Saturday, 5 September 2009

Auchmithie day

Auchmithie is a small coastal village perched high on a cliff, just a few miles north of Arbroath in North East Scotland. When we first moved to Scotland in 2002 we lived there for two years (right on the cliff - pretty amazing after years in landlocked West Yorkshire, England). We still have friends in Auchmithie and go back to visit often (it's not that far away). It really is a beautiful place - quite special.

Every September the village organises a wee festival called the HAAR (Heritage Arts Auchmithie Residents - 'not to be mist') which consists of all sorts of activities. There are historical reenactments of life in Auchmithie when it was a working fishing village, races for children carrying dummies of fishermen (to recall the days when women would carry the men out to their boats - to keep their feet dry), exhibitions by local artists and lots of opportunities to eat fish and/or tea and scones.

We spent much of today in Auchmithie helping artist friends to man their in-the-home exhibition, selling books and postcards and also just enjoying the day out. Here are a few very on-the-hop amateur shots of some of the happenings. It's a small but very friendly festival and comes highly recommended.




Mrs Annie Gilruth, a formidable former resident of the village, played with gusto by current local Ann Craig.





More reenactment (with seaview).





An important part of the very popular fisher wedding - the washing of the bride-to-be's feet!





The wedding procession sets off towards the village church. In the old days they would have had to walk a lot further - all the way to St Vigean's Church several miles away.





Outside the village church - the end of today's festivities (but then they're all back on Sunday for a church service, a more challenging race down on the beach for older residents and a family barbecue).

x

27 comments:

Dick said...

'Not to be mist' - yuk-yuk! What a delightful occasion and place.

Rachel Fenton said...

Priceless, the part about the women carrying the men to keep their feet dry! Why not just drag them by their feet then? :)

Rachel Fox said...

We still lived there the year that the first HAAR was being planned and I was on the committee. I can't believe I never thought of 'not to be mist' (it's a later addition). I'm quite envious. I suppose I should add for some visitors that 'haar' is Scots for mist/fog and is particularly used for the sea mist here on the east coast (which can be very impressive/a right pain in the backside sometimes).

As for the carrying...there are other East Coast villages that have this women carrying men detail as part of their folklore (I heard just another such story on 'Coast' the other day). The idea being that there was no proper harbour and that the men would be away at sea for some time (though how long they would stay dry once on the boat is another matter!). Judging by some of the old pictures they weren't very big men...and the fisher women were hard as nails, strong as oxen and...tough as old boots!

x

Crafty Green Poet said...

Sounds a very entertaining way to keep in otuch with local tradition and history

Rachel Fox said...

Absolutely CGP and a very good way to get the village doing something together (alright not everyone joins in but a very good number do). Young and old...something for everyone.
x

deemikay said...

ou show me a photograph from the same angle as the second one in the post? It looks familiar!

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, D. Because we lived up on that cliff that was more or less the view from our kitchen (and sitting room)...though you could only see the view from a standing position in both (best seen whilst washing up in kitchen). We have lots of photos of that view...in all weathers, all seasons. Maybe I'll dig some others out for another post.

I really missed (mist?) the view when we first moved here. We do still have a seaview (just - from upstairs...a couple of miles in the distance) but it's not quite the same! Still, here we have a school, a village shop, a pub, half-hourly buses to town and Auchmithie has none of these now (the bus service there exists but is fairly minimal). We miss some things about it...but not everything.

x

deemikay said...

You have a sea view? I never knew...

[Damn, this rhyming's getting bad. :os It was accidental... ]

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe you didn't go upstairs. It's not a particularly romantic view(warehouses between us and the sea) but it is there. We can see the basin too.

At the moment though I should mention that the rowan tree in our front garden is as beautiful as any sea view.
x

deemikay said...

Ahhh... I love rowan trees. But the one in my garden died last year. :( Killed by a poplar and a rogue bunch of crocosmia.

I used to have a nice view of the countryside where the sunset would pour in. But then a housing association decided that my view was too pretty and built houses in the way. Grrr...

I was upstairs for a few tiny minutes - I was looking at a rainbow. :)

Rachel Fox said...

I just remembered that of course there is also an Auchmithie view on my 'Auchmithie Road' postcard. It has a rainbow too.
x

Dave King said...

I'm with Rachel (Fenton), great idea, the women carrying the men!

Titus said...

Oooh, it all looks so familiar.
Brilliant post, brilliant day, brilliant name. And great photos!
Why are they all holding the blue string?

Rachel Fox said...

Dave - I think I'd need to do some serious training before I could carry anybody!

Titus - it's a ribbon and apparently the tradition was for all the family to walk with it like that in the procession (at the front, I think). We couldn't hear all the details as they described it yesterday but I think that's what they said.
x

hope said...

And I was just about to ask about your postcard when you beat me to it! :)

Sounds like a fun time...now I have to go look up a picture of a Rowan Tree as I have absolutely no idea what it looks like.

Keep having fun! [And keeping us posted..no pun intended].

Kim Ayres said...

I see the woman in the background of a couple of the photos there, reenacting the 1980s with that blue cagoule...

hope said...

Ah ha! So THAT's what that tree is called. I've always loved the shape of it and had no idea. Thank you!

Rachel Fox said...

Maybe I should post a photo of the tree too, Hope. Rowan, also sometimes called mountain ash. Very impressive with full red berry load.

And yes, Kim, all decades are represented at all times in an out of the way area like this! There are cafes still serving full 1970s menus (very yummy it is too...).

x

x

Red Bird said...

Sounds like a lot of fun- and looks it too! They should have had a contest to see which woman could carry their husband the longest! That would have been worth a few pictures! I think the Native Alaskans do something like this in their Olympics, except it's called a 4-man carry- one guy carries four guys and whoever goes the longest wins! :)
I think more and more places should do things like this. It's so nice that you live din such a wonderufl place like this, too.
:)

Rachel Fox said...

I'd never heard of 4 man carry, RB, but I went and found some video of it online. That looks hard work!
x

Eryl Shields said...

I love that area of the east coast with all its little fishing villages and wild weather. This looks like a great day.

Rachel Fox said...

Yes, you can get days when it looks like the Mediterranean...and then some days when it looks like the edge of the world!
x

Deborah Godin said...

A delightful window into other people's custom etc. Just charming!

The Solitary Walker said...

Saw a programme on the telly the other night about some other tough-as-old-boots, northern, coastal women - the women fisherfolk of Cullercoats, who pulled a lifeboat several miles with their bare hands. They were celebrated by the great American artist Winslow Homer in his paintings.

Rachel Fox said...

Thanks Deborah. And you are an expert at views!

And SW...I watched that - it was on 'Coast' wasn't it? Didn't they decide at the end that the artist had kind of made up that part of the story and that really there were some heavy horses involved in that rescue attempt too? I think in some ways it was a tribute to the tough women of the area but not necessarily all about that particular event.

x

Rachel Fox said...

Should say that the artist behind that particular painting of the women pulling the boat was John Charlton ('The Women' 1904). It was featured quite heavily in the programme.
x

The Solitary Walker said...

Yes, I think horses were involved - but I prefer to believe that painting, that it was just the women!