Skip to main content

01 March, 2020

Call for music inspired by Scotland’s nature

Call for music inspired by Scotland’s nature: Beinn Eighe NNR - credit SNH-Lorne Gill

A new national contest is being launched today (1 March), calling on musicians of all genres – whether rock, rap, folk, classical or anything in between – to show their love of nature by writing music inspired by the coasts and waters of Scotland’s beautiful nature reserves.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and Fèis Rois have partnered up on this first-ever competition for Scotland to inspire people to connect with nature through music.

The competition, called In Tune with Nature, will be judged by a panel of well-known faces from the Scottish music industry – including Julie Fowlis, Vic Galloway, Gill Maxwell, and Karine Polwart – and is part of the celebrations for the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.

Entrants aged 16 and over are invited to compose a piece of music inspired by one of 10 national nature reserves across Scotland. Winners will receive a £500 cash prize, as well as the opportunity to take part in live performances throughout the year. Each winner will also make a film on the nature reserve which inspired their music with a professional film-maker.

Entries can be in any style of music, and may or may not include lyrics. References to local culture, language and tradition are encouraged. New Gaelic songs are particularly encouraged in the Beinn Eighe and Creag Meagaidh areas, as are songs written in Scots and regional dialects in other areas.

Stuart MacQuarrie, SNH’s Head of Nature Reserves, said:

“There’s so much to be inspired by on our nature reserves, particularly during the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. We have such an amazing variety of marine wildlife and seabirds in Scotland, as well as stunning beaches, lochs and rivers. It’s hard not to be inspired by such beauty!

“Music and nature have so much in common – they’re both moving and give us so much pleasure. We can’t wait to hear what people come up with to make us see these special places in a new light.”

Fiona Dalgetty, Chief Executive of Fèis Rois, added:

“We at Fèis Rois are thrilled to be collaborating on this new project with SNH to encourage musicians to create new work inspired by our beautiful landscapes in Scotland. We also believe that musicians have an invitation here to make a creative response to the climate challenge affecting our natural heritage in Scotland today. We look forward to receiving entries from all genres of musician.”

The contest opens 1 March and closes 31 May, with winners announced on 26 June. It is one of several special SNH events and projects to celebrate our coasts and waters and their wildlife during the themed year and raise awareness of the importance of healthy freshwater and seas.

For more information on how to enter and terms and conditions, see 


For more information, contact the SNH press office on or 0131 316 2655.

Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

The 10 National Nature Reserves( NNRs) featured in the competition include Beinn Eighe (Ross-Shire), Caerlaverock (Dumfries), Creag Meagaidh (Lochaber), Forvie (North East), Isle of May (Firth of Forth), Loch Leven (Perthshire), Noss (Shetland Islands), Rum (Inner Hebrides), Tentsmuir (Fife) and Taynish (Argyll).

 Judging panel: The competition will be judged by a panel including Gaelic singer, Julie Fowlis; broadcaster, Vic Galloway; Executive Director of the Scottish Music Centre, Gill Maxwell; and singer-songwriter, Karine Polwart.

There are 43 national nature reserves in Scotland. The reserves are Scotland’s natural crown jewels, showcasing the best of Scottish nature. They are special places, and they provide unique opportunities to visit, enjoy and learn more about Scotland’s nature. For more information, see

Based in the Highlands, but with a national and international reputation, Fèis Rois is one of Scotland’s leading arts organisations. Fèis Rois provides people of all ages with the opportunity to connect with traditional music and Gaelic culture in contemporary contexts. The organisation is widely recognised for its education programmes supporting young people and lifelong learners to engage with the traditional arts in a way that inspires them to reach their full potential. Fèis Rois regularly commissions new work from Scottish musicians. For more information see

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. We work to ensure that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

'S e Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba buidheann nàdair na h-Alba. Tha sinn ag obair airson ar n-àrainneachd nàdarra ann an Alba a thoirt am feabhas agus a h-uile duine a bhrosnachadh gus barrachd cùraim a ghabhail dhi. Gus am bi an nàdar air fad ann an Alba – ar prìomh àrainnean is chruthan-tìre, ar n-àiteachan uaine gu lèir is ar gnèithean dùthchasach - air an gleidheadh, air an leasachadh 's a' toirt bhuannachdan dhuinn. 'S e an dleastanas a th' oirnn uile co-chothrom ann an stiùireadh faiceallach ar saoghail nàdarra a ruighinn airson bith-iomadachd a ghleidheadh 's a leasachadh. Airson an tuilleadh fios, tadhail air an làraich-lìn againn aig no lean air Twitter sinn aig


Beinn Eighe NNR - credit SNH-Lorne Gill

Beinn Eighe NNR - credit SNH-Lorne Gill

View | Download

Forvie NNR - Drifting sand and marram grass on the dunes at Sands - credit Lorne Gill-SNH

Forvie NNR - Drifting sand and marram grass on the dunes at Sands - credit Lorne Gill-SNH

View | Download

Isle of Noss, Shetland - credit Lorne Gill-SNH

Isle of Noss, Shetland - credit Lorne Gill-SNH

View | Download

Puffins on the Isle of May - credit SNH-Lorne Gill

Puffins on the Isle of May - credit SNH-Lorne Gill

View | Download