Scotland: it is a land of long coasts, vibrant rivers, splashing waterfalls, mysterious lochs. No wonder then that 2020 was meant to be Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters.
It began in great fashion too. In Glasgow, ten metre tall puppet Storm, made of things found in the sea both natural and man made, walked through the city streets up from the banks of the Clyde. Her mission was to call for care for the sea. It proved an moving event, as people gathered along the route, some in anticipation of her walk and others in surprise at what was happening.
As Storm ended her walk at the steps of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall, the music inside began. It was a day of Coastal Connections to begin the Celtic Connections Festival, with music celebrating Scotland’s sea coasts, lochs, and rivers, much of it shared by musicians who come from those waterbound places.
It was a day of celebration and community indeed, including performances from the band Fara, who come from Orkney, Hannah Fisher and Sorren Maclean from Mull, Anna Massie from the Black Isle along with Mairearad Green from Ullapool, Julie Fowlis from North Uist, Capercaillie from Argyll, and many others.
There was an extensive range of arts events, sports festivals, family friendly and educational happenings planned out for the Year of Coasts and Waters. It was going to be magic.
But then…the worldwide pandemic quickly required cancellations and changes.
It did not, however, dim appreciation of the lasting beauty and importance of Scotland’s coasts and waters.
Some events were held online, some took different formats, and some were rescheduled.
Scotland’s year celebrating coasts and waters has been re-imagined, and extended into 2021. There are ways for you to enjoy the celebration online, wherever in the world you may be.
Part of the re-imagining involves encouraging appreciation of nearby coastlines, lochs, and rivers, and learning about them and their history. Not near waters of Scotland, you say? These stories from our archives will help.
Explore Loch Ness… by catamaran.
Had you thought of Scotland a a beach destination?
Time was when canals and rivers were main ways of travel in Scotland. The art, engineering, and history of The Kelpies. statues will teach you about this.
The islands which make up Orkney, off the north coast of Scotland, have their own distinct history and traditions, influenced by and connected to the sea. Learn how you can experience these online and why you will want to plan a visit when the time is right.
Take a drive along Scotland’s northeast coast and learn about lighthouses, castles, and waters.
Rivers are a big part of Scotland’s story; take a quiet walk along the River Kelvin.
There is much more about Scotland and its waters to explore in our archives. as well.
Music is is a major part of Scotland’s story, past and present. Hamish Napier has written a whole album inspired by the River Spey; many are songs and tunes of sailing in Scottish music, coasts and waters turn up by name in all sorts of stories of myth, legend, travel, and history sung and played.
To continue your celebration of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters, consider these three pieces of music.
The Loch Tay Boat song, in which the waters are braided into a love song, sung here by Eddi Reader. You will find it on her album Cavalier.
Òran an Ròin, a story of legend from the Western Isles sung by Julie Fowlis in Gaelic. It is recorded on her album Alterum.
Ingrid Henderson was commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage to compose the piece Brath ‘sa Bhuideal/Message in a Bottle. which reminds of the need to care for the waters. Cat Bruce created an animation of the piece. Henderson on harp along with Megan Henderson on fiddle and voice, guitarist Anna Massie, and uilleann piper Conal McDonagh play the music, which has featured in both live and online events.
You may also want to explore Visit Scotland’s information about the Year of Coasts and Waters, and see Scottish government advice about travel within and to Scotland.
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