Tag Archive | Loon

‘The Brigadoons’ ‘Live @ Loon’ 2018 Music CD.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE.







My friend, Canadian music maestro Paddy Kelly of the famed “The Brigadoons” — my all time favorite Celtic group — sent me this CD in the mail today.

Wow. I was so excited and grateful.

I have, alas, only heard the “The Brigadoons” @ Loon — albeit 50 to 60 times over a 20-year period.

So ‘@ Loon’ is what I associate with “The Brigadoons”. I have heard them play multiple times at the “Governor’s Lodge“. I might have even been in the audience when this was recorded. Wow.

I just listened to a bit of it. Brilliant. Authentic sound. You can definitely get in the groove.

You will enjoy this.

I will forever think of this as THEIR ‘White CD’. The Beatles had a white album, this is their white CD — as meaningful.

Thank YOU, Paddy. You remain THE MAN. The MAESTRO.


paddyweb


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by Anura Guruge


Gordon Webster, Once The Queen’s Piper, Of Late Of Concord (NH), Passed Away On March 29, 2018.

by Anura Guruge


Click to ENLARGE. From my 1999 ‘NH Highland Games’ program. I got to know him around this time.


Crop of HIS Facebook picture.


The Facebook message.



I happened, by chance, to hear the sad news on WMUR (Channel 9) news this morning. It was quite a shock. I had no idea that he had been that sick — or for that long. Though we were at best but nodding acquaintances I would have gone and seen him. He was quite the man.

I first met him at the ‘NH Highland Games‘, in Loon, probably around 1999 (given that he emigrated to NH in 1998). I would invariably say ‘hello’ and a few words. A few years later he started playing — or bringing some of his students — to the LaconiaMulticultural Day‘, which I attended, assiduously. I would chat to him there. The Laconia event was less hectic in those days. I, like now, was very homesick and wanted, desperately, to go back. He would tell me that I was crazy and that life was better in the U.S.!

I remember the role he — and for that matter, Denis Carr, of ‘The Brigadoons’ — played at the obviously memorable 2011 Highland Games, which took place on the weekend of 9/11. It was a very ‘charged’ game. I wrote this, in a post here, in 2012. You should read it. It talks about the 2001 Games as well as Gordon playing for the Queen in a sinking rowing boat!

Click to ENLARGE and read here. The link to the original post is in the text above.


I also wrote about Gordon here — when I did a post about his son’s bagpipes getting confiscated by U.S. customs because of the ivory parts on the 1936 bagpipes.

Click to ENLARGE and read here. The link to the original post is in the text above.


Great shame. A great loss.

I read some of his Facebook timeline. Wow. It had not been fun for him over the last couple of years.

I could not, for the world of me, find out how old Gordon was. Doing some extrapolations from comments associated with posted pictures I have a sinking feeling that he is much younger than I — which makes him quite young.

Gordon Webster, R.I.P.


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by Anura Guruge

360 lbs Strongman, Ex-NYPD, Gerard Benderoth, Who Shot Himself Yesterday — Was A Loon, ‘Highland Games’ Participant.

by Anura Guruge


Click here to read the March 8, 2017, story from the (incomparable) U.K. “Daily Mail
— my primary source of U.S. news.

Click these two snippets to ENLARGE and read here.


He has participated in the Loon, New Hampshire,
Highland Games.

This picture, which appears in the ‘Daily Mail’ article
clearly shows the Loon logo (highlighted)
and the unmistakably Loon ski lift (highlighted)

Click to ENLARGE and view here. From the above cited ‘Daily Mail’ article.


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by Anura Guruge

Skiing Today At “Gunstock Mountain Resort”, Gilford, N.H. — Some Of The Trails Quite Mushy.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.







The kids wanted to go skiing at Gunstock, on Sunday, January 29, 2017. Devanee wanted to meet up and ski with some friends, and Teischan, having just finished her 4-weeks ski-program at school, was eager to get more milage on the snow. Since Teischan (at 10) is too young to venture beyond the bunny slope on her own I agreed to go skiing.

This was a tad too early in the year for I. In my dotage I really have become a warm-weather skier. Days of skiing in -20°F (-28°C), in ‘Waterville Valley’ (N.H.), are long gone and but a shuddering memory. [That was c. 1995 — over two decades ago.]

I lucked out. The morning, till exactly noon, was spectacular in terms of weather. Blue skies, sun beating down and quite warm (probably because I was wearing 3-layers (for a change)). It wasn’t that busy either. Sure there was plenty of people but the lift lines were never more than a FEW minutes long — less than 4 minutes ( I would venture).

So, it was good.

Gunstock is UNPARALLELED for its spectacular views across Lake Winnipesaukee. Beautiful place to ski.

