Ben Resipole Hill Race 2016
For those of us who live here we know that one of the only ways of getting to the Ardnamurchan peninsula is by the ferry crossing at Corran. It may be a two and a half hour drive from Glasgow but it’s a journey that takes you to Resipole, a remote and mystical place overlooking Loch Sunart. Over one weekend in September the rhythm of this quiet setting shifted as two seemingly incongruous events took place. Resipole Farm Holiday Park hosted its first Fiddle Fest in conjunction with the inaugural Beinn Resipol Hill Race. It was a weekend to remember!
Thirty fiddlers participated in an intense and exciting programme which had been organised by Karin Schuler, Rory Sinclair and Colin MacLeod. Karin and Colin had a dual role also working as tutors within the lessons. They were helped out by well-known local fiddle player Sarah-Jayne Jamieson and Matthew Robertson, visiting from Australia as well as renowned musician and tutor Charlie McKerron of Capercaillie fame. Fiddlers came from all around Scotland and one or two had travelled from further afield. The Fiddle Fest offered four lessons each day followed by lively music sessions in the evening after dinner. It was an amazing opportunity for folk to be immersed in their music in the wonderful setting of Resipole. A Saturday morning session was organised for local children and there was even fiddle music to be heard down on the shore as the youngest musicians searched for the fiddle monster! The Fiddle Fest experience culminated in a wonderful performance by all the musicians at the closing concert held in Resipole Gallery. This was a highlight for friends and family of all the participants.
The Beinn Resipol Hill Race was held on the Saturday in settled conditions. The race was organised by David Houston and Daniel Bradford, both members of Shettleston Harriers, based in Glasgow but connected to the area through David's parents who retired to Resipole. In true West Highland fashion fiddle music was played for the runners while they were limbering up for the race then Rosie Gillespie set the runners off with a French hunting horn! There were 55 brave men and women who ran the gauntlet up and down the boggy and technical mountain. A very good turnout was noted from local club Lochaber AC and from Shettleston Harriers Hill Running Team, who won both the men's and women's race. First male was Tom Owens in a time of 1:10:57 which will be tough to beat in the coming years. First female was Shona Robertson in another amazing time of 1:21:23. The race prize giving followed at 4 pm when all the runners were safely off the hill and back in the marquee. Almost £400 was raised by the Beinn Resipol Hill Race and was presented to local mental health and wellbeing charity Ewen's Room. Rosie and Malcolm Gillespie of Ewen's Room donated the splendid race winner’s trophy – the Ewen’s Room Trophy – which will be engraved with the new winners each year and will be held by Resipole Holiday Park.
It is amazing how a few brainstorming sessions led to two very different events being held at Resipole over a fine late September weekend and it could not have been a success without the help and dedication of a number of people. We must make a special mention of Rory and Karin of Resipole Holiday Park who created the Fiddle Fest and worked really hard to engage excellent tutors and to prepare the venue for both events. Thank you to the Fiddle Fest tutors Colin MacLeod, Sarah-Jayne Jamieson, Charlie McKerron, Matthew Robertson and Karin Schuler for their energy and inspirational teaching. A huge thank you also goes out to the individual participants who came to learn new skills and who engaged wholeheartedly in the sessions. Thank you to Jill Gosney from the Ardshealach who provided delicious lunches and dinners for the Fiddle Fest over the four days and to Joke, Rory and Sue who dedicated their time to catering support at the venue. Thanks also to Andrew Sinclair for the use of Resipole Studios and Gallery as a venue for the Fiddle Fest and for all his advice and support with promotion and advertising for both events.
The hill race would not have been possible without the agreement and support from Peter and Joke and Fiona Sinclair. A special mention for Peter for the use of the Argo which was vital for marking the course and for getting the summit marshals into position before the race! Big thanks to Andrew MacLean from The Loch Shiel Hotel for donating the marquee which acted as race HQ. Thanks also to Caroline at The Bakery in Acharacle for providing freshly baked rolls on race day. A special thanks to the Ardnamurchan Distillery for donating bottles of whisky as prizes for the race and for hosting a very well received tasting session for Fiddle Fest folk and runners on the Saturday afternoon and evening.
Thanks to Chris Houston of Big Stuff Productions for filming the race and Fiddle Fest and to Gordon ? for some amazing drone footage of the runners. Watch out for the film which we’ll post on local Facebook community pages soon!
Finally a heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers who got involved and made the race such a special event - you know who you are! A special mention goes to the race HQ team who were involved in registration, car parking and race timing, the marshals on the hill who not only encouraged and supported the runners but also ensured their safety, and Annie Clark the first aider based in the marquee.
The organisers of both events are really looking forward to next year! The Hill Race will take place on Saturday the 16th of September 2017 and will be run in conjunction with the Fiddle Fest once again. There are plans to hold a fun run to involve families and the local community.
We look forward to seeing you all next year.