A Mull Sound Walk by Tobermory High with the BBC LAB


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Isle of Mull, United Kingdom

Walking piece details

Language Gaelic singing is included
Duration 15 minutes

A Mull Sound Walk by Tobermory High with the BBC LAB

Copyright: BBC L.A.B, BBC Learning, Scotland

‘A Mull Sound Walk’ is the third in a series of 4 new sound walks produced by high school children from towns and cities across Scotland with guidance from the BBC LAB team, with audio producer Anna Miles joining the team specifically for this project.

The BBC LAB is a wee outreach team that exists only in Scotland. Part of BBC Learning, it exists to share media skills with children and young people from a diverse range of backgrounds – often disadvantaged – across the whole of Scotland. The content we make with the young people (podcasts, short films, animations etc) is then published on the BBC LAB website and across BBC Learning’s social media channels.

Over the course of two school days, twelve S1 and S2 pupils from Tobermory High School on the Isle of Mull researched, scripted, presented and recorded a sound walk around the six locations that meant the most to them for a mixture of cultural, historical, geographical and personal reasons. The six locations visited on the sound walk are: Tobermory Pontoon/Ledaig car park, Calgary Beach, Eas Fors Waterfall, Killiechronan Beach, Salen Pier and Aros Park.

On the first day of the sound walk workshop, the pupils were taught how to use a Zoom recorder and mono gun mic, and given presenting tips. Collectively they then researched, wrote, recorded and presented their sound walk script links. Half of the pupils also worked with Scottish singer/songwriter Roddy Woomble (solo artist and frontman of the indie/folk band Idlewild) to create two original songs for the sound walk soundtrack, each based on a location they were to visit the following day.

Whilst the musical ability of the group was mixed, all of the group threw themselves enthusiastically and imaginatively into the process and putting their own personal stamp – such as Gaelic lyrics – firmly on the songs. In one day, the pupils wrote, performed and recorded the songs ‘Calgary Beach’ and ‘Salen Pier’, snippets of which can be heard during the sound walk itself. (N.B: The full songs are also going to be published on the BBC LAB website at a later date).

The second workshop day saw the pupils travel round the island to their six chosen locations. Whilst BBC LAB producer David Tennent and researcher Cindy Urbina focused on filming the pupils for a short social media film of the sound walk experience, audio producer Anna Miles and Chris O’Rourke recorded the children’s thoughtful descriptions of their surroundings, their poignant and fond memories linked to their chosen places and what the locations made them feel. Fond memories were shared of mother-daughter crabbing at Tobermory Pontoon, cantering on horses on Killiechronan Beach, imagining pirates at Salen Pier shipwrecks and evoking Lord of the Rings at Eas Fors waterfall. Before the heavens opened at Aros Park, one student even brought her bagpipes for a wee practice on Calgary Beach, and there was much singing of old Gaelic folk tunes on the minibus, to boot!

Having never written or performed a script or used a recorder before the workshop began, the children’s confidence in these arenas grew immensely by the end of the second day. As the sound walk came to a close, the BBC LAB held a short Q&A session with the pupils, in which they reflected on what they’d learned from the sound walk recording workshop and had a chance to ask the team any questions they wanted about production, making creative content and working in the media. The sound walk was then edited by audio producer Anna Miles.

The BBC LAB team is: Anna Miles (audio producer), Chris O’Rourke (Producer) David Tennent (Producer) Ciny O’Rourke (Researcher) Angela Roberts (Editor).

N.B: The Isle of Mull is located in the Scottish Inner Hebrides and is the fourth-largest island in Scotland and Great Britain. Of the 3000 people that live on the island, roughly a third are situated in its capital, Tobermory. Tobermory High School has 62 pupils in total and serves the whole island, along with children from the nearby Ardnamurchan peninsula. The island is famous for its whisky distilleries, wildlife, abundance of rain and beautiful beaches and countryside.

Travelling to Mull from the Scottish mainland takes an hour by ferry, though inclement weather often impacts travel. From Scotland’s largest cities, Glasgow and Edinburgh, it takes 3.5-4.5 hours to travel by car. In Mull and the adjacent islands Gaelic had been the traditional language since the early Middle Ages, and is still taught and spoken often on the island.


S1/S2 pupils at Tobermory High School, Isle of Mull, Scotland.
Roddy Woomble - Singer/songwriter, Idlewild
Anna Miles - Audio Producer, BBC LAB
Christopher O'Rourke - Producer, BBC LAB
David Tennent - Producer, BBC LAB
Cindy Urbina - Researcher, BBC LAB
Angela Roberts - Editor, BBC LAB
Mr Connor Weir - Music Teacher, Tobermory High School, Isle of Mull, Scotland
Hosted by: BBC LAB (BBC Scotland)

Near Isle of Mull, United Kingdom

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