Would you like the choice of 67 different walks, picturesque scenery,
along with an arts festival? If so, Cowalfest 2004 is just the ticket
for you. Cowalfest, Cowal Walking and Arts Festival, kicks off on
Friday 8 October and finishes on Sunday 17 October 2004 in a very
attractive part of Argyll.
The programme for Cowalfest 2004 was launched with a reminder of the
Gaelic heritage of the area on 21 August at the Glenbanter Forestry
Commission Office.As sounds of the harp hung hauntingly in the air,
Princess Deirdre emerged from the waterside through long grass and
flowers, reciting a translated lay from the Glenmassan Manuscript.
Written in classical Gaelic, the manuscript dates from 1512 and relates
the story of Deirdre of the Sorrows, her lover Naisi and their
wanderings in Argyll - a story of sex, love, betrayal, power, honour and
revenge. Princess Deirdre was played by actress Sadie Dixon Spain
dressed in traditional Celtic costume in order to evoked the peninsula's
Gaelic heritage, as the Cowalfest 2004 programme was officially
unveiled. The Glenmassan Manuscript gave a taste of the forthcoming
festival which marries walking, wildlife, heritage, arts, music and
drama which runs throughout Cowal.
The Glenmassan Manuscript originated in Ireland around 1512 and was
known to be in Kintyre by the 17th century. One of only 70 pre-1700
Gaelic manuscripts in Scotland, it was in various hands in Cowal for 100
years before being brought to the attention of the Highland Society.
Although studied by Gaelic scholars in Cowal, it finally came to light
up a Forester's lum in Glenmassan. It is now in the care of the National
Library of Scotland.
"Few people realise that only 200 years ago Gaelic was the principal
language of Cowal" Russell Bruce, Chairman of the event organisers for
the Cowal Walking Festival Association told The Flag. "That was to
change when the wealthy merchants of Glasgow fell in love with the area
and set up home. Just as the Victorians were captivated by such a
special place, West Highland in character with breathtaking scenery yet
little more than an hour away from Glasgow, we hope to encourage more
people to discover its hidden treasures today. Tellingly Different is
our theme this year. Cowalfest 2004 is our golden opportunity to really
shout about the beauty and the heritage of the area. So we are combining
67 themed and guided walks with a rich and varied programme of concerts,
ceilidhs, exhibitions, displays, talks, workshops and much more. There
will be something for everyone whether day-trippers, short break or
longer autumn holiday visitors."
A biodiversity hot spot, Cowal has at its heart the vast Argyll Forest
park - Scotland's oldest and now part of the Loch Lomond and Trossachs
National Park - interspaced with mountains, sea and fresh lochs. The
series of graded walks take in a wide variety of low-level paths to more
strenuous routes for fit, experienced walkers. Visit
With the nights drawing in, and a nip in the air, the Cowal walkers
might enjoy a plateful of this week's recipe, Lentil Soup, at the end of
their days activity.
Ingredients : 6 oz lentils; 1 onion; ham bones or 1 ham stock cube; 2
carrots; 1 potato; salt to taste
Bring lentils and bones or cube to the boil, grate carrot, chop onion,
grate potato, add to pot and allow to simmer for 3/4 hour.