BBC Radio 3 to take listeners on a coast to coast journey across the Highlands

Travelling from the Black Isle to the Isle of Mull, presenter Petroc Trelawny will spotlight Scottish music, literature, nature and history

Published: May 13, 2022 at 11:50 am

The BBC Radio 3 presenter Petroc Trelawny is to present a week of live broadcasts, taking listeners on a coast to coast journey across the Highlands.

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The broadcasts, which take place during Radio 3’s Breakfast programme from Monday 6 June-Friday 10 June, will begin on the shores of the North Sea on the Black Isle at Cromarty, before travelling down the Great Glen, along Loch Ness and Thomas Telford’s Caledonian Canal, towards the Atlantic Coast and the small fishing village of Fiionnphort on the Isle of Mull. They will feature live music from Scottish musicians, as well as contributions from writers, poets, naturalists and historians. In addition, the sounds of nature - birds singing, wind in the trees, fast flowing water - will be heard every day as a series of live slow radio moments. The producers are Richard Denison and Susan Kenyon

Previous Radio 3 road trips have seen Breakfast follow the Rivers Ure and Ouse to the Humber in Yorkshire, and journey along the River Severn from Wales into England and back. The programme has also come live from forests in Co. Down, Hampshire and Snowdonia.

The full schedule for the Highlands week is as follows:

Monday 6 June

From the foreshore at Cromarty, overlooking the Cromarty Firth and the 'Souters' - the large headlands which frame the firth’s estuary into the North Sea - Petroc hears of the Highland clearances which took place in the area, the challenges of re-building communities, and emigration to Canada. He talks to Barbara Cheney of the University of Aberdeen’s Lighthouse Field Station about the rich marine life of the firth; and there’s traditional folk music played by Highland-based, internationally-acclaimed Celtic harpist Isbel Pendlebury on the clarsach - the country’s oldest national instrument.

Tuesday 7 June

From the north-east shore of Loch Ness at Dores, Petroc explores the geology which created the Great Glen and Loch Ness itself. He discusses the myths surrounding the famous monster with “Nessie”-hunter Steve Feltham, who has been hunting the beast full time since 1991. Live music is provided by Duncan Chisholm, one of Scotland's most recognised and accomplished fiddle players and composers; piper and whistle player Ross Ainslie, three times nominated for Musician of the Year at the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; and Glasgow multi-instrumentalist Innes Watson.

Wednesday 8 June

From the Caledonian Canal staircase at Fort Augustus, at the south-west end of Loch Ness, the engineering work of Thomas Telford comes centre stage as Petroc hears about how canals brought prosperity and tourism to the area, and about how Queen Victoria traversed the lock’s staircase in a Venetian gondola.

Thursday 9 June

From the harbour side at Oban, the gateway to the Isles, Petroc joins Mendelssohn and J.W.M. Turner on their visits to this historic town, nestled on one side of a picturesque horseshoe-shaped bay, highlighting its rich cultural traditions of music-making, with performances from the Oban Gaelic choir, one of the oldest competition choirs in the Gaelic-speaking world.

Friday 10 June

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At the further point west on the Isle of Mull, on the beach in the village of Fionnphort, overlooking the Isle of Iona, Petroc discovers the rich culture of this Inner Hebridean island; the work of Irish abbot and evangelist St Columba and later the Iona Community providing spiritual sanctuary and sustenance on the isle of Iona; and the unique qualities of Hebridean island life. Live music is provided by local musicians fiddle player singer and composer Hannah Fisher and guitarist Sorren Maclean, who have built busy careers as solo artists and collaborators.

Authors

Hannah Nepilova is a regular contributor to BBC Music Magazine. She has also written for The Financial Times, The Times, The Strad, Gramophone, Opera Now, Opera, the BBC Proms and the Philharmonia, and runs The Cusp, an online magazine exploring the boundaries between art forms. Born to Czech parents, she has a strong interest in Czech music and culture.

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