The West Coast is alive with stories.

The West Coast is alive with stories.

By the ‘Spirit of the Highlands and Islands’ project

Over the past year on the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project, we have had the pleasure to hear a wide array of personal stories from communities across the West Coast and the wider region. From cherished memories to a favourite place, historical events to new traditions, and from heart-touching experiences to amusing anecdotes – it is truly a joy to read, listen to and provide a platform for your stories.

Since our last blog, and over the last year, we have collaborated with the wonderful team at Smartify who, prepped with a microphone and a camera, ventured the length and breadth of the Highlands and Islands to conduct a series of unique audio interviews all of which explore just what the ‘Spirit of the Highlands and Islands’ means to people across the region. In February, we launched the collection, which amounts to over 100 audio bites, on its permanent home Spirit: Stories.

We are delighted to share with you a selection of the collection to inspire your next visit to the West Coast. Listen below and discover the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands through the eyes of the people who live, work and visit here.

Story contributors


“…you’ve got hundreds of peoples’ lives in front of you on every view.” ­– Rusting Histories

Join Fiona and Charly Hamlyn as they reflect on the moving nature of rusting histories spanning many centuries of community life on the Isle of Lewis.


“…I know it sounds ludicrous, it’s totally true…It could only happen in the Highlands!” The Phone Box, the Lighthouse and the Dog

Delight in a jolly tale which recalls the hunt for an elusive telephone box in Badrallach with an unbelievable back story.


“…the music is the soul of the people, no matter where you go in the world…”- In Focus: The Uniqueness of South Uist

Uist by Airborne Lens

Listen to Paul Burgess and Paul McCallum as they discuss how the unique spirit of South Uist comes alive in its sights and sounds, history and community, and the music of the island.


“…oh, they were characters!” – The Characters of Skye

Join Muldin MacPhie on a drive down memory lane on the winding roads of Skye and hear unbelievable tales of local characters which have rightly earned their place in local folklore.


“Tha sinn beò agus tha a’ghrian a’deàrrsadh…We’re alive and the sun is shining.” In Focus: Islay Through the Years

Image credit: VisitScotland/Kenny Lam

Here, listen to Shona MacKellar, Catherine MacTaggart, Catherine Johnston, Marion McGregor, Etta Shaw and John Cameron at the incredible Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle as they discuss life on Islay through the years, extraordinary wedding traditions and their thoughts on the nature of community spirit on the island.

These are just a few of the wonderful stories which feature in our audio archive. If you want to discover more, head here to listen to the full collection of audio interviews. Looking forward, we are incredibly excited to be working with the COAST project to create bespoke visitor itineraries inspired by the stories of the West Coast. Look out for these on our website in the coming months!


Do you have a story you want to share about what the ‘Spirit of the Highlands and Islands’ means to you? Tell us here, we can’t wait to hear from you!


You can follow the work of the project at:

YouTube: @spiritofthehighlands

Facebook: @TheSpiritoftheHighlands

Instagram: @spiritofthehighlands

Twitter: @SpiritHighlands


The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is being delivered by High Life Highland, on behalf of The Highland Council, and aims to create and promote compelling and sustainable visitor experiences that celebrate the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands, past, present and future.

Through the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project, we will create assets including an interactive map and story archive to inspire greater exploration of the region. These will also establish authentic connections to local communities through their stories, engaging people with our rich natural and cultural heritage.

The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is a partnership project between The Highland Council and High Life Highland, which will be delivered in collaboration with VisitScotland. It is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). Reflecting the Spirit of the Highlands theme, it will encourage people to visit all parts of the Highlands in a sustainable way.