John Valentine from Cove Bay near Aberdeen is an engineer in the oil industry and a fine singer. He first gained his enthusiasm for bothy ballads from his grandad who had quite a collection of recordings from Willie Kemp, Harry Gordon and Curly Mackay. His mum and dad stayed in the bothy at Newton of Altens at Nigg when they were first married and moved to Cove a year after John was born. John's dad was an engineer and salmon fisher on the Aberdeen shore. John used to spend time down the road with Old Albert, farmer at Findon, where he enjoyed learning the old ways of the land. The Nicky Tams was one of John's first songs - performed when ten years old, standing on a table at his grannie's ruby wedding. Geordie Murison was a friend of the family (John's grandad and uncle worked for Geordie) and had been at the wedding. So when the TMSA Tuesday sessions started in Aberdeen Geordie suggested that John came along - and there he met in with Tam Reid and Jim Taylor and soon he was taking part in the competitions at Keith and Turriff (pic on the left) - and in 2010 he was invited to compete at the Elgin Champion of Champions Bothy Ballad Competition.