Solem Quartet Blog No. 2

We’ve arrived at our final destination for the week! While rehearsing Ravel, we’re struck by the incredible views of the Firth of Clyde and enjoying watching the ferries go past. In fact, throughout this tour the views have been immense! Since our last update we’ve taken in Islay, Bute and today have arrived in Dunoon.

On Islay, we visited the Bruichladdich Distillery. As beginner-level whisky drinkers we all enjoyed learning about the distilling process, the history of the distillery, and (of course) tasting the finished product. The sampling included the most heavily peated whisky in the world, the Octomore. Verdict: delicious. A trip to any of the island’s famous distilleries is highly recommended! And if any anyone from Bruichladdich is reading this, we’d love a souvenir bottle…

We really enjoyed playing to a wonderfully warm audience at the Gaelic Centre on Islay, and loved our Valentine’s Day at the Lochside Pub with Stuart and Celia Todd! We stayed with Mrs McNeil at the Lambeth Guest House, where we enjoyed delicious food, extremely comfortable beds and watching the Winter Olympics Skeleton into the early hours of the morning.

From Islay to Bute was not the easiest of trips: on top of the driving we took three ferries, and encountered a flock of sheep and a pair of deer in the road. Just a normal journey in this part of the world! On Bute we played at the Rothesay Academy, and performed Bartok for the first time this week, to a very appreciative audience. Playing in a school can sometimes feel slightly alien as a concert environment, so we made some acoustic adjustments using school dining tables (see picture below)! Another entertaining trip to the pub followed, this time with Russell Philips and some delicious Bute beer.

We’re looking forward to what will be (sadly) our final concert of the tour tomorrow. We’ll be sorry to be leaving this incredible landscape and warm-hearted people behind!