On Friday night, the Grassic Gibbon Centre chairman, Jim Brown, welcomed 80 guests to the ninth Mearns Connections Dinner.
Finlay Calder, the main speaker, travelled North but sadly had to return to his Borders home on receiving the tragic news of his brother’s sudden death.
However Peter Mitchell, former P and J sub editor and diarist and guest at the Dinner, kindly filled the void and entertained the audience with his wit, observations and reminiscences .
The Arbuthnott Hall rocked to the entertainment of Kirsten and John Tomlinson.
Centre Director and acclaimed photographer, Andy Hall, published an attractive booklet of a selection of the Stained Glass Windows of all the Mearns Churches and, on Saturday, Marion Robson hosted the Ballad Bus guiding some 30 guests on a Church Tour of St Andrews Episcopal Church at Fasque and the Parish Churches of Auchenblae, Fettercairn and Arbuthnott.
They were greatly informed by Church members Gaye Thornton Kemsley, Jenny Thomson, Helen Thomson and George Anderson and it was clear that the local Churches have a great deal to tell of our local history. It was agreed that the project be continued and, like the Castles in previous Festivals, more tours arranged. Musical entertainment was provided by the Meigle Buskers - Gordon Anderson on the accordion and Donald Clerk on guitar and vocals and Jim Brown appropriately recited his father’s amusing poem - The Fettercairn Flood.
The Connections Concert on Saturday was a huge success. The audience were treated to a memorable evening of fine singing, couthy humour, spontaneous banter, beautifully played musical sets and ample plates of stovies. Geordie Murison has just released a must buy CD of Bothy Ballads which can be bought at the Grassic Gibbon Centre for £10
On Sunday afternoon, Andy Hall presented the Mearns’ Launch of his latest book – “ABERDEENshire – A New Perspective “ and entertained his audience to an informal talk on the thinking , planning, photography and funding necessary for such a project.
The Centre Manager, Isabella Williamson and Staff welcomed and fed some 200 guests over the weekend .
The Mearns Connections Festival was founded in 2009 , the year of the Homecoming , and the Committee are already planning a special 10th Festival for 2018.