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Piper's performances from the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Morlich are global hit

By Tom Ramage

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Already a household name in Badenoch and Strathspey, Spud the Piper has suddenly become a global name.

The Coronavirus pandemic may have done its worst with all its crippling lockdowns, but Spud - also known as Callum Fraser - has chosen to not to take things lying.

Instead, the Aviemore piper is taking them standing up and bold as brass monkeys.

Spud has taken his local celebrated career to a whole new level on social media.

"I don't really have any choice," he told the Strathy, after wowing another crowd courtesy of the internet - live from the bonnie, frozen banks of Loch Morlich.

"When the pandemic arrived I immediately lost a whole season's weddings. In one fell swoop 41 cancellations. I thought, I need to do something. This, after all, is my living.

"It struck me there would be a big blank stage out there if I just wrapped up well and off I went."

It wasn't just Spud who wrapped up well. As he set up for his latest performance beside the snowbound loch the heavens opened up again.

Small flakes at first, but soon growing alarmingly large.

"I was worried for the microphone as I got going," he said, "so I rigged up a wee bag above it and hoped for the best."

It worked a treat. The sound was not only good to his internet audience it was positively inspirational and they told him so, much to his relief and joy.

Between stirring, evocative tunes he nattered away, welcoming many of his audience by name as they logged on and clicked on his wee tip box.

"I really appreciate the 'tips' as they come in from some absolutely amazing places," said the family man, who watched with glee as they came from places as far afield as Thailand, Tasmania, USA, Canada...

"Grimsby!" he waved.

"There's someone from Grimsby. Hello tae Grimsby! How is it there? I'll tell what it is here in Strathspey, it's bloomin' cauld!"

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