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Friday, 23 April 2010

Dawn of the Shred.

Last weekend Aviemore hosted the Vans Dawn of the Shred snowboard comp, a spectacular end to a season in which more snow fell in Aviemore than for the winter Olympics in Vancouver. In fact it's snowing again today and Inshriach is available for the first 2 weeks in May if anyone fancies a last minute shred of their own. Thanks to my neighbour Woody for the pic.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Firewood Festival

The Firewood festival deserves a little explaining.

The Insider proper and its line up starts on Friday but we are sharing some of the infrastructure with the National Park to organise a Festival of Firewood, woodworking and renewable energy. Its a free public day with talks, demonstrations, some yurts, good food and a few tunes. We will have schools in until 3 doing mask making, storytelling and friction firelighting so unless you are 12 or part of our crew we ask that you don't arrive until 4, after which those activities will continue but you can try your hand at pole lathing, woodworking and splitting and we will have some serious and some irreverent solutions to heating with wood, plus Ord Ban will be cooking on wood, Henry from the Woodland Orchestra will be conjuring up some rhythms and Bruce Luckhurst (who makes amazing stoves) is doing a fireshow. Its a good cause. And perhaps the electric car will offset my belching Land Rover a little.

If you hold an Insider ticket you are welcome to camp Thursday night but we are required to close the bar at 10pm in accordance with our license. You can stay up late on Friday.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Pretty in tents.

Last week was a rollercoaster for the yurt and a learning experience for myself. We had about 5 minutes of deceptively decent weather during which Helen Abraham got some lovely photos and they went into this article in the Guardian. It was a bit of a hurried mocking up for the photos and despite looking lovely the yurt was by no means finished, no door latches, not even put up very straight, and despite a late night (maybe Thursday) of bashing in fence posts and roping down the crown, it was not very cleverly pinned down.

Throughout the second and third day the snow came. By day four it was drifting 2 feet deep in the gateways and up the back of the yurt. Friday and Saturday the weather gave us a vital break (see below) but on Sunday the wind came whipping along the valley, squeezing the yurt out of shape and knocking off a door. Yesterday the wind picked up some more and when I went last night the whole structure had slipped its moorings and jumped back on its platform, scattering crockery and Victoriana and leaving me battling in the wind and encroaching darkness to dismantle the whole thing.

There was no damage to anything but its dignity but by the time it actually opens I'm going to tie it down using every single eyelet, stake and fencepost I can find...

While this was going on we also had a party on. Against the odds we put up a 60 foot marquee and on Saturday night it was fully lit and dressed and catered and floored and staged and contained 120 people (of which more later).

Despite the storms we not only got the yurt in the papers (good PR, even if this honest little write up probably negates some of that) but cleared enough snow to get the marquee up and despite one more major casualty (our catering tent ended up getting mangled) I think we got away with it.

I apologise for the pun but I know some people who will appreciate it.