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Coastal community groups along the West Coast have teamed up with Edinburgh community folk choir, Castle Chorus, to bring together incredible footage from Argyll’s coast with the choir’s original song, Lullaby Of Unknowing, in a special dedication to Scotland’s seas.
In 2019 the waters off the coast of Argyll were declared a Hope Spot – the first in both Scotland and the UK – by international non-profit Mission Blue (mission-blue.org).
The Hope Spot sheds light on the immense beauty, rich history and vibrant life along the country’s West Coast.
Mission Blue seeks out Hope Spot sites around the world which contain the presence of rare, threatened or endemic species and sites which can demonstrate active community involvement and a real chance to reverse historical damage.
Four community groups within the Coastal Communities Network (www.communitiesforseas.scot) wanted to secure the Hope Spot and to raise community awareness of the need to encourage protection of our unique marine ecosystems. The waters in Argyll are home to a wide array of native wildlife and hold one of the last remaining strongholds of the critically endangered flapper skate. It is also a vibrant region for community-led conservation initiatives.
These groups, all led by volunteers from within the local areas, have now secured a small amount of funding to increase public awareness and engagement with the Hope Spot’s marine biodiversity throughout 2021, and to develop habitat and species monitoring pilots. The team also hope to work with local people and organisations to expand the Hope Spot boundaries and to campaign for better protection of the Hope Spots rich and unique biodiversity.
Although much of Scotland’s west coast is sparsely populated, residents here are incredibly proud of their rich Scottish heritage and the unique landscapes that hold onto it.
Community voices have often inspired the introduction of legislation to protect their home’s marine ecosystems, and the Argyll Coast and Islands Hope Spot Champions believe more community awareness could lead to greater protection of Scotland’s marine ecosystems.
Annabel Lawrence, Hope Spot Champion, says: ‘We’re delighted to have this song from Castle Chorus dedicated to the Hope Spot – it helps shine the light on the incredible wildlife that lives within our seas. We want to encourage our coastal communities to engage in what is happening just off their shores. The more people get to know and understand the wonders of this marine ecosystem, the more likely they will care about how it is looked after.’
Caro Overy, Castle Chorus musical director, added: ‘We’ve been inspired by the passion and care the communities behind the Hope Spot clearly hold for their local natural environment and so it was a real privilege to put together this remote collaboration – featuring beautiful footage of the area with our song Lullaby Of Unknowing, an appropriate tribute to the hope we share for our planet.’
To find out more about the Argyll Coast & Islands’ Hope Spot and to support them with a donation, if you are able, go to www.argyllhopespot.scot.
To listen to the song and watch the video, visit youtu.be/o1_JvBVyZ4Q