WATCH: Graham Liney shares explains what Crannog Craic is all about
The sunlit shores of Loch Tay sparkled in the July heat. Despite being almost seven in the evening, children and families happily played in the water and lounged around Loch side, enjoying the last of the suns warm offerings.
The atmosphere in Kenmore is static from first arrival. The air is thick with happy memories made and a contagious welcoming atmosphere.
I was unsure of what the atmosphere would be like when we arrived at the Scottish Crannog Centre. Following the devastating fire they had suffered, I was expecting a somewhat subdued atmosphere.
We were here for Crannog Craic – a performance taking place every Thursday evening throughout the summer to raise funds for the future of the centre.
As I stepped into the Scottish Crannog Centre, it’s no exaggeration to say it felt like I was visiting family. A hum of laughter tempted us through the gift shop to find the staff of the Crannog Centre sitting Loch side, some chatting, some having a quick dinner before the evening’s entertainment kicked off. We were welcomed in immediately to what I can only describe as the Crannog Centre Family.
That tangible electric energy I felt when first arriving in Kenmore obviously surrounded the whole of Loch Tay because every nook and cranny of the Crannog Centre had the same magic.
Our tour around showed remnants of the Iron Age found in the Loch, a reproduction model of a laithe, an oven in which pottery is baked and a brush of colourful fabric hanging in the sunlight, dyed with natural material from plants in the way it would have been done when Crannogs covered the Loch and people called this ‘home’.
It was easy to imagine as it truly felt like ‘home’.
It would be unfair to ignore the missing piece of the family. The Crannog itself no longer stands following the fire, only burnt remains and the stalks the structure once stood on, now charred, indicated the sad story of what had happened.
Stories would be told tonight, but the overall story of the Scottish Crannog Centre was not at an end. Following the fire, staff member Rachel Backshall said this is not the end of our story, only a part and now, seeing the resilience, happiness and sense of friendship and family that existed there, I knew that to be true. The Crannog centre would go on.
If the atmosphere around me wasn’t enough to welcome me in, the performances that followed surely would.
Attendees were treated to musical performances, folk stories, and laughter.
There was no ego and no embarrassment, every guest happily joined in, singing along to songs familiar to us from childhood or humming along to songs that we might not be familiar with but that struck a chord inside and we somehow knew intrinsically.
Instead of tales of grief following the fire, the staff and apprentices spoke only of excitement and hope for the future, pointing across the Loch at the land they had reserved for the future of the centre. Acres on which they planned build a real future for not only guests but those that worked hard at the centre. They have an amibition of building a newer, larger community for the Crannog family to learn and grow – to thrive and meet the happy days of the future.
As the evening drew to a close and descended into a typical Scottish family night of a loud and rowdy ‘one last song’ as midges descended upon us, it was clear the sun was not setting on the Crannog Centre for good, like a phoenix, the facility and the team would rise from the ashes and create something new and even more spectacular and I cannot wait to come back and experience that when they do.