That said Gunstock has never been my #1 place to ski in New Hampshire. I am an out-and-out Loon man. Loon is my mountain and has been for 31 years.

I remembered today, my very first visit to to Gunstock in 1987. We were on the way to Loon, on I-93, when just prior to the Gilford exit we heard a very compelling radio ad. for Gunstock. So, we decided to pull off at Gilford and give Gunstock a try. Drove up, pulled in the parking lot, got out … and took one look up. I then immediately got back, said “it is way too small” and set off to Loon!

Then I came to live in Gilford, 1998 to 2007. I could see the slopes of Gunstock from my bed! So, I started skiing Gunstock — on occasion.

The kids like Gunstock. Their school ski program is at Gunstock.

So, why we ended up in Gunstock today. Plus, through the school program we get discount tickets. That was GOOD. If I had paid full price I would not have been happy.

Yes, we have had above freezing temps for the last few days. BUT, that is no excuse for the MUSHY trails — especially the blue ones. Given Teischan is still new to the sport we have to ski Blue. I was not impressed. Neither was Devanee.

But a good ‘day’ of skiing — Teischan and I calling it quits at 2pm (given we only took a 15 minute lunch break).

I know that the trails at Loon would have been better groomed. Real piste. Not the mush we encountered at Gunstock. 


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by Anura Guruge


Albannach’s Star Piper, Donnie ‘Bullfrog’ MacNeil Gets His Own Personal Dressing Room At NH Highland Games In Loon.

by Anura Guruge


donnie

Click to ENLARGE to get a better view of Donnie’s star-plate on the door.


Picture supplied online, on Facebook, by a member of ANOTHER band playing in Loon — who obviously was quite put out that he, much senior (in terms of age), does not get his own private dressing room. I won’t say who he is to save him the blushes.


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by Anura Guruge

I Think I Am, After 17-Years, Done (Finis) With The New Hampshire “Highland Games” At Loon.

by Anura Guruge


nhscotbored


Since I discovered it in 1998, serendipitously by happening to drive past, the New Hampshire “Highland Games” was a much anticipated highlight of my year. For a number of years I used to go for the entire weekend, borrowing a condo from a friend. I marked my year in terms of the “Highland Games” — before the “Games” and after the “Games”.

Between 1998 & 2015 I only missed two “Games” — both because of high dudgeon. One was the second year when it was in Hopkinton and I just could not stomach going there rather than to Loon. The other time was more recent, viz. 2013. I had had enough. It had just become sheer exploitation of the punters — i.e., folks like us.

And I am boycotting them again, expect I don’t think I will ever be going back! Enough is enough. Yes, we had a GRAND TIME last year. One of the best. But when I look at the schedule it is deja vu all over again with one new band, i.e., “Skerryvore“, thrown in. I could have even overlooked that IF not for the conspicuous shortage of Pipe Bands, especially the lack of bands from the Mother Country. In the late 1990s and early 2000s they always paid to have a decent band from the U.K. fly over. No more. And it isn’t as if they have reduced the prices.

This is exploitation. It is banking on us loyal ‘Scots’ truding up there and ‘paying the piper’, irrespective, even if they just keep on watering down the show. I had it. I, as ever, studied the schedule. Found but explicit references to two pipe bands: “Hampshire Pipes & Drums” and “Kiltie Pipe Band“. Two fine bands and there will, of course, be five or six from around New England and possibly even as far as Pennsylvania. But I don’t even see a Canadian band on the schedule and they have some fine bands up there.

So I am DONE. Through. Kaput. Finis.


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by Anura Guruge

“Skerryvore” (From Scotland) The Headlining Performers At Loon’s 2016 “Highland Games”.

by Anura Guruge


The 2016 Scottish Highland Games
in Loon, New Hampshire

will be on Friday – Sunday,
September 16 – 18, 2016.


highlandgames2016skerryvore111

Yes, ALL the evergreens, viz. The Brigadoons, John Carmichael, Charlie Zahn and Albannach are back ALONG with the Glengarry Bhoys (from 2014 & before) and the Searsons. Click to access the official “NHScot” Website.


highlandgames2016skerryvore222

Click to access the “Skerryvore” official Website — with samples of their music.


The name “Skerryvore” comes from the name of a reef OFF the Scottish west coast island, Tiree, from which the original band hailed (in 2005).

Not as strident as Scottish groups of the past … but this could be the mellower sound. Easy on the ears. Looking forward to checking them out.


Here are 2 recent YouTubes of Skerryvore.



Tiree

Tiree is highlighted in yellow. Skerryvore Reef is to the southwest of the island.


