Thursday, April 5 – Friday, April 6, 2007
I left today for Thurso, Scotland with Travis LeDoyt. He is playing the Northern Nashville Caithness Country Music Festival (Easter Festival). Thurso is located on the coast of Northern Scotland. To get there we took Delta from Nashville to Atlanta then British Airways from Atlanta to London then Flybe from London to Inverness, Scotand and then a 2 ½ hour drive from Inverness to Thurso. When we checked in at the Delta counter in Nashville they checked our luggage all the way through to Inverness which meant we would not have to pick it up and recheck in London. Flight was on time. Once we landed in Atlanta I went to the BA gate to see about getting some seats changed but the BA policy is not to reissue boarding passes once they have been printed so a few were stuck in middle seats for the 7 ½ hour flight to London. It was a packed plane. Also BA input our baggage claim numbers in the system again to make sure they went on to Inverness and not have to reclaim in London. Arrived London, passed through passport control and went to the Flybe counter to get our boarding passes. Another packed flight to Inverness. Arrived Inverness at noon and NO LUGGAGE. We filled out the claim forms and the Flybe agent said they are probably going to be on the next flight that arrives at 5pm. This is all our checked luggage plus musical equipment! We go ahead and leave with our driver and are told that if the luggage comes in on the next flight they will send it to our hotel.
We have a beautiful drive up the Scottish coast to Thurso. We pass over 3 Firths (Inlets) and I see signs for many Castles and desperately want to tell the driver to stop! Oh well, maybe next trip. The hotel we are staying at is the most “modern” in Northern Scotland. It actually burned down many years ago and was rebuilt. My room has a beautiful view of the North Sea and you can see the Orkney Islands off in the distance. We arrived at the hotel around 3:30 PM and bags arrived around 9:00 PM
Saturday, April 7, 2007
I had layed down around midnight last night but kept waking up. I think around 4 AM I finally fell into a deep sleep. Woke up around 11 and missed breakfast! Oh well. We do not have anything today until 5 when we do soundcheck so I had lunch with Curt (Travis’s drummer) and then walked down the street to a little market and bought some water. Walked around a little more and took some pictures. Still have not been able to get my computer to hook to the internet though. It is wireless but my connection is very week. Everyone here has been so friendly but they definitely have a very thick Scottish accent. It is about a 10 minute drive to the venue from the hotel. Soundcheck went fine, we had one little hiccup though, they did not have enough adaptors and transformers for our equipment. So I ran back to the hotel and grabbed mine and Travis’s adaptors and then back to the venue. The venue is an indoor horse arena and holds around 1500 people. Our driver said she had heard that it is sold out for tonights show. We went back to the hotel after soundcheck and had dinner. I had fish and chips again! Oh and some Hot Sticky Toffee pudding that was awesome. We left at 10:30 to go to the show. Travis does not go on until 11:30 PM. While we are backstage they tell us that if we want to we can go and visit the Castle of Mey (The Queen Mum’s Castle) which is about 20 miles down the road. The Castle does not open until May but they can “pull some strings”
Travis put on a great show and the crowd loved him. I sat out at the merchandise table and watched everyone get up and dance. We finally got back to the hotel around 2 AM.
Sunday, April 8, 2007 – HAPPY EASTER!
Woke up at 9 to go and have some breakfast and then Dave (Travis’ guitar player) went into town to church service. We went to The Church of Scotland, the original church was built in the 1500’s but the church that stands today was built in the 1800’s. It was a service much like the ones in the US. After church our driver picked us up at 2 to take us to the Castle and some sightseeing. It was only me, Dick and Curt that went. This area of Scotland is all along the coast of the North Sea and it is farm land. Tons of sheep and cows everywhere, we actually had to stop while sheep were heard across the road. The day has turned very chilly and rainy. The gentleman that got us into the Castle was personal servant of the Queen Mum when she was alive. He know runs the place. All of the guides that work at the Castle use to be work in the Queens household. We all thoroughly enjoyed the tour. We left the Castle and went to a town called John O’Groats, this town lays claim to be the Northern most point on mainland Scotland. The dock has little souviner shops and has signs that say First and Last House, meaning it is the furthest and last house on Scotland. We all bought a little souviners and then we drove over to the town of Wick. We passed a “links” golf course, which means it is a golf course that is carved into the slope of the land, so from the road you really couldn’t make out that it was a golf course. We also passed an old Castle that is private and a lot of celebrities pay hundreds and thousands of dollars to stay the night there. Our driver dropped us back off at the hotel around 6 PM. Had dinner, tonight I did the Roast Beef and applesauce and the Toffee Cheesecake. 🙂 I have to say the food in Scotland is much better than the food in England. However Scotland has the same attitude of the English in taking their time to come and wait on you. Most of us went back to our rooms to pack and catch a few hours of sleep before having to leave for the airport at 3 AM!
Monday, April 9, 2007
So, after 22 hours of traveling – 2 ½ hour drive from hotel to airport, a 2 hour flight from Inverness to London, 10 hour flight from London to Dallas, luggage not making it from London and a 2 hour flight from Dallas to Nashville – I’M HOME!
I had a great time, Everyone from Travis and his band to the promoters of the festival were great to work with. Just happy to be home now. 🙂