The 1st EOL Field Mission: A learning exchange with the Scottish Coastal Communities Network

In March 2022, Edinburgh Ocean Leaders (EOL) held the first field mission after two years of postponement due to covid-19.

This mission was located around the Knoydart Peninsula in Scotland, traditionally known as the ‘rough bounds’ because of its wild terrain

Knoydart is one of the most remote areas of mainland Britain surrounded by the rich marine life of the west coast of Scotland and dotted with coastal communities whose livelihoods are tied closely to the health of the marine ecosystem.

The EOL group stayed at the remote Doune Lodge, only accessible by boat or on foot.

The aim of the EOL field mission is for the Ocean Leaders to come together as a group and explore complex ocean issues, using their diverse expertise for team work, problem solving and strategies for positive change.

This mission included members of the 2020 and 2021 Ocean Leader cohorts; members of the International Advisory Panel along with the EOL team.

The group used a boat to visit remote coastal communities.

Knoydart is not accessible by road and so the journey began catching a ferry from Mallaig. While in Mallaig, the group visited the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RLNI)– the most westerly lifeboat station in the British mainland. They had a tour of the lifeboat and learnt about the important work of the RLNI from members of the lifeboat crew.

The RLNI lifeboat in Mallaig is the most westerly lifeboat station on the British mainland.

Once in Knoydart, EOL spent three days connecting with three remote coastal community groups.

Two groups were located on the mainland; Knoydart Loch Nevis and Friends of Loch Hourn. The South Skye Seas Initiative was located on the neighbouring Isle of Skye.

Meeting with the Knoydart Loch Nevis coastal community group.

The meetings were facilitated by Alan Munro the coordinator of the Coastal Communities Network (CCN) – a network of 23 individual community-led groups across Scotland. The groups started independently but have come together in the CCN united in their belief locally appropriate action is needed to protect and restore Scotland’s marine ecosystems.


Meeting with Friends of Loch Hourn.

During the meetings, there was recognition that from the remote coasts of Scotland to Cabo Verde and Panama, strong similarities arise with the struggles and complexities of local communities attempting to manage and protect their local marine ecosystems.

Arnisdale on Loch Hourn. The home of the Friends of Loch Hourn coastal community group.

The meetings were a learning exchange that went in both directions, as the community groups could draw on the expertise of the Ocean Leaders, while the Ocean Leaders recognised issues that could relate to their own work in their home countries.

The EOL group on the Knoydart Peninsula.

Featured title photo (L-R): Ocean Leaders Yolanda Sanchez, Tommy Melo, Shirley Binder and Umair Shahid. Article by Amber Carter.

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