Kippers to Scotland may seem a bit like coals to Newcastle, but old Henry Kipper is looking forward to the trip. “We’ve been to Scotland once or twice before”, he says, “and now we’re going again”.

The Kipper Family have indeed been to Scotland before. They have been warmly received at folk festivals in Edinburgh, Inverness and Girvan, and are now hoping to see the sights elsewhere. “Not that you can see much”, moans Sid Kipper; “All those blooming mountains get in the way of the view”. Norfolk, where the Kippers live, is very flat, of course.

Sid and Henry sing the old songs and tell the old stories from their little village of Trunch, but they don’t think their Englishness will make any difficulty for Scottish audiences. As Sid says, “We’ve got a lot of history in common. For instance, we had the Romans in Norfolk, and you had them in the Gloamin’. And a lot of our people came up your way for the herring fishing, all over Scotland. Well, not all over; mainly on the coast as a matter of fact.”

A lot of people laugh at the Kipper Family, as they sing such songs as The Male-Female Highwayman and the Trunch A to Z, and play the Trmelodian and the Trunch Blowpipes, but they have got used to that. “I think that’s just nervous laughter”, says Henry, “Though I don’t know what they’ve got to be nervous about. It’s us that should be nervous, but you don’t see us laughing”.

Don’t miss this chance to see the living tradition in action. After this trip they might not be asked back again!

(supplied to us by Chris Sugden)