'The Coast that Shaped the World’ project will gather maritime stories from 20 destinations across the west coast – stories that shaped our coastal communities into what they are today and which convey how our maritime cultural and natural heritage helped to shape the world.

Kilchoan Ferry

Funded by a grant from the Scottish Natural Heritage’s Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF), which is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the project is part of a new £5 million Scottish programme of projects to invest in the Highlands and Islands - to provide more high-quality opportunities for visitors to enjoy natural and cultural heritage assets.  Match funding has been committed by West Highland College UHI and Caledonian MacBrayne (CalMac) which gives the whole project a value of over £500,000.

This is a community-led project, which gathers stories from the people within the communities themselves, with the intention of attracting people to come to the less-visited areas of the west coast of Scotland. The aim is to help sustain local communities and businesses, and to protect and share our rich natural and cultural heritage through these high-quality visitor experiences.

A website, app and programme of immersive and innovative digital exhibitions will be developed along the west coast of Scotland, using augmented and virtual reality for example, to bring the maritime heritage stories to life, in many cases where the event unfolded through GPS triggers. This will be complemented by a series of physical, inspirational and interactive installations in museums, galleries and heritage centres in west coast communities.

Led by the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research, The Coast that Shaped the World is a large-scale collaboration between West Highland College UHI and the West Coast Waters (WCW) tourism initiative. West Coast Waters is a collaboration of 20 west coast destinations and tourism organisations collectively representing over 2,500 tourism interests across the west coast of Scotland. It is supported by the key public agencies and travel partners in the area.

The project runs until December 2022 alongside the 2020 Year of Coasts and Waters and the 2022 Year of Storytelling.