A cultural collective once frequented by some of Scotland's best known musicians and poets - not to mention the Big Yin - has reunited 45 years after it came together.

Billy Connolly, then a folk musician with The Humblebums, Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, fiddler Aly Bain, folk musician-composer Phil Cunningham and poet Norman MacCaig were all members of The Heretics line up in 1970.

Their aim was to promote the poetry and music of Scotland’s living tradition in a relaxed and convivial setting.

Throughout the decade, the group appeared regularly at the Edinburgh Festival and hosted evenings of poetry and music throughout Scotland until they eventually disbanded after a final farewell concert in 1980.

Early billings included appearances by comedian Connolly and the Humblebums and Mr MacCaig alongside Mr Bain and songwriter Hamish Henderson, one of the driving forces behind the post-war Scottish folk revival.

The acclaimed Gaelic poet Sorley MacLean, writer and political activist Hugh MacDiarmid and influential publisher, academic and Gaelic writer Derick Thomson were also regular contributors.

Hosted by the Saltire Society, the first of The Heretics’ comeback performances took place last night at the Society’s headquarters in Edinburgh’s historic Old Town. There are to be two further performances on August 12 and 19 as the Festival is in full swing.

The comeback was the brainchild of singer, actor, writer and Gaelic activist Dolina MacLennan and author and playwright John Herdman, both part of the original line up.

Mr Bain said he was delighted to take part in the revival. He said: “I have very fond memories of taking part in Heretics events in the early seventies. So more than forty years later, I’m delighted to learn that surviving members from the original line-up are getting back together.

"With founder members including Doli MacLennan and John Herdman taking part in the revival, I’m sure these events will be just as lively and entertaining as they were back in the day."

Ms MacLennan said: “The original purpose of the Heretics was to provide a stage for unpublished Scottish poets, writers and musicians to perform their work – because such a thing didn’t really exist at the time. It had a great run throughout the 1970’s and we were lucky to have so many iconic artists on the billing."