Thursday 20 May 2021

Workshop on Columba by Alex Aldred, Poet in Residence, Historic Environment Scotland


Approaching Iona by CalMac ferry from Mull

The photo above brings back many happy memories of days on Iona, the small and very beautiful island where Columba is said to have landed with twelve followers in 563 AD.

David, who is a member of Historic Environment Scotland, mentioned that a series of creative writing workshops were being run on Zoom by HES to mark the birth of Columba 1500 years ago. I was keen to find out more and signed up for the first, which took place this evening on the topic of Columba, the Exile.   

Alex Aldred, Poet in Residence for Historic Environment Scotland, led the workshop, giving participants information on Columba, along with prompts for creative writing and time for the sharing of our ideas. It was a very enjoyable way to spend 90 minutes, and I have come away (so to speak) with a raft of enthusiasm, pages of notes and a couple of poems in draft.  

The workshop inspired me to revisit my Iona photos, taken on several occasions ...

The Abbey on Iona (2014)

Exquisite cloister carving by Chris Hall

Fabulous beaches on Iona

Crystal-clear water

The view from the ferry

Setting sail for Fionnphort, Mull

One of my abiding memories is of the colossal wave of wingbeats as the wild geese hurtled up the Sound. 

Of all the Inner Hebridean islands, Skye is the one I know best. It contains a small inland island named after Columba. It is a tranquil (if usually damp) spot, and a beautifully tucked-away corner of the Misty Isle.   

St Columba's Isle, Skye

Thank you, Alex, for an inspiring evening.

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