r2vyln3rdioj14u-rld0ska where mountains meet the sea: February 2019

the vulnerable capercaillie

The largest grouse species in the world, at home in our native pine forests, the UK’s capercaillie population has fallen from around 20,000 birds in the 1970s to just over 1,000 birds today. As the Cairngorms National Park is their last remaining stronghold the long-term future of this vulnerable species now rests very much in the hands of the people who live, work and play alongside it. -  The Cairngorms Capercaillie Project

The Bridge Over the Atlantic*

They took our birlinn, stem and stern-posts
High as a Venetian gondola’s, and up-turned it.
Every tide in the bladder-wracked sea-tongue its keel

Bridged, swam the eel-current
Races that tracked South and North
Into and out of the Atlantic. And they
Docked our tongues, every man’s that dared
Give out a taste of his father’s banter,
Effortless sound-shapes an islander’s born to.

One soul this end of the keel-bridge, one the other;
Veritable shape-shifters we were, minds gone
Evasive as mist with keeping speech-thoughts in curb,
Raking the past for the fuelling of anger.

Those that got out, the salmon-stubborn, ran
Hard-headed on a spring ebb out to sea;
Everything given up but nothing given over.

And from Mull and Seil, Caithness and Ireland,
Sweden and Italy
The disinherited massed in a marvellous Sargasso;
Language, labour, dance of the old worlds gathered
And ransacked the past for ways of living
New.  New? For our first night we took a skin canoe,
Tipped its fur-clad family into Scajaquada Creek, then
Inverted it. We wound their heathen souls in a keening
Caillach’s plaid of consonants and vowels .

Ian Crockatt

*The 18th century bridge over tidal Clachan Sound, 12 miles south west of Oban, links Seil island to the mainland. It has long been known as The Bridge Over the Atlantic. After Culloden, when the English outlawed the wearing of tartan and speaking in the Gaelic language, those living on Seil island did both at home, but, legend has it, changed out of their kilts into trews in the inn by the bridge before crossing over to the mainland.

 Scajaquada Creek is one of New York's many rivers. - Salix Publications

Final Ascent: The Legend of Hamish MacInnes

When the memories of a life are lost in the snow, a final challenge remains. The toughest climb of all: to conquer the mind and rescue the man. - FinalAscentFilm

Film charts climber Hamish MacInnes' mental health fight

If We Didn’t Have All That

The Touring Network presents a mini film capturing the story behind a network of people in the Highlands and Islands who, over the past 20 years or more have championed professional live performances touring to their communities. In the first of its kind, this is a beautifully shot film that delves into the stories, humour and impact of rural touring. It features tales of Michael Marra, The Naked Rambler and more. - The Touring Network

The Pumpkin / Creag Meagaidh

What motivates a Scottish winter mountaineer and what are the challenges and rewards? Pumpkin follows Neill Busby and Bob Licznerski on a perfect winters day on Creag Meagaidh to climb the 300m route The Pumpkin graded V,4. - Richard Redpath

Aald Boat

Doo minds dee, whan da wind stöd wast,
I’d lay twa linns, and rin dee doon,
An tak a stane, an step dy mast,
An had dy head fir oot da soon’.

We’d land is doon by Heljer Gjo,
An bare tak time ta mak dee fast,
Saw weel kent we foo aa da voe
Wis scanned whan winds held fae da wast.

Aald boat, doo’s i’dy last noost noo,
Da waandrin sea nae mair doo’ll ken,
Nae mair sall I, dy capten, crew,
Set up dy aald broon sail agen.

Bit tho, fir is, oot ower da voe,
Nae lingrin, lanesome look is cast
Saft rins da sea in Heljer Gjo,
And saft da wind blaas fae da wast.

Jack Peterson, from Streets and Starlight

Community land stories: Sally Reynolds

Sally is the Development Officer for Urras Oighreachd Charlabaigh (Carloway Estate Trust) and a resident of Urras Oighreachd Ghabhsainn (Galson Estate Trust) - Community Land Scotland

Up Helly Aa season: Uyeasound

The fifth of Shetland's twelve annual Fire Festivals. Uyeasound Up Helly Aa is held each year on the most northerly island in the UK - Unst.

Song of the Mainland

I’ll sing you a song of the mainland
Where the lights are always shining
Where the wind stays off the whiskey
And the bread is factory-rising. 

We’ll go no more to the islands
We’ll go no more to the sea
For the lighthouses are empty
There’s nothing there for me. 

And when we get to the mainland
We’ll give our shoes a shining
And run for the bars and dance halls
Till the sun is church-spire rising.

We’ll think no more of the islands
We’ll yearn no more for sea
For the lighthouses are empty
And have no need of me. 

I’ll sing you a song from the mainland
With the lights above me shining
The wind still burns like whiskey
Yes, the bread is factory-rising. 

O send me news from the islands
What’s churning, out at sea?
The lighthouses are empty
But do they think of me? 

I’ll sing you a song of the islands
As the streetlights dull their shining
Of the darkest stretch of darkness
And its one light, tower-rising. 

O take me back to the islands
O take me back to sea
For the mainland’s bright and gleaming
But what is here for me?

