Village festival celebrates Beatle John Lennon's childhood holiday links
By Iain Grant
A SUTHERLAND village celebrated its link with John Lennon with a festival at the weekend.
Canadian singer Allison Crowe headlined the bill in the follow-up to last year's festival held to commemorate the Beatle's connection with Durness.
Servicemen involved in a major Nato exercise off north-west Scotland were among those who attended the concert on Saturday night in the village hall.
Crowe, who was at last year's festival, starred at the International Beatles Week concert in Liverpool in August.
One of the songs she performed was In My Life, which was partly inspired by the regular childhood holidays spent in Durness by Lennon.
The Newfoundland-based singer was supported by fellow Canadian vocalist and classical guitarist Billie Woods.
Earlier, Lewis-based Celtic rockers Face the West performed two well-attended sets at the Sango Sands Oasis.
The event also included a poetry evening at Loch Croispol Bookshop and a guided tour by local head teacher Graham Bruce on local folklore.
More than £600 was raised at Saturday's concert and it will go towards the garden planted in Lennon's memory at the front of the hall.
The garden is the only official Lennon memorial in Scotland.
Organiser Mike Merritt said yesterday he was delighted at the response to the weekend programme.
He said: "We put this together pretty quickly but it turned out to be a fantastic weekend with people coming from as far away as Glasgow."
"We also had quite a few off-duty servicemen and it was hilarious to see a bunch of American marines trying to do a strip the willow at one of the Face the West concerts."
He added: "We thought it was important to stage something this year to keep John's flame burning in this part of the world."
A major festival is being planned in Durness in 2010 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Lennon's birth.