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No bass vibrations to rattle your ribcage; not a stage in sight – and barely a piece of litter worthy of the name.
So just what kind of festival was Scapa?
The latest addition to Argyll’s burgeoning festival scene was held over three days from May 4 at Ardkinglas House, Cairndow. And surely there is no other event like it – certainly not in Scotland at any rate.
The festival website describes Scapa Fest’s ‘core mission’ as: ‘To create a community around yoga, movement, adventure and mindful living.’
It is difficult to describe in layman’s terms, but suffice to say there was a kind of calm among the people thronging teepees clustered around Ardkinglas House.
Festival-goers, however, would find no ready-made entertainment. No standing in front of a stage here. You were the one making things happen.
There were no fewer than 153 workshops over the weekend – from yoga of all kinds, meditation and guided walks and hikes, to bushcraft, sea kayaking and foraging.
The festival’s founder is Clemence Cocquet, originally from the northern French coastal region of Picardy, but resident in Scotland for the past 14 years.
Petite, fiercely bright and with a passion for ‘Scapa life’, Clem explained the festival’s origins: ‘Four years ago I cycled 972 km on my own in Iceland. I pedalled for about 12 hours per day, and left no trace whatsoever. I simply ate what I needed and was completely tuned into myself. I really loved it and wanted to share this with others.’
A former NHS physiotherapist, Clem continued: ‘I decided to bring together mind, body and health with outdoor education and environmental action. When you combine the three, you create a shift in people. If you learn how to look after yourself properly, you are more likely to look after the environment.
‘Also we will leave no trace. After the first night of the festival here we picked up just three cups – and they were compostable.’
As we talk, the conversation is sporadically interrupted with the crackle of walkie-talkie chatter over where bin liners can be found, staff shift changes and and the toilet technicalities.
Another important part of the festival is locally sourced food and drink – and Food from Argyll alongside Fyne Ales are ready made for the job.
Virginia Sumsion of Food From Argyll said: ‘The event has been good. It’s something different for the area. People have been really appreciative of the food, and the fact that it is locally sourced.’
A big part of the festival is simply the backdrop. ‘I needed the mountains, the forest and the sea,’ said Clem, ‘but also a place that wasn’t too far away from airports, big cities and public transport.
‘I contacted the Ardkinglas owners David and Angela Sumsion and they have been very supportive. This is the place for it. It just feels right.’