Kevin MacNeil's Coll Beach Sutra

Kevin MacNeil’s Coll Beach Sutra, appearing in the current issue of Art North magazine, is a text that was originally commissioned as part of a participatory artwork and digital anthology project by Scottish artist Katie Paterson. Paterson’s project, titled First There is a Mountain, is touring twenty-five high profile coastal art venues around the UK, and has involved the creation of an array of curiously shaped ‘buckets and spades’ with which the public are invited to ‘build mountains of sand, playing out the world’s natural geography against a series of tidal times.’ Each ‘bucket’ is a scale model of one of five mountains: Mount Kilimanjaro (Africa), Mount Shasta (N. America), Mount Fuji (Asia), Stromboli (Europe), and Uluru (Oceania) – each of which is nested together in a set. For further information about the project, visit:

Katie Paterson ,  First There is A Mountain  event at   Mostyn, Llandudno (West Shore Beach), 19 May 2019 (Photo credit: Lin Cummins)

Katie Paterson, First There is A Mountain event at Mostyn, Llandudno (West Shore Beach), 19 May 2019 (Photo credit: Lin Cummins)

Upcoming dates for Paterson’s First There is A Mountain, include: Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums (Ballroom Beach); The Pier Arts Centre, Orkney (Waulkmill Bay); An Lanntair, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis (Coll Beach); Taigh Chearsabhagh Museum and Arts Centre, North Uist (Baile Sear Beach); ATLAS Arts, Isle of Skye (Glenbrittle Beach); and Comar, Isle of Mull (Calgary Beach). A full its of venues can be found on the project website. The project began its tour at the Whitstable Biennale, Kent on Leysdown Beach, Isle of Sheppey in March, and continues its round-Britain tour, ending at Three Shells Beach near the Focal Point Gallery, Essex on 27 October.


Taking place each Sunday over the thirty-two week period of British Summer Time, each venue is staging events on their local sandy beach, with the artwork growing to form a time-based topographical map that connects the Earth’s oldest rocks with the UK’s geological landscape, and celebrating the local, national and international. Twenty-five new pieces of writing (of which Kevin MacNeil’s is one example), have been commissioned to correspond to each beach location. First There is a Mountain brings together celebrated authors, poets, geologists, earth scientists, ecologists, technologists, and art writers, and each text creatively responds to Paterson’s project. The diverse writings connect with each locality, relating the artwork to place, its people, history and wider geological context. MacNeil’s Coll Beach Sutra relates to Coll Beach, Stornoway, Isle of Lewis – Kevin MacNeil is a novelist, poet and playwright born and raised in the Outer Hebrides.