Lower Deeside’s very own ‘Glastonbury’ festival took place last weekend - but without the mud!
The event was of course the unique and hugely popular summer Traditional Singing Weekend at Cullerlie Farm Park.
Held in the glorious sunshine Aberdeenshire experienced on July 25-27, even the stormy downpours of later Saturday evening did not turn the tents and caravan parking site into a quagmire, thanks to the excellent care which Cullerlie Farm’s owners, Tracey and Eric Walker, take of their parks.
Tracey and Eric are the daughter and son-in-law of Anne and Tom Reid, Tom being the legendary Bothy Ballad King in whose memory, along with that of his singer wife Anne, lives on through the Traditional Singing Weekend.
Cullerlie Farm Park and Heritage Centre was set up by Tom and Anne in 1993 and is now run by Tracey and Eric along with other members of the family. The singing weekend was started in 2000 in co-operation with Aberdeen University’s Elphinstone and has only been cancelled once, in 2006 after the death of Anne. Her husband had died earlier, in January 2003, and it was their family’s express wish after they lost Anne as well that the singing festival should continue to run in their memory.
Anne was affectionately known locally as a Culter Paper Mills “paper angel” till her marriage to Tom in 1975, moving then to Cullerlie Farm.
Tom himself had moved there with his parents in 1935, working with his father to keep the farming traditions alive by eventually turning the original steading into a farm museum, which is believed to have one of the largest privately-owned collections of farming and domestic memorabilia in Scotland.
It has been through the superb singing of the Reid family (including grandaughter Sarah Walker, also an award-winning singer) that not only their own music has been kept alive but also, through guests at the festival, the songs of Scotland, England and Ireland as well.
The festival also hosts workshops in hand weaving, lacemaking, quilting and more. From the Friday night welcoming ‘Come-All-Ye’ singing, to Sunday’s farewell concert, this weekend was a true feast of song, laughter and friendship.
Professor Ian Russell said: “We have had tremendous support from everyone involved, including the excellent guests and craftworkers. What a wonderful way to commemorate Tom and Anne’s memory.”