BLAS Concert (September 2007)
On Friday 7th September Torridon Village Hall was the venue for a Concert of Gaelic songs and music which will remain in the memory of all present for years to come. This was part of the Blas Festival and was sustained by a group of some of the finest Gaelic singers of today. There were seven men and one lady and they enthralled us with solos, duets, quartettes and as a group, as well as playing bagpipes, northumbrian pipes, guitars, accordions, tin whistle, jew's harp and clarsach. The songs were a selection of well known favourites and others not so well known, but all performed to a very high standard of professionalism.
Mary Ann Kennedy, the only lady in the group, was Bean an Tighe and also sang. She gave her usual immaculate performance and kept the whole concert running smoothly from beginning to end.
Those taking part were Calum Alex. MacMillan, Norman MacArthur, Gillebride MacMillan, James Graham, Norrie MacIver, Angus MacPhail and Griogair Labhruidh.
The audience were enthralled and gave the performers a resounding ovation at the end. This was indeed a memorable evening and it is to be hoped that we will have similar evenings in the future.
The ladies of the Arts and Culture group provided tea, coffee and a wonderful spread of home baking goodies at the interval. Once again our thanks to this hard working group.

Ceilidh (June 2007)
On May 25th nearly 150 people attended a superb ceilidh dance in the Torridon hall. The Bean an Tigh Morag Dhomhnullach introduced the performers and entertained us all evening with jokes and stories while the Strathpeffer Scottish Dance Band gave us the opportunity to 'work off' the excellent food provided by the Torridon ladies. The evening was enhanced by the superb vocal performances of Alison Rapson, Kirsteen Menzies, Raymond Bremner and Don R Maciver accompanied by Hamish Menzies. We were also privileged to have two demonstrations during the evening from The Torridon Country Dance Group. The whole evening was orchestrated by Alistair and Jean MacLean and we would like to say a very big thank you to them and all the people who helped to make it such a memorable evening.

Caledonian Challenge marshalling (June 2007)
The weekend of June 16th saw 17 volunteers going away on the marshalling weekend for the Caledonian Challenge. It was again an exhausting but worthwhile experience and we made over 2,000 for the Community Hall. Well done and many thanks to all those who took part.

Feis Rois (June 2007)
We are fortunate to have the Feis Rois Ceilidh Trail coming to Torridon again on Wednesday 25th July from 8 - 11pm. These young performers attracted a huge audience last year and gave us one of the best ceilidhs we had seen for years. We are delighted they are returning and will give them a warm welcome.

Sirens (June 2007)
On Friday August 3rd at 8pm the 'Sirens' will perform in Torridon. This exciting all female band is becoming very well known for their superb instrumentals and powerful vocalists. They feature BBC Radio Scotland's young Traditional Musician of the year 2006 Shona Mooney and BBC Fame Academy winner in 2004 Shona Kipling.

Singing group (June 2007)
The local singing group continues to attract people who want to sing for pleasure and meets on alternate Thursday mornings in Torridon Hall. If anyone would like to join the group it is for all abilities and really is just for pleasure so do ring Avril on 01445 791216.

Painting lessons (June 2007)
If you have a desire to learn or improve your landscape drawing and painting skills then you might be interested in Torridon Arts and Culture Group's one day workshops on July 9th or 12th. Sponsored by the Scottish Arts Council and run by professional artist Michael Mulready these workshops cost 12, have limited places and are suitable for all abilities. For more information tel Glyn 01445 791270.

