Taynish has songwriters In Tune with Nature

Oak woodland on the slopes above Loch Sween, Taynish NNR. ©Lorne Gill/SNH

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A new contest has been launched calling on musicians of all genres to show their love of nature by writing music inspired by the coasts and waters of Scotland’s beautiful nature reserves.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Fèis Rois have partnered up on this first competition for Scotland to inspire people to connect with nature through music. Entrants are invited to compose a piece of music inspired by one of 10 national nature reserves across Scotland, including Taynish National Nature Reserve.

The In Tune with Nature competition will be judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry including Julie Fowlis, Vic Galloway, Gill Maxwell and Karine Polwart and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Winners will receive £500 and the chance to take part in live performances throughout the year. Each winner will also make a film on the nature reserve which inspired their music with a professional film-maker.

Entries can be in any style of music and may or may not include lyrics. References to local culture, language and tradition are encouraged. New Gaelic songs are particularly encouraged in the Beinn Eighe and Creag Meagaidh areas, as are songs written in Scots and regional dialects in other areas.

Heather Watkin, SNH’s reserve manager at Taynish, said: ‘There’s so much to be inspired by on our nature reserves, particularly during the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. We have such an amazing variety of marine wildlife and seabirds in Scotland, as well as stunning beaches, lochs and rivers. It’s hard not to be inspired by such beauty.

‘Music and nature have so much in common. They are both moving and give us so much pleasure. We can’t wait to hear what people come up with to make us see these special places in a new light.’

The contest opened March 1 and closes on May 31, with winners announced on June 26. It is one of several special SNH events and projects to celebrate our coasts and waters and their wildlife during the themed year and raise awareness of the importance of healthy freshwater and seas.