another unique and moving piece of work from Mike Vass.
Live Dates: In the wake of Neil Gunn
09 – Eigg Community Hall
10 – Astley Hall, Arisaig
17 – Iona Village Hall
24 – Duror and Kentallen Community Centre
01 – Nairn Sailing Club
Those of you who want to keep track of Mike’s progress can follow his new project website (see link below) where you can sign up to receive regular updates from the blog.