Alastair McIntosh is a familiar face at Solas Festival. Raised on the Isle of Lewis, he’s a Scottish writer, broadcaster and activist on social, environmental and spiritual issues; he is married to Vérène Nicolas, who’s also speaking at this year’s festival.
Alastair is a Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology and a founding director of the GalGael Trust in Govan, Glasgow, which works for the regeneration of people and place. He was a trustee of the campaign that led to community buyout of the Isle of Eigg from its absentee landlord, an active campaigner against the creation of a ‘super quarry’ on Harris and as a Quaker, he is a regular guest lecturer on nonviolence at the UK Defence Academy.
Alastair is launching his latest book, Poacher’s Pilgrimage: An Island Journey, during the festival. In 2009, Alastair undertook an arduous 12-day pilgrimage across the islands of his birth – from the southernmost edge of Harris up to the Butt of Lewis in the north – crossing an ancient, remote landscape of holy wells, torrential rivers, stone circles, ‘beehive’ dwellings and Celtic spiritual sites. Ostensibly a physical journey, Alastair’s walk became a profound spiritual exploration of community and place.