Skye arts festival celebrates the sea

Weekly traditional concerts continue over August with Charlie McKerron, pictured, and Karine Polwart, Hamish Napier and Gaelic sensation Dàimh.

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SEALL swings into August at Armadale Castle with an exciting programme of music, theatre, dance and a three-day live literature event.

All events will be held outdoors under canvas and the programme is designed to celebrate the unique maritime heritage of Skye, Raasay and Lochalsh.

The 2021 summer programme is supported by Creative Scotland and the Year of Coasts and Waters 20/21 event fund and is part of a nationwide celebration showcasing Scotland’s unique coastal heritage and encouraging its protection for future generations.

The Story Wagon rolls into Armadale for three days, from 10 August, providing a creative reading and writing space for family workshops and activities. The arrival of the wagon heralds the start of an exciting live literature programme with a number of high-profile guest authors booked.

On 10 August, folksinger and songwriter, Karine Polwart, and writer and visual artist, Amanda Thomson, will share their work on Kathleen Jamie’s anthology Antlers of Water, the first ever collection of contemporary Scottish writing on nature and landscape and showcases the diversity and radicalism of new Scottish nature writing today. Karine will also lead a song session for families in the morning of 11 August,
based on her children’s book A Wee Bird Was Watching.

Lewis-bred academic and activist Alistair McIntosh’s tow most recent books, Poacher’s Pilgrimage, Riders on the Storm, draw upon the strange legend of the three Great Floods that was gathered by the great folklorist, Otta Swire, a descendent of Flora MacDonald

Lewis-bred academic and activist Alistair McIntosh takes to the stage on 11 August to explore the underlying wellsprings of Hebridean spiritual traditions amidst the rising waters of our times. Alastair’s most recent books, Poacher’s Pilgrimage, Riders on the Storm, speak to Scotland’s coasts and waters. Poacher’s Pilgrimage is a reflection on God, war and the faeries as he traverses the wilds of Harris and Lewis by foot. Both books draw upon the strange legend of the three Great Floods that was gathered by the great folklorist, Otta Swire, a descendent of Flora MacDonald.

Flodigarry Gaelic poet Maoilios Caimbeul

Later that evening, Alastair will join Flodigarry Gaelic poet Maoilios Caimbeul to present a unique evening of reading and discussion on faith and the faerie realm, based on Maoilios’ poem Agus Mar Sin Car a’ Mhuiltein (And So Somersault).

Catherine MacPhee of the Skye and Lochalsh Archive Centre and Dr Iain MacKinnon of Camuscross will make up the panel of four. A limited edition poetry pamphlet of the entire poem with English translation, made exclusively on Skye and hand-bound at The Making Press ATLAS Arts, will be launched on the night.

GP Gavin Francis who was stuck in the Antartic for a year. His latest book Empire Antarctica, which has just won Scotland’s £30,000 top literary prize, prominently features Shackleton’s amazing survival story.

Popular author, doctor and travel writer, Gavin Francis, will discuss his travels and philosophies on the morning of August 12. From Robinson Crusoe to Desert Island Discs, Gavin will take his audience across the world – from the Aegean to the Andaman Islands, from Skye to South Georgia – to shed new light on the importance of islands of isolation in the collective cultural consciousness.

Weekly traditional concerts continue over August with Charlie McKerron and Karine Polwart, Hamish Napier and Gaelic sensation Dàimh. All concerts take place outdoors under the SEALL tent on the lawn.

Hamish Napier is a multi-instrumentalist and composer from Strathspey

On Monday August 16, spectacular music and dance troupe from southern Scotland, Oceanallover, will be popping up around the grounds to perform a number of quirky and colourful performances.

SEALL creative director, Marie Lewis, said: ‘All of our July concerts sold out and August events look as though they will do the same. We have had music in the sunshine as well as the rain with a few midges joining the party too.

‘We are particularly looking forward to our three-day live literature event which has a stellar line-up of amazing authors as well as the debut of a poetry pamphlet made entirely on Skye. This is the first time the poem has been published with English translation so it’s a real coup for us. Maoilios Caimbeul lives in Flodigarry and we hope communities and poetry lovers will come out to support him.’

For more information on SEALL events this summer, to download a programme and to book tickets visit www.seall.co.uk