THE largest puppet in the UK is set to take Scotland by storm when the 10-metre tall creation launches the Year of Coasts and Waters.

Thousands of people are expected to turn out to see the unveiling of the mythical goddess of the sea who will be higher than two stacked double decker buses, weigh around 500kg and need eight puppeteers as well as mechanical support to manipulate her movements.

Called Storm and made entirely from recycled and natural materials, she will tour the country’s cities, towns and villages where she will be used by communities to celebrate Scotland’s coasts and promote an environmental message.

Her debut will be made during Celtic Connections at a full day of special events anchored to the maritime traditions that have shaped the country’s history.

Coastal Connections, a one-off festival within the main festival, will take place at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on January 18.

Made by Edinburgh-based visual theatre company, Vision Mechanics, Storm will lead the celebrations in Glasgow accompanied by a specially commissioned soundscape from award-winning musician Mairi Campbell. Storm is the latest production from Vision Mechanics, who previously toured the giant puppet Big Man Walking across Scotland, transformed Drummohr House into the world of Oz, and installed Giants in the Forest across the UK.

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Artistic director Symon Macintyre said she had been two years in the making so far and was the company’s most ambitious project to date.

“We’re absolutely delighted that Storm’s first outing is just a couple of months away,” he said.

“We want to bring communities together to celebrate Scotland’s coastlines, spark discussions about the environment and what we can all do to care for it at this pivotal time in history.

‘‘What better way to do it than

with a 10 metre puppet leading the way? That’s something no-one can ignore.”

Macintyre added: “Storm is what I believe the arts should be, a forum where we collectively come together and reflect on who we are, declare our values and then act on them in a purposeful way. Storm is for communities everywhere, hopefully a place where we are moved to reflect and change our lives ultimately for the better and for the common good.”

Further announcements on Storm’s appearances will be made in the New Year.

Scotland’s Coasts and Waters will be showcased throughout 2020 and celebrated with a programme of activity designed to support the nation’s tourism and events sectors.

Coastal Connections will mark the start with a packed programme of ocean-themed music, talks, film, storytelling, exhibitions and workshops.

It will involve musicians from more than 20 islands, coasts and peninsulas including Tiree-based Skerryvore, Oban-founded Capercaillie, Hebridean super-group Daimh, North Uist-born Julie Fowlis, Gnoss from Shetland, Orkney roots group Fara, fiddler Gillian Frame from Arran and Ceol Nan Eilean from Benbecula.

Cape Breton’s Anita MacDonald and Ben Miller will appear, along with projects by Feis Rois, Lochaber-based Ingrid Henderson and award-winning duo Mairearad and Anna from the Black Isle and Wester Ross.

The waters around Scotland and the shore-to-shore journeys made by residents and visitors will be celebrated with a musical contribution from Ferry Tales, a forthcoming production from the National Theatre of Scotland, with the support of Caledonian MacBrayne.

Another highlight of the programme will be Launch!, an immersive performance combining footage from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution’s film archive with live music.

Created by award-winning film curator Shona Thomson and sound artist/beatboxer Jason Singh it draws inspiration from the footage, sounds and stories they discovered within the archive of the 200-year-old organisation.

Paul Bush, VisitScotland’s director of events, added: “Coastal Connections will be one of the early events to herald the arrival of Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020.”