A tour of Scotland's islands, a plan for an epic poem and a project to put the languages of Scotland into verse are all part of the plans of Scotland's national poet, or Makar, Jackie Kay.

Ms Kay, who was appointed as the third Makar in March, is to embark on Ferlie Leed, a poetic tour of the Highlands and Islands, with a series of events in the more far-flung spaces of Scotland, beginning in Dunoon and moving on to North Uist, Stornoway and Shetland.

Ferlie Leed, a Scots expression which Ms Kay said has translated to 'wondrous talk', said she wants to visit as much of the country as she can in her five year term as Makar.

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In her travels, which she will engage in the spring and autumn, she will write a stanza of poetry for each place, so that by the end of her term she will produce an epic poem encompassing Scotland.

Ms Kay also wants to instigate a project she is calling My Scotland, where writers and members of the public contribute poems in all the languages spoken in the country - her aim is then for the poems to be displayed in an exhibition alongside portraits of the poets.

Ms Kay has been busy: she has written a poem for Rannoch Moor, and is working on poems for Scottish Ballet, the National Portrait Gallery, a project in Kilmarnock and a poem for the new Queensferry Crossing bridge over the Forth.

Ms Kay, who was hosting an event in Elgin earlier this week, will launch her first tour as national poet today, which is National Poetry Day.

Kay will launch the tour as part of a short set during a live event curated by Edinburgh-based literary, music and short film showcase Neu! Reekie!

Other performers include rapper Louie from Hector Bizerk, hip hop artist Werd, musician Panda Su, and poets Michael Pedersen and Kevin Williamson.

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She said: "Ferlie Leed, it's an old Scots expression, and 'wondrous talk' is the closest I can get to it - but I like the idea that if you listened to it in English you might hear 'Fairly Led', and so you might think about a journey.

"I like the idea that it is 'wondrous talk', but it has other sound associations with it. It is like an old term, like the Makar, that has come back.

"I like the idea too that old words are given new meaning, by being in different contexts, or different times, they get to have a different life."

Of her tour she added: "I said I would like to take poetry to expected and unexpected places, with a particular focus on the highlands and islands, because it seems to me they don't get as much attention, the big cities get the attention.

"I've had loads of requests from all sorts of places, too many, so they have gone into next year's 'Makar file'."

"I like the idea of going to the islands in the winter, and not the easiest time, because people get very depressed in those islands and very isolated, so I just thought: I will go and cheer people up a bit. People are very serious about writing in the islands because of the tradition of not only poetry but music."

She said Dunoon hold a personal interest for her: "My parents were involved in the anti-Polaris demonstrations and were arrested in the early sixties in Dunoon.

"One night in jail for my Dad and for my Mum they locked the overflow in the Catholic Church as there was no room left in the prison."

Read more: Checklist - 11 things to do in Scotland this weekend

She added: "I’ve always wanted to visit Lewis and have heard so many stories about it. I gave my son his middle name Lewis after the island."

The poet said "islands are like stanzas - poetry hopefully crosses land and sea." She added: "I hope the weather isn't blowing up an absolute hoolie – but I like the idea of going to Shetland and Lewis and Uist at the back end of the year. You can get to know a place better in the winter. All aboard the Makarship.’

Asif Khan, director of the Scottish Poetry Library, says: "The SPL is delighted to support Jackie’s first tour as Makar.

"No one can doubt the ambition of the National Poet as she announces a tour that will take poetry all over Scotland, to places great and small, during her five year term."

Jenny Niven, head of literature, at Creative Scotland, said: "It’s exactly what you’d expect from Jackie Kay: a fresh and inspiring approach, absolutely rooted in the people and language and places of Scotland.

"Both Edwin Morgan and Liz Lochhead, the exceptional writers who have held this position before her each made it absolutely their own, using it in their own particular ways to bring us fantastic new work, and to show how poetry truly enriches people’s lives.

"This opening program from Jackie shows she intends to do just that from the beginning – and illustrates very neatly why she’s going to be a fabulous Makar.’