Blazing a Wartime Trail Around Loch Ewe – official launch

Loch ewe trail viewpoint

Issued by Wartime Trail

Blazing a Wartime Trail Around Loch Ewe – official launch

A special event on Tuesday 31st August, 2pm at MacLennan Park, Aultbea will mark the official launch of ‘Blazing a Wartime Trail around Loch Ewe’ - a new outdoor trail commemorating the vital role this Highland community played in World War Two.

Loch Ewe was the strategic gathering place for the Arctic Convoys which between 1941 and 1945, made the perilous journey to the ports of Archangel and Murmansk to deliver essential supplies to beleaguered Russian allies. Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, called their missions the "worst journey in the world". Nearly 1500 merchant ships were involved in the missions escorted by the British Royal Navy, Canadian and US Navy. More than 3000 men died.

Remains of the area’s wartime activity are still visible around Loch Ewe. The new trail showcases four new bold and atmospheric silhouette public artworks, incorporated with viewpoint benches, new interpretation and mosaic panels created by local schoolchildren to mark important sites around the loch.

The trail will be officially opened by Arctic Convoy veteran David Craig and the pupils of Bualnaluib Primary School. Now aged 96, David is among the last surviving Convoy veterans and faced some of the most brutal conditions of the Convoy journeys including enemy attack, horrific weather conditions and freezing sea ice.

The launch on 31st August 2021 also coincides with the 80th anniversary of Operation Dervish, the arrival of the first of the Arctic Convoys of WWII which sailed from Liverpool on 12th August 1941 and arrived at Archangelsk on 31st August 1941.

Project Co-ordinator Helen Avenell said: “Working on this project with the Russian Arctic Convoy team has been a wonderful experience. We wanted to illuminate this remarkable Highland story and share the stories of how the local community and landscape was shaped by the war. Working with the talents of Highland artists Sally Purdy and Carola Martin-Smith, our local schoolchildren have created three beautiful new mosaic panels and the huge creative driving force of Tim Ward and his team have created these beautiful and atmospheric silhouette artworks. We hope the new trail preserves the incredible story of the Arctic Convoys and the role our local communities across Loch Ewe played.”

Natalie White, Headteacher of Bualnaluib and Poolewe Primary Schools said, “Taking part in this project has been a wonderful experience for our pupils. We are incredibly fortunate that they have been involved in the full process, designing, creating and sharing this lovely piece of art, a legacy which will be enjoyed by many in the future. Opportunities such as this bring learning to life, the history of their homeland, the creativity of different art forms and the interactions with the community and partner organisations.”

‘Blazing a Wartime Trail Around Loch Ewe’ is a Heritage Fund and Highland Council funded project.

31 Aug 2021