Story-gathering project set to gather tales of the West Coast

The Strome Ferry on Loch Carron, 1969. Photograph: Am Baile NO F50 Strome Ferry

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The Coast that Shaped the World is a community-led story gathering project that is looking to build a bank of stories covering the West Coast of Scotland from Wester Ross and Lewis in the north to Arran and Kintyre in the south.

These stories will be narrated through a website, interactive app, and innovative
exhibition material to encourage locals and visitors to explore the roads less travelled across the islands, peninsulas, and coastline of the West Coast.

Taking both an online and on the ground approach, the story gathering website – coast.scot – has now been launched along with a team of 32 story gatherers, who will be working within their communities to gather and uncover stories, tales, and hidden gems to be shared.

Nothing is too big or too small, too detailed, or too vague. Collectively these stories and memories will help paint a multi-layered picture of this stunning part of Scotland and help people better understand why it is what it is today – and also how much this part of Scotland has had an impact across the globe far beyond its shores.

This will be promoted as part of the celebrations to mark the Year of Scotland’s Stories in 2022. The Coast that Shaped the World project is part of a new £5 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and Islands to provide more and better quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets.

The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund is led by NatureScot and is part-funded through the European Development Fund (ERDF).

The Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund will encourage people to visit some of the more remote and rural areas and create and sustain jobs, businesses, and services in local communities.

The purpose of the fund is to promote and develop the outstanding natural and cultural heritage of the Highlands and islands in a way that conserves and protects them.

The project is managed by the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research at West Highland College UHI, and four creative consultants have been appointed to help deliver the project – ruralDimensions, Lateral North, Whereverly and Soluis Heritage.

Match funding for the project has also come from Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) and West Highland College UHI, giving the whole project a value of more than £500,000.

NatureScot Project and Funding Officer Susan Webster commented: ‘The current situation Covid-19 pandemic creates uncertainty and significant challenges to everyone, so it’s heartening to see this wonderful project contributing to the recovery in remote and rural areas of the Highlands and Islands.

‘Gathering these stories will be a great benefit to visitors keen to learn more about this iconic area’s fabulous heritage and attractions, while also protecting the amazing history of these unique communities.’