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Silver Darlings Day - Lybster Harbour - Sat. 25th June 2005

19th June 2005

Lybster Heritage Trust/Lybster Harbour Society
Sat 25 June 2005 - 11a.m.- 6p.m.
Just one of many events for the family on Silver Darlings Day is this from Scotia Review.

Scotia Review has invited Lewis poet, storyteller & artist Ian Stephen to contribute to the programme of activities planned for this family day out at Lybster Harbour.

Given that the theme of this event is to commemorate Dunbeath writer, Neil Gunn and the heyday of the local fishing community, Ian Stephen was the obvious choice of writer and artist to bring a tang of the sea with his storytelling and poetry reading throughout the day.

An ex-coastguard, Ian's marine connections form the main thread of his artistic life, in which photography and sculpture also feature.

Apart from storytelling and poetry reading, Ian has offered to bring with him material about a major project he is currently involved with in Stornoway. Ian is the main artist commissioned to work on the Sail Loft project, which is renovating the old harbour buildings on Stornoway Harbour front.

Ian will show slides and talk about two boat renovations he is currently involved with. The Jubilee ( a 1935 North Lewis line-fishing boat) and the Broad Bay (a 1912 Orkney-built yole) are both traditional wooden fishing vessels which plied the coastlines and inshore waters round the fishing grounds of the islands. True to the flavour of the way of life and the crafts of the former fishing community of Lybster itself, Ian will show how both boats are being made seaworthy again.

When the boats are completed, they will be used as part of a programme of arts events based around the Sail Loft project. For instance, both the Jubilee and Broad Bay
will be launched at the Hebridean Celtic Festival in July to a pipe tune inspired by the Jubilee itself. Both boats will then be used to deliver a sail-training initiative.

Apart from Ian Stephen, Scotia Review has asked local poets George Gunn, Tom Bryan, John McLeod and Donald Mackay to check their tomes for poems with a marine or fishing theme.

Tom, will also team up with local artist Pete Hodgson to form Wolfwind, and the duo will play some original songs they've written together.

Joining them will be Thurso-based musicians from Clapshot, Peter Nicol and Paul ? , along with Peter's son, Chris. Local Lybster musicians will be adding to the verbal and musical feast.

Lybster Harbour Society and Lybster Heritage Trust have organised the day of events, which will also include showings of the film of Neil Gunn's most enduring novel, Silver Darlings - parts of which were filmed at Lybster harbour. There will be demonstrations of traditional fishing crafts, spinning, creel-making; Caithness Rangers' Service will have a display about Caithness Creatures & Crustaceans; there will also be children's activities, a crab stall and a barbecue amongst other things.

All-in-all, a day for the whole family, where there will be something for everyone at some time between the start-time of 11 a.m. and the notional close of proceedings in the early evening, says Scotia Review editor, Christine Russell.

We're grateful to the Live Literature Scotland Scheme operated by Scottish Booktrust for helping us make possible the visit from Ian Stephen. The day promises to be especially exciting for anyone with local nautical interests or experience. Ian can spin a mean yarn. Though he's hardly yet the 'Ancient Mariner', his tales should have everyone pinned to their seats, and we hope they'll go home with a whiff of seaweed and brine about them.


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