6 episodes

Hello! we're Neil and Freya and we'd love for you to join us on a tour of a particularly beautiful corner of the Scottish Highlands: Lochaber. We think this area deserves more than a quick dash for the insta grid, so we're uncovering stories, places and people that you won't find unless you look below the surface.

Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles The Road to the Isles

    • Leisure
    • 5.0 • 4 Ratings

Hello! we're Neil and Freya and we'd love for you to join us on a tour of a particularly beautiful corner of the Scottish Highlands: Lochaber. We think this area deserves more than a quick dash for the insta grid, so we're uncovering stories, places and people that you won't find unless you look below the surface.

    Herring and History in Mallaig

    Herring and History in Mallaig

    It's the final episode in season 1 and we come to a rest at the end of the West Highland railway line: Mallaig.

    Mallaig is the main coastal hub of Lochaber, it’s at the end of the Road to the Isles from Fort William. But like much larger Oban in Argyll further south, it’s also a springboard to wider adventures. You can jump on ferries to the northern Knoydart Peninsula, the Small Isles and Outer Hebrides out west, and of course the ever-popular Isle of Skye.

    Traditionally it is a fishing port, but a relatively new one as it only really came into being in the 19th Century. Nowadays, it’s fuelled largely by tourism with a busy bustle in the summer months as folk pile off the trains in search of nearby beaches, hill walks, boat trips and more of that famous seafood.

    Much of Mallaig's history is all around you as you walk through the town; fishing vessels come and go and boats are repaired in the harbour. But there's also a fascinating connection with the Jacobite rebellion thanks to Lord Lovat.

    Local historian Malcolm Poole knows the story, so we met up with him to learn more.

    Many thanks to Malcolm for taking part in today's episode. For more information about the area, take a look at
    https://roadtotheisles.com/

    Keep an eye out for our destinations for season 2

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier
    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 21 min
    Goat Walking, Forest Bathing, and an Oasis of Art in Strontian

    Goat Walking, Forest Bathing, and an Oasis of Art in Strontian

    Today, Neil and Freya are all about the deep and ancient connections between the land, nature and culture. It’s something that you can feel pretty strongly in the West Highlands of Scotland, and we’ve been learning how all of those things can work together to enrich our everyday lives.

    Chapter 1 takes us to Darach Croft, which is just outside Strontian. Hugh and Sarah Asher are experts in all the usual aspects of crofting life: farming, animal husbandry and good old hard work. But they also have a background in social care, community and support work, and they've fused their expertise to create a croft with a difference.
    We meet Sarah, Hugh and their cheeky pygmy goats, to learn how working with the land and animals can improve wellbeing.

    Chapter 2
    Just a few miles up the road is where you'll find Resipole Farm. Home to a holiday park, and a really beautiful contemporary gallery; Resipole Studios.
    Brothers Andrew and Rory Sinclair give us a tour of the gallery, make music for us, and tell us about the local culture. And we were lucky to be joined by 2 local musicians, fiddle player Karin and young singer Alasdair, who sang in gaelic for us. It was a great day out!

    Many thanks to our wonderful guests for today's episode, you can find out more at:
    https://darachcroft.com/
    https://www.resipolestudios.co.uk/
    https://www.resipole.co.uk/

    To find out more about the area in general visit
    https://www.westhighlandpeninsulas.com/

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier

    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 33 min
    Walking through history and nature in Morvern

    Walking through history and nature in Morvern

    Join your hosts Neil Robertson and Freya Hellier as we learn about the West Highland region of Lochaber.

    Today, Freya ventures south on the Ardnamurchan Peninsula to Morvern, for a walk through time and nature.
    On a moody, drizzly day, Freya met Dr Jennie Roberton, a freelance archeologist, for a walk through a beautiful patch of woodland which opens out onto some fascinating ruins. We learn about the story of Mary of Inniemore who was one of thousands of Highlanders who were cleared from the land and had to make a new life.
    Jennie also explains how this part of the world has been hot property for human settlement in a story that goes back 10000 years.

    Later that day, once the skies were beginning to clear, Freya went on another walk, this time to learn about a collaborative and nature focused approach to modern Highland estate management.
    We meet Ross MacKay, land property manager at Ardtornish, a huge estate in Morvern that blends tourism, conservation and hydro schemes. We’re also joined by Steve Hardy. Steve is the ranger of the Rahoy Hills Nature Reserve and he knows the local ecology inside out thanks to years of painstaking research and documentation.
    Together, Steve and Ross know everything about these hills, glens and trees and they explain what makes this fragile, yet incredibly rich landscape so special and how to let it flourish for the future.

    Find out more about the series at
    roadtotheisles.com/scottish-podcasts/
    https://forestryandland.gov.scot/learn/heritage/visit-heritage-sites/aoineadh-mor-inniemore
    https://ardtornish.co.uk/

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier.

    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 32 min
    Arisaig's seafood and beaches: a match made in heaven

    Arisaig's seafood and beaches: a match made in heaven

    Freya and Neil are in search of the catch of the day

    Scotland's waters have long given us some of the finest seafood catches in the world. We take a look at how the fishing industry operates on the west coast and how visitors to Lochaber can feast on the delicious bounty.

    Our first trip finds us on Ian McKinnon's boat to see how he produces some of Scotland's best mussels using only ropes, the cleanest of water, lots of hard graft and the secret ingredient: years of wisdom.

    And there's something else you can do on Lochaber's shores...get married! Wedding celebrant Paula Wilkinson has wed many a couple on the stunning Camusdarach Beach. Every wedding needs a great meal and her passion and ingenuity have led to the Arisaig Shellfish Shack, and a brand new local rum

    https://arisaigshellfishshack.com/
    https://www.bogcottonelopements.com/
    https://grey-dog.uk/

    find out more about the series at
    https://roadtotheisles.com/scottish-podcasts/

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier.
    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 34 min
    Immersed in Nature around Loch Sunart

    Immersed in Nature around Loch Sunart

    Lochaber based travel writer Neil Robertson and producer Freya are out and about in one of Scotland's wildest regions to learn more about the people, nature and stories that live here

    In this episode, we delve deeper into the West Highland Peninsulas for a chilly splash in Loch Sunart and a trip to the uninhabited conservation Isle of Carna.

    There's more information about the podcast series at:
    https://roadtotheisles.com/scottish-podcasts/

    Find out more about the area around Loch Sunart at:
    https://www.westhighlandpeninsulas.com/

    And there's more about the Isle of Carna at:
    https://www.isleofcarna.co.uk/

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier.
    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 31 min
    The Music of the Highlands: a session with Ingrid Henderson, Iain & Charlie MacFarlane

    The Music of the Highlands: a session with Ingrid Henderson, Iain & Charlie MacFarlane

    Welcome to our podcast Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles. Lochaber travel writer Neil Robertson and producer Freya travel the area to meet the people and stories and come from this beautiful region.

    For our first episode, we take a musical journey to the Lochaber village of Glenfinnan along the Road to the Isles. We meet up with Ingrid Henderson and Iain and Charlie Macfarlane for some local tunes and a chat about the timeless appeal of traditional Highland music.

    Learn more about the music featured at https://www.iainmacfarlaneingridhenderson.com/

    Find out more about visiting the area at
    https://roadtotheisles.com/

    There's more information about the podcast series at:
    https://roadtotheisles.com/scottish-podcasts/

    Coastal Connections: Road to the Isles is produced by Freya Hellier.
    Many thanks to Les Back for the additional music and to the podcast sponsor Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

    • 29 min

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