Icons of Whisky Scotland PR Agency of the Year 2020
Small PR Consultancy of the Year 2022

Small PR Consultancy of the Year 2022

Icons of Whisky Scotland PR Agency Highly Commended

Edinburgh-based Beeline PR specialises in:

Public Relations | Crisis and Reputation Management | Brand Building

We can:

create maximum impact through strategic communications

raise the awareness of your brand or organisation

support your business objectives

identify and communicate with target audiences

provide white-label services for other creative agencies

 

About Beeline PR

Beeline PR Team

Debbie Byers

debbie@beelinepr.com

CIPR

Debbie was Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) in Scotland 2009/10 and also scooped the CIPR Award for Best PR Consultant under the age of 30 in Scotland in 1998.

Debbie Byers, Director

Debbie Byers established Beeline PR in September 2011.  The independent agency works with corporate clients and consumer brands as well as other creative agencies looking for strategic PR and business development support.  Services include brand building, media relations, business-to-business marketing support, crisis communications and reputation management, stakeholder and political engagement and social media strategy.

Each client is provided with a strategic tailored approach to both its campaign planning and the dedicated team selected to implement the activity.  Beeline PR is affiliated to a number of organisations and consultants to create positive working relationships for the benefit of the client.   

With more than two decades of experience, Debbie worked for leading PR consultancies in Edinburgh, London and Glasgow before establishing Beeline PR.

She is a business degree graduate and the past Chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in Scotland representing its 750-strong membership from the private, public and charitable sectors.

Debbie has fostered a broad experience across consumer, business-to-business and corporate campaigns as well as issue-led media relations working across all sectors from financial and professional services to food and drink. 

In June 2018, Debbie also launched a purpose-lead motivational speaker agency, Speaker Buzz.  It is on a mission to inspire change by representing speakers with an authentic story to tell that can address today’s challenges from mental health and wellbeing, diversity and inclusion to social impact.

Debbie sits on the Executive Team of WeDO Scotland, which provides powerful and proven entrepreneurial support enabling its members to scale their businesses and maximise their growth potential.


Jim Byers, Director

Jim brings more than 20 years’ experience in journalism, communications and marketing to Beeline PR.

His career began in journalism, first as a feature writer in Edinburgh and later as an editor in London. During the first dot-com boom, he was content editor of a pioneering music website in London.

In Glasgow, Jim broadened his skills at a content and communications agency in Glasgow, where he managed print and digital projects for various clients, including The Scotch Malt Whisky Society’s award-winning Unfiltered magazine.

On his return to Edinburgh, Jim moved into PR with specialist drinks marketing agency, Steely Fox. As associate director, he worked on variety of projects over several years ranging from brand creation and strategy, to experiential events, content creation and traditional PR.

A lifelong music fan, Jim also runs Edinburgh Music Lovers (EML). His mission with EML is to help make Edinburgh a music city.


Katie Spence, Senior Account Manager

A former journalist, Katie has forged a successful career in strategic media relations, campaigns, crisis and issues management, with more than 15 years’ experience across a range of senior roles in public sector communications. 

Katie led a team of six while at the helm of the City of Edinburgh Council’s fast-paced and busy press office, promoting the organisation’s strategic priorities and achievements and leading its media response to crises. She led the media launch of Edinburgh Trams in May 2014, managed media at Harry and Meghan’s first joint visit to Edinburgh and juggled multiple reactive issues every day in service of the Council’s external reputation.

After reading Classics at Cambridge under the tutelage of Dame Mary Beard, Katie worked variously as an English teacher in Paris, an event coordinator for wedding music in London and as a nanny in Venice while pursuing her first love of classical singing. Switching to journalism aged 25, she worked in York and Edinburgh as a news reporter before discovering she preferred being on the ‘other side’ as a public relations practitioner. 


Jane Lynchehaun, Senior Account Manager 

Following the completion of her post-graduate diploma in PR at Queen Margaret University, Jane has developed her love of communicating and storytelling professionally since 2015. 

