It’s all going Seashore Crazy in Lochalsh

Taking part in last year's Seashore Festival

On Saturday 16 May Lochalsh is going to host an exciting Seashore Festival with lots of activities for all ages to enjoy as part of the celebrations to mark the importance of three local iconic Lochs.

Together Lochs Long, Duich and Alsh form a Marine Protected Area (MPA), a national designation that highlights their enormous value and provides for their sustainability to the Natural World and to us. The National Trust for Scotland, Balmacara Estate, together with the Kyle and Lochalsh Community Trust, with the funding and backing of the Highland Seashore Project, are bringing together a host of different individuals and organisations to set out stalls, run events, activities, walks and talks on the Plock of Kyle, one of the areas most lovely open spaces and coastal beauty spots.

The day kicks off on the Plock at 10.30 am with a full programme of free events. There will be a shore walk at 11.30am with the well know Gaelic broadcaster and writer Roddy Maclean accompanied with International Marine Biologist and researcher Mike Kendall. They have formed a brilliant and very entertaining seashore beach combing where Roddy tells the story behind the Gaelic names whilst Mike expounds the biology of the beastie under scrutiny.

Other walks include the RSPB at 11am and 1pm; the geology and shaping of the shore ramble with Shore Shapers at 1.30pm. There will be access to the neighbouring Eilan Ban Trust Gavin Maxwell museum wildlife hide and lighthouse from 2pm. The fantastic Kyle Deli, Buth Bheag will be onsite with their very own ice cream and Cullen Skink between 12pm to 3pm, and Neil MacRae will be there with a cookery demonstration with sustainably caught Scallops at 12.30pm.

For all the family weaving story with music, Bob Pegg will be performing at 1pm and 3pm, bringing Seashore tales to the Plock.

Through the day on the Plock there will be the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust all the way from Mull with their life size inflatable Bottle Nose Dolphin and Harbour Porpoise as well as all sorts of bits of bone, skull and baleen.

For a bit of hands-on-fun people coming along can join in with beach rubbish artist known as Beads, helping him create Messie Monsters while artist Emma Bennan will be creating beautiful shell art and you can try your hand at creating your own works of art to decorate your home, shed or gate post. The RNLI will also be at the Festival with lots of information on the vital role they play in the community. The National Trust for Scotland’s Plock Ranger will join The Highland Council Rangers tospend the day running a whole host of activities, including a marine wildlife treasure hunt, willow fish and much more. Added to this there will be live music on the shore, Sea Shantys and nautical ditties offering something to sing a long to as you digest a seafood lunch, after a blissful walk on the shore.  

As this is a celebration of the Marine Protection Area, Scottish Natural Heritage have generously lent their MPA exhibit to the Plock event and the Moray Firth Partnerships sponsored banners of ‘Under the Surface’ with beautiful under water photographs by the well known photographer Sue Scott, will be on show around Kyle of Lochalsh.   

At 2.30pm the Seashore theme opens up at Balmacara Square, where everything will be Seaweed orientated.  At Beth’s Café there will be Beth’s tasty home baked soups, flans, cakes and biscuits with seaweed as an ingredient. For a free taster of the next super food and recipe cards come along and try something new. Miriam Little will be there with MARA seaweed products (recent runners up at the BBC Foods and Farming Awards), seaweed harvested in the Highlands and dried ready for the kitchen. Miriam will be doing a taster session and everyone will be getting a free sample of MARA seaweed as well as her locally harvested Sea Thong Salad, with advice on how to harvest and prepare it at home. Also on show and for trying will be Ishga’s range of organic Seaweed Skin Care products, made from Hebridean Seaweed. SEPA will be taking over the NTS Balmacara Visitor Centre with a display of Seaweed Species that can be found around the Highlands. So if you want to eat it, see it and try smoothing on Seaweed, come to Beth’s Cafe.  

At 4pm Roddy Maclean will be rushing over from the Plock to Beth’s Café at Balmacara Square, to tell local seashore tales with Gaelic names and phrases, stories he has found and now shares with us all, stories of adventure, mischief, magic and mayhem. This will be a popular event and places are limited so please book by calling Beth’s Café on 01599 566758. Roddy has also been vital in the creation of the Highland Seashore Projects ‘Happy Seashore Families’ cards, which will have it’s first unveiling at the Story Telling, each card having beautifully detailed pictures of sea life by James Merryweather and Charlie Philips, from an idea by Callum Ullman-Smith. Every school in the Highlands will be getting a free issue of the game after this event.

To finish the Seashore themed day participants can join Calum and his crew in Plockton on board the 'Sula Mhor' for wildlife cruise with a difference. Enjoy the beautiful waters of Loch Carron and sample the delights of fresh local seafood, supplied by Buth Bheag. Lasting for two hours the cruise departs at 6.30pm. Places are limited and there is a charge for this event. For more information and to book a place please contact Calum on 01599 544306 or 07761263828.

Plockton is often referred to as the jewel in the Highland crown and has a well-deserved reputation for serving up sumptuous seafood and wonderful cuisine that is sourced at a local level. Throughout the day the Plockton Hotel and will be offering a special seafood platter on their menu. The Plockton Inn will be catering for over a dozen fish dishes, and have kindly donated a box of smoked mussels to Calum’s boat trip.

There are facilities at every venue; with the Highland Seashore Project making sure there are porta loos at the Plock for your comfort after visiting the shore. Please do remember to dress for the weather if you are coming along from sun hats to woolly gloves.

What ever you like there’s something for everyone Lochalsh way 16th May at the Kyle Seashore Festival.

11 May 2015
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