I don’t often post about what I have been doing, however on this occasion I will make an exception. I was invited to speak at a residential weekend held at Ardtornish House on the Morven Peninsula. This is a part of Scotland I had never seen before and it is incredibly beautiful. It is by no means an easy journey to reach the spot requiring a ferry journey and careful driving on single track roads, never the less it is well worth the effort.
The Ardtornish Estate scores highly in sustainability with a well developed hydro power scheme and a strong conservation ethos running through its operation. It is also the home of the Andrew Raven Trust which has held these annual get-togethers for a nearly a decade. This particular weekend had the theme of “Water – a resource for flourishing communities”. It was graced by a heady mixture of artists, musicians, scientists, poets and journalists and it was a privilege to be involved.
Katrina Porteous read some of her poetry concerning the history, traditions and language of the Northumbrian fishing community where she lives and works. Patricia and Angus Macdonald showed us some breathtaking aerial photographs of Scotland mainly on the theme of water in the landscape. You can see some of these here.
There was also a fascinating look at the underwater flora and fauna of the waters around the site including cold water corals, sea anemones, sea feathers, large stinging jelly fish, sea turtles and basking sharks.
On a boat rip out into the Sound of Mull we were lucky to see otters, seals and a gorgeous sea eagle.
But it was not all fun and games. James Ferguson, author and journalist, presented a fascinating and frightening insight into the water resource challenges in the 21st century in particular how water resources lie at the heart of much of the conflict in the Middle East.
All in all this was an intriguing, thoughtful and uplifting few days, and this old cynic feels much the better for it.