Clachan Smallholders’ 10th anniversary Wild West hoedown

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Words and photographs by Hannah O’Hanlon

Woodworkers and artists became guitarists and violinists to spur on a Wild West-themed Clachan celebration of local crafts, industry, culture and music flowing.

Through the day, last Saturday, Clachan Smallholders’ Gathering welcomed crafters from across Argyll to the village hall and playing field.

Fresh vegetables, art, bric-a-brac, soap and various crafts were on sale in the hall, with a variety of home-made soups available from the kitchen.

Outside, Wild West games were played as hardy visitors tested their strength on a bucking bronco fair ride and younger guests had their faces painted.

Arran woodcarver, Henry Murdo, brought some of his masterpieces as well as a work-in-progress, a rabbit on which people could try their hand at carving.

Mark MacSporran involved people of all ages in Samba drumming, using a variety of instruments to create a carnival rhythm.

At night, local performers, including Gaia Silvan who sold her art through the day and Terry Russell who demonstrated his woodworking skills, joined other local musicians on stage.

The headline act, Berkshire-based ska/reggae five-piece Dub The Earth, brought people to their feet straight away.

Even after the official event ended, revellers gathered round a campfire with guitars, strumming the night away until 4am.

Organisers Lori Silvan and Garreth Roberts thanked everyone for supporting the event, which first took place a decade ago.

‘This is the first year we have had funding, from West Kintyre Windfarm Trust, for which we’re really grateful,’ Lori said. ‘Before it has always been funded out of our own pockets.’

Lori introduced Terry Russell and Elaine MacCallum, who met at the first smallholders’ gathering and are now engaged with a five-year-old son, Scott.

‘This is our first night out for ages,’ the couple said, ‘It’s mad trying to get a night out with a five-year-old!’

‘There are other couples here tonight who also met at previous events,’ Lorri added. ‘It’s a romantic place!’

Gaia Silvan sold her own artwork. 50_c36smallholders01_gaia silvan

Alasdair Paisley operated a train built by Arthur Duff to add to the Wild West theme. 50_c36smallholders02_alasdair paisley

Karen Henderson, of Kilmartin-based Handmade on the Hill, sold handmade soaps. 50_c36smallholders03_karen henderson

Christmas came early to Jane Bruce from Ardrishaig’s Aunty Jane’s Crafts stall. 50_c36smallholders04_jane bruce

Margo McLellan travelled overseas to bring Isle of Arran honey to the event. 50_c36smallholders05_margo mclellan

Margo’s partner, woodcarver Henry Murdo, displayed some impressive pieces. 50_c36smallholders06_henry murdo

Henry brought a work in progress so others could attempt the skill of woodcarving. 50_c36smallholders07_henry murdo

Morvern Paisley and Francesca Grant paint Charlotte and Anna Hales’ faces. 50_c36smallholders08_face painting

12-year-old Raphael MacLachlan takes on the bucking bronco. 50_c36smallholders09_raphael maclachlan

Lachlan Gray, four, and Lewis Gray, six, play some Wild West games. 50_c36smallholders10_lachan lewis gray

Clachan’s John MacCallum played the harmonica. 50_c36smallholders12_john maccallum

Woodworker Terry Russell performed on stage. 50_c36smallholders13_terry russell

Organisers Garreth Roberts and Lori Silvan. 50_c36smallholders14_garreth and lori

Elaine MacCallum and Terry Russell met at the first ever Clachan Smallholders’ Gathering. 50_c36smallholders15_terry and elaine

Uta Korner and Gaia Silvan perform a duet. 50_c36smallholders16_uta and gaia

Headline act, Dub The Earth, got people dancing. 50_c36smallholders17_dub the earth