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by Anura Guruge

“Lost River Gorge & Boulder Caves”, New Hampshire — Quite The Attraction, Quite The Adventure.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

All taken with my Fuji X-E2s.

Attribution WILL be enforced.







Wow. Wow. Wow. What a great place. Quite the adventure. Has to be New Hampshire’s most underrated tourist attraction (and that coming from a ‘Lifetime Member’ “Granite State Ambassador“). I, of course, must have seen signs to it given that it is “off Loon” — and we go to Loon (i.e., Lincoln) at least once a year (four times so far this year). It never registered as something real fun to do. I actually found it while checking out, online, the “Flume Gorge” — as a potential place to take Teischan (last Tuesday) while Deanna and Devanee went ‘back to school‘ shopping. The word that caught my interest was ‘CAVES’. Teischan just loves the “Polar Caves” — for nothing else but the caves. Since this was for Teischan I decided I will give “Lost River” a spin. And am I glad I did so.

Very impressed. Loved it. Has it all. Scenery, waterfalls, caves (with running water inside), bridges, hummingbirds, foliage, real oil lamps (and it is lovely to smell the oil inside the caves) flowers …

Reminded me of Acadia. Reminded Teischan of Yosemite (and to be fair it has quite a few similarities to the adjoining “Kings Canyon National Park” that we did visit during our trip to Yosemite in April). Very sylvan.

Different to “Polar Caves“. The main difference being that “Polar Caves”, in the main”, is a cliffside adventure while “Lost River” is all inside an immersive gorge — with the sight and sound of rushing water never far away. The caves are very different too. “Lost River” caves are deeper, HARDER TO NAVIGATE and has some lovely water features inside them. Teischan loved them — especially the fairly large waterfall.

You DEFINITELY have to crawl on your hands and KNEES, belly to the ground! My pants were filthy. Makes “Polar Caves” feel like a walk in a very open park. I couldn’t get past the ‘Go-NO Go’ Lemon Squeezer Gauge — though I didn’t try too hard to make it (given that at nearly 63 years of age I know my limitations). After that I gave the last 3 caves a miss. I had done enough crawling for the day.

Teischan loved it. Claims it is her new favorite.

This does NOT mean that you should not bother with “Polar Caves”. BUT, if due to time or budget you can ONLY do one then it should be “Lost River”. SMILE.



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by Anura Guruge


“Clark’s Trading Post”, New Hampshire — Cheer & Charm Persists.

by Anura Guruge


Click pictures to ENLARGE.

All taken with my Fuji X-E2s.

Attribution WILL be enforced.







I have been a huge and unequivocal fan of “Clark’s Trading Post“, Lincoln (i.e., ‘Loon‘), N.H. from the very first time I visited 15 or 16 years ago. I like everything about Clark’s. The bear shows are heartwarming in that the Clarks treat the bears like we treat our dogs. They, as they do like to point out, are their family pets. And you can tell. The bears are so at home with the two (Murray and Maureen (these days)) Clarks. So while I cringe and close my eyes when “Ringling Brothers” insist on putting on Big Cat acts I have no qualms, whatsoever, about the bear acts. You can tell that the bears are pampered and loved and doing the show is part of their lives. So no issues with the bear show. On Tuesday, July 12th, when Teischan and I visited, we (as is not unusual), watched both bear shows.

The train ride is always fun. Yes, I know the routine and the spiel by heart (and knew the now retired Wolfman). But it is still fun and it is nice to see the reaction of kids.

The new 300′ feet Anaconda water ride (up a 40′ platform) is sure fast (20 to 40 seconds max., top to bottom) but does give you pause since part of it is in PITCH darkness. It was fun though I am not sure I will do it again.

I did the Segway ride the first year it was open. We did it twice each on Tuesday since the lines were short. Though short, i.e., 3 minutes, it is enjoyable.

The Chinese Acrobatic and Contortionist Troupe, though different to the Chinese father and daughters act from a few years ago, is compelling though we have seen lot along these lines.

The water blaster boats do get you soaked — which was good since it was broiling hot.

In my opinion what is there NOT to like about Clark’s? Yes, it is very compact BUT they pack a lot in. But this is true of all the New Hampshire attractions of this genre, Befitting the State’s smallness they also all tend to be small. That said I will maintain that Clark’s is my favorite amusement-related attraction in New Hampshire — ahead of Storyland, Santa’s Village & Polar Caves.

Tuesday’s visit, and Teischan and I were there from 10:45 am to 5:15pm, was a success. I got to talk with Murray Clark, in depth, twice — once about his dad’s 1908 Ford Model T which he was restored and the other time about his kids. That was a bonus. I used to always chat with his dad. He was neat. He was missed.

I always recommend Clark’s unstintingly. Wonderful place for kids.


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by Anura Guruge

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