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Exorcising its past, the Skye Bridge Toll Office opened its doors to a big scale, free community Hallowe’en event on Friday, writes Anna-Roisin Ullman-Smith.
The Toll Office is now in public ownership and managed by Kyle of Lochalsh Community Trust (KLCT) which is working with community groups to bring events and workshops onto the Plock of Kyle.
The evening was the brainchild of the Charities Team made up of Plockton High School fifth and sixth year pupils. Supported by teachers Lorraine Dell and Andrew McGrath, the students worked hard to create an exciting night walk script and spine-chilling effects, giving up their lunchtimes and evenings to plan and rehearse.
The evening began at 5.30pm with Scary Tales for children in the event room, featuring wizard of words Chris O’Malley, of Red Rabbit Rises Publishing. Chris is well-known for his storytelling around the Highlands and is currently promoting local writers.
The event room had been redecorated as a story cave by the Charities Team, with ghosts, giant spiders, a cauldron of creepy crawlies and a glowing dragon skull.
Children, clutching their parents’ hands, were ushered into the gloom to find the gentle giant that is Chris, sat in a corner chair bathed in warm candle light.
Chris had crafted original spooky stories for the night for children and children at heart. When the audience left the story-room they found a couple of wandering and wafting witches had arrived outside.
The witches were being cared for by Caitlin and Keira Turnbull of Black Dog Puppet Company. The children enjoyed chasing the witches and refuelled
their energy in the Beastly Games Room where there was a table of Gruesome Grub, care of master baker Drew McGrath.
Chris O’Malley judged the ‘Hallowe’en Stories Competition’, run by Plockton High School Library with the Charities Team. The winner was Eden Maxwell. Chris and Lorraine Dell then gathered the audience arriving for the 7.30pm night walk.
The Charities Team, with Plock Project Officer Janet Ullman, had disappeared onto the Plock to assume their positions for maximum scare.
The walk was not for the faint-hearted. The Black Dog Puppet witches led the murmuring crowd up the dark driveway into the heart of the Plock.
The audience found a caped figure, the Plock Keeper, who welcomed them to the Plock, but before they could start, they were challenged by a tall dark
stranger, the Bodach Lamh Dheirg – the spirit of the ancient forest – who suddenly broke out of the night, brandishing a sword.
After promising to leave nothing but footprints, the walkers passed into the woods, led by the Plock Keeper. Out of the woods on all sides were faceless ghouls, ghosts and flickering Willo the Wisps.
Suddenly a Berserker Viking ran out and through the crowd, eliciting some pandemonium among the younger walkers. Further on, after a few people had been dragged screaming into the woods, the walk encountered Spring-Heeled-Jack, The Selkie Wife, the Ancient Crofter and the lost Fisherman held prisoner by the Blue Men of the Minch.
The finale was a challenge by the Bodach Lamh Dheirg and all the Faceless Ghouls, who demanded that nothing had been picked and no litter had been left, before the walkers were allowed to leave.
Cally Ullman-Smith and Eubha MacLean of the Charities Team said: ‘It has been a lot of fun working with everyone involved and we have had amazing support from our teachers.
‘Everyone has given up so much time to prepare this and we all enjoyed putting the script together. The walk went so well. We really scared people, but in a good way. I think people will feel the Plock is magical any time of the day after this.’
The event was funded by the Co-op Local Community Fund.
There were plenty of creepy characters present.
NO F45 Plockton shock night