Arts and Heritage
The Music and Tales of Coigach and Assynt project, part of the wider Coigach and Assynt Living Landscape Partnership scheme, has produced new music and film and allowed us to collect stories and local songs, tunes and photographs.
February 2022 saw the launch of The Coigach and Assynt Collection, our beautiful new book of songs, tunes, stories and photographs collated by Ronan Martin. Copies are available locally and from the publisher, Taigh na Teud: www.scotlandsmusic.com. In September 2022 the Blas Festival gave us the chance to put together a concert of music from the book, followed by a ceilidh dance.
Scottish broadcaster and musician, Mary Ann Kennedy, worked with Nick Turner, Donald Maclean and Finlay Wells to write an album of music, Talamh Beò (meaning ‘living land’) inspired by the landscapes and people of Coigach and Assynt. It was not an easy task: site visits were impossible for the first months due to pandemic lockdowns so the group got to know the communities through a successful and interesting series of online meetings. The result is a beautiful and highly imaginative collection of new songs, melodies and film, one of which is about Ali ‘Beag’ Macleod, a moving tribute to a well-loved local musician and boatman. The first, stunning live performances of the album took place as part of the Blas Festival in September 2022 and we were thrilled to announce that it won a coveted Scots Trad Award – Original Work of the Year – in December 2022. Keep an eye out for CDs in local retailers.
Creative Scotland Arts’ Project
Thanks to Creative Scotland funding we have been able to commission a group of eight high-profile Scottish musicians – Ross Whyte, Graham Mackenzie, Rachel Newton, Mairearad Green, Joe Peach, Quee MacArthur, Kathleen MacInnes and Charlie Grey – along with filmmaker Jess Phillimore to make new work inspired by the landscapes and people of the area. Jess ran two successful filmmaking workshops with schoolchildren and in September 2021 Quee and Kathleen, along with Laura Hamlet, took us on a walk and talk (and singing) event down the Youth Hostel burn. In November 2022 the musicians returned to Achiltibuie to record and perform their compositions and Jess’s film was shown. We’re hoping to announce the release of the album sometime in 2023!
The Coigach and Assynt Heritage Trail
A collaborative community project which gathered information from the folk who know the most about our shared heritage and have helped to preserve those stories. CCDC worked with Historic Assynt and Seoras Burnett, who compiled the information for the trail, speaking to local people to get authentic and original accounts, as well as delving deep into academic papers. The trail allows people to stop and reflect on a rich and complex history which runs through this amazing landscape from the end of the last Ice Age to the present day. From rebellions during the Highland Clearances to World War Two submarine missions; seismic geological discoveries to hazardous mountain walks to school, our area is alive with stories from the past.
Visit the Heritage Trail website: www.candatrail.com
Find a link to download your copy of the trail leaflet on VisitCoigach’s page about the trail: Coigach and Assynt Heritage Trail