Gaining ground at Torridon (June 2007)
The community of Torridon have received a SCHRI grant towards installing a ground source heating system in their village hall. The hall is used regularly by some 25 different groups including playgroups, sports and senior citizens' clubs and the mountain rescue services. This type of system typically reduces heating bills by up to 75% and carbon emissions by 50%. The system is set to be installed by Earthwise Scotland Ltd with support of local contractors for groundwork and drilling. Donald Macdonald, chair of Torridon Village Hall Extension Committee said "This heating system is an integral part of our plans to extend the hall and we are very grateful to the funders and those in the local community who have so generously supported this initiative". (http://www.hie.co.uk/community-energy.html)

Torridon Arts & Culture (20 April 2007)
The last week in March saw a flurry of activity in Torridon when the Arts and Culture Group staged an ambitious Food Week. The events were spread over six days and attracted many visitors as well as local people. Assisted by Highland 2007, Highland Council and Healthways the group organised events to celebrate Highland cuisine and culture.
The week began with a superb evening with food writer Catherine Brown who told us how she learnt to cook traditional dishes thanks to local people when she worked at the Torridon Hotel many years ago. References to parents and grandparents of local people brought tears to a few eyes and it was generally agreed, by those who know, that the herring and lamb she provided for tastings evoked 'the good old days'.
The second day saw the hall packed with stalls for the food fair. Stall holders had tastings and Sandra and Dorothy produced a huge healthy eating display that is still being talked about! Amazingly lots of seafood platters were sold even though people had an abundance of free tastings.
Wednesday was a regular lunch club day and we had a visit from BBC Radio Scotland who got a taste of kitchen banter and some verdicts on the meal from the diners. A cheese and wine evening later gave us all the chance to enjoy the wonderful cheeses from West Highland Dairies and learn a little about cheese making whilst enjoying a variety of wines from Romanet Wines.
Thursday was the day Lady Claire MacDonald had kindly agreed to come for the day to demonstrate some of her wonderful recipes. Sixty people were held spellbound by Claire's delightful repartee and skilful cooking.
Friday was the children's opportunity to show their culinary skills when the local primary schools and playgroup decorated Easter eggs and made a variety of Easter related goodies. Much fun was had by all even if it did feel chaotic at the time! Torridon school's Spring Fair on Saturday was well supported and provided an opportunity for children to show the things they had made.
The final event was a Highland meal at the Torridon Inn where the success of the week was rightly celebrated.
None of this superb event would have been possible without an army of willing helpers - they know who they are - so a huge thank you if you were involved in any way at all.
The Torridon Arts and Culture Group have been awarded a grant from the Lottery 'Awards For All' to put on events over the coming year. This will include the Ceilidh Dance on Friday May 25th and a classical concert by The North Star Wind Trio on Monday 25th June as well as many other exciting events over the coming months. Full details can be found on the Hall website.

LADY CLAIRE'S COOKERY DEMONSTRATION (29 March 2007)
On Thursday 29th March all roads led to Torridon. They came from a' the airts - north, south, east and west to Lady Claire Macdonald's cookery demonstrations in Torridon Village Hall. What a lovely lady - charming, bubbly, passionate, funny, but above all very down to earth in her approach to cooking. She demonstrated 5 recipes in the morning and 5 in the afternoon - potted cheese, seared scallops, lamb shank, braised venison, praline & vanilla crepes, chocolate, raisin & rum ice cream - to name but a few, making everything look so easy. In between there was a break for a delicious lunch prepared by the ladies of the Arts & Crafts Committee and a chance to have a chat with friends. At the end of the afternoon demonstration we just had to have a wee sample of everything and the 'oos' and 'aas' of everyone spoke volumes. Quite a number took advantage of the occasion to ask Lady Claire's advice on their cookery problems.
I am a sucker for cookery books, I simply cannot resist them, so despite already groaning shelves, I just had to buy one of Lady Claire's; after watching the Master Chef at work, I am full of confidence that even I can produce one or two of the recipes demonstrated - time will tell!
To make everything look so easy of course takes hours of preparation and we must not forget the backroom girls and Jo - Lady Claire's "Girl Friday"- who so unobtrusively kept everything running smoothly.
A big "THANK YOU" to the ladies of the Torridon Arts & Crafts Committee for all the hard work they put in to give us an unforgettable day out - roll on the next one!
JMM

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