Whilst I saw the two exhibition areas the main hall area had work going on for future events, but there was still plenty to see.
Of course the Gaelic College is much more than an exhibition, it's mainly an educational establishment. Included within its activities are short courses demonstrating the culture that was brought by the settlers.
Here is a group learning about the 'Gaelic Milling Frolic', singing as they work the material. However, this is what I have always known as a 'Waulking Song', perhaps the term is different in various parts of the Highlands of Scotland, as is often the case?
At the far end of the table, in red & black is Chief Executive Officer of the Gaelic College, Rodney MacDonald. When I did an interview with him he described himself as politician, CEO & fiddler, and you can see him talking about fiddle music below, and he's also a step dancer too !
Rodney MacDonald was Premier of Nova Scotia from 2006/9, but I think it's fair to say he doesn't take himself too seriously as you can see on this video online . He's a well known fiddler, he's playing on this link and a bit of Gaelic thrown in too ! As I mentioned I did do an audio interview with Rodney which I will get online later.
You may recall earlier I mentioned a Lochcarron connection? When I walked through the front door at the Gaelic College the reception area and gift shop are together. As everywhere in these parts they welcome you and when we got to being asked the actual village I was from and said "Lochcarron", this was when I got the immediate response "Lochcarron Weavers". I was immediately ushered to the side of the shop and there was Lochcarron Weavers tartan items for sale and their pattern books!
I asked if they had the Lochcarron tartan, but it wasn't even in their sample books. I had a tie in my vehicle to give to someone, so brought it in to show the staff. They had never seen it before, and asked if they could show their kiltmaker. Within a few minutes the receptionist returned and said the kiltmaker would like to meet me.
Master kilt-maker, Ann Cantwell, boasts over 20 years of experience making one-of- a-kind, hand sewn kilts. She has created kilts for Canadian dignitaries, films such as Disney's The Princess Diaries, and regularly ships fine tartan hand crafted products all over the world.
An assistant makes ties that are sold downstairs at the shop in their own packaging, which you can see above in the middle of the 3 pictures of the shop.
The visit to the Gaelic College lasted about 4 hours, a great experience, wonderful folks I met there too. Outside in the heat piper Ian was still playing, we had another chat. Turned out I knew of of his bagpipe tutors from Scotland that had visited the College. Because of the connections with the Gaelic College in Skye he played the Skye Boat song for me, which I recorded and will add to the site later.
It's now early afternoon and time to head towards the north tip of Cape Breton Island along the Cabot Trail ...