A ship sailing along the walls of Dunvegan Castle may sound like a mariner's worse nightmare but it's happened...well sort of!
In an innovative film exploring its enduring role at the heart of Scotland’s west coast, CalMac has launched its Your West Coast campaign in collaboration with well-known band Skipinnish.
In the film, massive scale projections of campers roasting marshmallows light up the side of Duart Castle on Mull and the full height of Ardnamurchan Lighthouse suddenly transforms in to a highlander dancing a fling while Mingary Castle flickers with images of surfers running towards the waves.
Barrels are pounded in to shape on the elevation of Castle Stalker, a CalMac ferry dances with the tides in Oban Harbour and grainy footage of a woman casting a line shimmers on a rocky outcrop at Burg on Mull, while the company’s MV Loch Seaforth glides across the world-famous walls of Dunvegan Castle.
At three-and-a-half minutes long, the video incorporates imagery from the 1944 David MacBrayne film Islands of Youth and other new CalMac footage physically projected onto the west coast landscape.
It highlights both a modern sea change for the iconic Scottish ferry company, as well as the reassuring and enduring stability born of 165 years’ service.
It is hoped that Your West Coast will also inspire islanders and travellers alike to share their memories and stories about what Scotland’s western seaboard means to them, creating a unique record of first-hand accounts and tales captured in the individual voices of those who rely on these much-loved ferries – whether travelling fleetingly or regularly, from the Clyde to the Hebrides.
Unfolding to the melody and words of Home on the Sea by festival regulars Skipinnish – who fuse Highland tradition with contemporary sounds – Your West Coast was filmed at almost 30 locations by specialist Edinburgh projection company Double Take over 12 nights in the summer.
It encapsulates the importance of the ferries as lifeblood for the communities of the Clyde and Hebrides at work and at play; imagery and music tap into the special lure of the area as archival footage finds a comfortable home alongside bang-up-to-date clips of the modern isles and today’s life and pursuits.
High-powered projectors beamed images on to an incredible array of subjects from entire mountains, ancient castles and a cathedral, to rowing boats, harbours and a bothy. Each projection was recorded using timelapse cameras and the film was created from this footage.
Footage captured on Islay, Cumbrae and Eigg also features.
“We are a progressive, modern company,” said CalMac’s Managing Director Martin Dorchester. “But we are also proud of our heritage and this film combines old and new seamlessly as we look ahead with great pride to the future.
“The state-of-the-art projection technology captures much of the essence of Scotland’s western islands and Highlands, as those who live there go about their daily lives. CalMac is part of those lives – past, present and future.
“There is a really special quality to the film and we are delighted with the result and its celebration of the very people and places which form the beating heart of the Clyde and Hebrides.”
The lyrics that soundtrack the video echo the images on screen. “See the wash roll off the bow, and caress familiar colour, her black and white of beauty, as red lions proudly guard her”, sings Skipinnish’s Norrie MacIver, poetically describing CalMac’s distinctive livery.
Skipinnish’s Angus Macphail is pleased with how the film turned out: “Skipinnish have so many good memories of CalMac journeys over the years and the feeling of getting on the ferry still makes me excited. I hope our positive feelings towards the ferries, the shore staff, and the crew come across in the song. The video really captures the magic of CalMac and the West Coast of Scotland – it makes me want to jump on a ferry and head for the Hebrides!”
Memories and tales of Scotland’s west coast can be shared by joining the conversation on social media, tag @CalMacFerries and use the hashtag #YourWestCoast – they can be about observations or experiences, funny or serious, happy or sad, past or present, or even about hopes for the future. They can be about the ferries themselves, towns or villages, islands or mainland, sea or shore, people or places.
CalMac is hoping that what moves these contributors to share their thoughts will also inspire others to add to the collection.
The film and a collection of vignette videos captured throughout the summer at events like Best of the West Festival and Iona Music Festival are available on CalMac’s website at www.calmac.co.uk/your-west-coast and on the YouTube channel at https://youtu.be/GvS_qhhjnuA
The track is available to download from iTunes now https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/id1155576352?app=itunes A Gaelic version of the song has also been written.