View across the Outer Harbour of Stornoway

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Saturday 17 July

Another rather autumnal day, weatherwise, with temperatures only at 13C / 55F, and frequent spells of rain or drizzle. The main event of the day was a concert by folk-rock band Runrig, which was the star attraction for the Hebridean Celtic Festival. There appear to have been 5,000 people in the big blue tent (this picture from 2007)

What was not very well organised was the provision of refreshments. Runrig last played in Stornoway in 2005, and at the time, the concert lasted until 1 am. Bearing that in mind, I purchased a token for a beverage  in advance, and joined the queue upon arriving at the tent. It took 90 minutes for me to reach the bar. I am kicking myself for the stupidity of waiting, because I missed half the concert as a result. However, it should not take all that time to serve drinks at a concert like this, and it was poorly organised. The band Runrig played only for two hours, running off an easy run of old ditties, and only three Gaelic songs (Stornoway is the centre of Gaelic culture). It left me very disappointed and disgruntled.

What has not affected me directly, but is another major gripe, is the lack of accommodation. The whole of the HCF, which ran from Wednesday until last night, has probably attracted 20,000 people. The problem of beds becomes apparent if I tell you that the total population of Greater Stornoway is 7,500, and that of the whole island of Lewis 20,000. A lot of people ended up camping, but, as my blogposts have intimated, the weather has been singularly inclement this week. Camping isn't really enjoyable - and in addition, the terrain around the big tent was quite muddy. One acquaintance of mine was injured in a fall, resulting from the bogginess.

I'm beginning to reach the conclusion that it is fantastic to have an event like HCF here in Lewis, but the number of people it attracts is too big for this island and this town to cope with.


  1. Well does sound as though it is too much for Stornoway.
    How on earth do the ferries transport so many folks? They must all arrive staggered over a week or so methinks?
    What a shame you didn't enjoy it as much as the last time. You should have taken a 'carry out' with you.
    Hindight is a good lol

  2. Jeanie, I'm sorry I gave the impression I was there to pour beers down my neck rather than hear the gig.

  3. So sorry that you missed a lot of the gig. Mary loves Runrig and saw them at Edinburgh Castle good few years she has been down here next to me for 14 it was well before that..It does seem a little but much for Stornaway to have to accommadate all the extra Jeanie says the feries must make a fortune out of it !!
    hope that today is better for you it is dry dull and warm here. Just about to go off to the hospital again..I am doing the evening visit tonight and pick my sister up just after 5..
    Love Sybil x

  4. I'm so sorry that it wasn't as enjoyable for you as it should have been! I am not familiar with Runrig. I'll have to check them out.