Miriam Nash, from All the Prayers in the House 

Knees Up

As the second single from their acclaimed album Frenzy of the Meeting, ‘Knees Up’ celebrates the rewards of travelling new roads as well as the importance of revisiting the old ones. It features an instrumental composed by Calum MacCrimmon entitled ‘Knees Up in Hanoi’ alongside a song delivered by Megan (Dòchas Glan Na Fàire) which was a co-write between Calum and Megan’s brother, Ewen Henderson. The track is accompanied by a video which was made in collaboration with Caledonian MacBrayne and Andy McCandlish (This Way Up Films). It follows the journey of a father and son cycling through the Hebrides. - Breabach

NATION: Norway - the twin nation

The Norway film tells the story of Scotland’s twin nation. We have the same population, share the oil, gas and fishing resources of the North Sea and have similar geography. But over the last 200 years Norway has withdrawn from a Union with first Denmark and then Sweden and has invested its oil wealth wisely while Margaret Thatcher squandered ours.

This much we already know. But did you know Norwegians have chosen to continue paying some of the highest personal taxes in the world to stabilise their oil-based economy – using the oil fund only to top up budgets not underpin them? Did you know hydro was the first big energy revolution, possible because Norway had no feudal landowners blocking the development of free energy for all? And – perhaps most importantly – did you know the widespread ownership of land in the 19th century meant Norway created one of the world’s widest electorates and therefore one of its most egalitarian parliaments?

These democratic achievements underpin Norway’s success every bit as much as independence and raise hopes and tough questions about Scotland’s future. Can we hope to use renewables to match the incredible achievements of our twin nation? - Phantom Power Films

NATION: Iceland - the extreme nation

The second in a series of films with Lesley Riddoch exploring Scotland's inspiring northern European neighbours and what we can learn.
Despite being a sub-arctic island pulsating with potentially catastrophic volcanoes, Iceland's population (334,000 or Aberdeen and Dundee combined) has managed to become one of the most successful societies on earth.

To understand Icelander's attitude to risk and creating a positive from the bleakest situation means understanding the volcanic landscape that has shaped this nation and its fortunes. We look at how Iceland has harnessed the power beneath their feet, created a successful media industry by exploiting its lunar setting, how the land has shaped the island's politics and more.

The seismic global crash (and subsequent volcanic explosion) could have brought Iceland to its knees but, in fact, regenerated Iceland - empowering it to become a globally recognised, more sustainable, politically engaged nation with a future that looks brighter than ever. Iceland certainly puts any doubts about Scotland's huge potential in perspective as the UK and Europe's political tectonic plates continue to shift. - Phantom Power Films

in memory of Andy Nisbet and Steve Perry

Andy Nisbet is renowned in the world of Scottish winter climbing having set an incredible 1,000 new routes in the winter months. Away from his beloved Scotland he has been on various expeditions to the greater ranges including on Everest, with recent years being spent climbing in Norway and India. He has been a member of the Scottish Mountaineering Club (SMC) since 1977 and has taken the position of President in 2012. To gain insight into Andy's climbing career and his role in the SMC I took the opportunity to interview him. - Myrddyn Phillips, 2015
The climbing community mourns the huge loss of Andy Nisbet and Steve Perry who died in an accident on Scotland's most northerly Munro. Our condolences to their family and friends.

Remembering Andy

NATION: Faroe Islands - the connected nation

The first in a series of films with Lesley Riddoch exploring Scotland's inspiring northern European neighbours and what we can learn.

Despite being a remote cluster of islands with population of just 50 thousand people (1% of Scots pop.), the Faroe Islands certainly don't think small. The Faroes took on global giant Google to protect their language and identity and have also created the world's fastest mobile broadband (a reserved issue in Scotland). The key factor in these success stories has been the Faroes Parliament: without doubt, the world's most powerful devolved parliament. This wee nation relies heavily on fish which represents around 95% of exports but life in the Faroes is changing. A new generation, enthused by a proximity to political power, are shaping these traditionally conservative islands into progressive society that more and more want to live in. The Faroes is also finding itself at the centre of things as the Arctic presents new opportunities. The Faroese community connects in all kinds of ways - through tunnels that join the separate islands, by air to the rest of the world with its own national airline and is reconnecting with nature to create world-class food. There's a lot to reflect upon about the future of the Faroes and Scotland but the ultimate connection is clear: with power comes the confidence to build a better nation. - Phantom Power Films

Jura: the Island, the People

What is it like living on a small Scottish Island? SMTV visited Jura and talked to some of the locals to get a perspective on the realities of life on an island known for producing great whisky and being the one time home of George Orwell.   Watch part 2 here

Collecting the Present: Land Reform

What have a drum, a sign and a door knocker got to do with land ownership in Scotland?

All is revealed in the next film in our Collecting the Present series, which explores objects that document community buyouts in the islands of Eigg and Ulva.

Land ownership has been a contested issue in Scotland for centuries. Community buyouts aim to redistribute Scotland’s land by putting it in the hands of the people who live and work in the local area.

Discover more about the unusual objects we've collected to tell this story in our new film.

Collecting the Present explores how our collection reflects changes in Scottish identity and the way the past is understood.
- National Museums Scotland

swimming for charity

Highland Open Water Swim is the brainchild of outdoor enthusiast Jeff Forrester.
We started in 2016 to enjoy the beautiful environment that we are lucky to live close to in the Highlands of Scotland, while at the same time raising funds towards Children with Cancer UK.
The original idea only involved a few events, but numbers just kept increasing and by the time we organised our last swim in the first year - across the Sound of Mull - there were more than 100 crazy people in the water, including swimmers and safety team.  - Highland Open Water Swim

To learn about this year's swims, please visit the HOWS website and video channel.

This year, Highland Open Water Swim is raising money for The Brain Tumour Charity

Day One