Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will celebrate the role of lochs, rivers and seas in shaping who Scottish people are and their place in a modern tourism destination.
In an interview with The Courier at the Scottish Fisheries Museum in Anstruther on Wednesday, Visit Scotland chief executive Malcolm Roughead said Scotland’s forthcoming celebratory themed year will shine a spotlight on a wide-ranging and far-reaching programme of events and festivals throughout 2020.
As well as celebrating the history and culture of Scotland’s waterways, it will also be an opportunity for young people to learn about the heritage of our waterways and understand how Scotland’s coastal communities are rooted in often forgotten traditions.
Mr Roughead said: “The Year of Coasts and Waters is really a celebration of our coastline but also our lochs and the role that’s played in shaping who we are and what we are as a country and a destination.
“If you think about the lives that have been moulded around our coasts and waterways over the centuries.
“And also there’s a nod to what people forget that we were and are a seafaring nation and how those waters took us away from these shores but also brought people to these shores down through the ages.
“If you think about the cultural influence that’s had as well from the Gaels to the Vikings and Saxons, and that’s shaped who we are as a people.”
From canal carnivals to coastal inspired opera and art, seaweed festivals and science events to thrill-seeking endurance activities and coastal rowing voyages, the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will see various themed events held throughout the year throughout the country.
Events in the Tayside and Fife area will include the annual StAnza – Scotland’s International Poetry Festival – presenting an extended programme showcasing poets whose work explores and celebrates bodies of water from Scotland’s coastlines to the Arctic.
The Scottish Fisheries Museum and Anstruther Harbour Festival will team up for the museum’s 50th anniversary to bring Fèis Chala An t-sruthair – a spectacular summer sea-side festival.
Your Tay, Your Adventure will have an action-packed programme of events with lots of opportunities to get on the water, culminating in the return of the Scottish Canoe Association’s mass paddlesport event Tay Descent.
Also debuting at Celtic Connections and touring until November will be Launch! On the Sea with Scotland’s Lifeboats, presented by Screen Argyll and A Kind of Seeing. This immersive live film performance takes inspiration from RNLI archives and explores our deep coastal connections.
Fiona Hyslop MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, said:
“The Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 events programme is full of tours and exhibitions, great events, cultural performances, community activities and festivals, supported by over £770,000 of Scottish Government funding.
“These events will be taking place in locations from Shetland, Dumfries and Galloway, Western Isles to Fife and in the heartlands of our great cities.
*Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will begin on January 1 2020 and run until December 31 2020. For more information visitscotland.com/ycw2020