During her seven-year career in PR she has worked with a range of B2B clients in the technology, renewables, investment, fintech, startup, life science and manufacturing sectors, to name a few. She also has experience working with Third Sector organisations.

Jane strives to build a strong foundation of knowledge and understanding about each client that she works with, allowing her to deliver robust, insightful and impactful campaigns.

With strong media relationships and communication skills, her experience includes the launch of manufacturing innovators Vert Rotors’ ground-breaking air compressor design, driving media relations for The Scottish Government’s CivTech Accelerator programme, and promoting SSE’s renewable energy services for businesses. 

Before her PR career took off, Jane learned about Australian agriculture and the rules of rodeo during her time working for the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW, studied the full spectrum of human nature whilst working in several hospitality roles and helped to roll out a new smart card initiative when working at The Law Society of Scotland. 

John Hatfield, Associate and Media Training Consultant 

John supports Beeline PR with copy writing for white papers, reports and in-depth comment pieces on behalf of our clients.  He is a former equities analyst, journalist, columnist and editor on national newspapers including the FT and Scotsman.  Also, the former head of media relations at ScottishPower. 
 
John also offers media training for our clients.  He is highly experienced in this area having trained a wide range of blue-chip clients including one in ten FTSE100, global professional services firms and public bodies, some of which are listed. 

Alan Twigg
Alan Twigg, Consultant Creative Director

Alan is an award-winning consumer communications consultant with more than 25 years’ experience developing creative comms strategies and building standout 360 brand communications campaigns for clients across consumer and lifestyle sectors from FMCG, retail and food and drink to sport, automotive, gaming, hospitality and travel and tourism.

A Scot based in London, he has led a number of agencies over the years and now works between direct clients and select agencies, including Beeline PR, supporting and directing on both business and creative development.  

Alan has worked on many leading brands and household names including Red Bull, Nintendo, expedia, McVities, Dominos, The National Lottery, UEFA Champion’s League, Continental Tyres, Hamleys, M&S, Waterstones, The Balvenie, Glenfiddich, Highland Park, Whyte & Mackay, Peroni, Yo! Sushi and InterContinental Hotels...to name but a few. 

Alan and Debbie worked together in London more than 20 years ago and have maintained their professional working relationship and friendship ever since.

Julie Dunn, Social Media Manager

Julie combines 15 years of brand marketing experience and experience in strategic social media management to create engaging content for the social platforms of Beeline PR’s clients.  

Lorna Husband, Trainee Account Executive

Lorna is a graduate of Queen Margaret University in Edinburgh where she studied International Tourism and Hospitality Management, during which she developed a passion for marketing and communications.
 
She has some marketing and events experience under her belt having enjoyed roles with Bon Accord Soft Drinks, LovEvents and Brose Oats.  She has also founded her own luxury soy wax candle company @sticklebackco  


Lauren Stewart, Client Services Executive

She is our hot shot administrator who helps the Beeline PR team with scheduling meetings, compiling client reports, marketing, and new business development. 

Lauren held similar administrative roles at the NHS for several years and more recently during the countdown to launch phase of the new Gleneagles Townhouse in the heart of Edinburgh.


Carol Graham, Financial Controller

Carol enjoyed an almost 20-year career with the global technology company, IBM, where the focus was on finding the right solutions for customers to build smarter businesses.
 
She was awarded the prestigious 'Best of IBM' award in 2017 for her achievements and contributions, a global recognition award for the top contributors to IBM’s business.

Carol is experienced in all business operations, from financial modelling and forecasting to negotiating and delivering.


Tino Nombro

Tino Nombro, Non-Executive Director 

Tino is an experienced business advisor and entrepreneur who helps develop Beeline PR’s growth. Tino founded and sold digital marketing company Ambergreen and advises a number of other companies. He is also a board member of the Homeless World Cup Foundation and advises Beeline PR’s sister business, Speaker Buzz sharing the ethos of inspiring positive change.


Bagel Byers

Bagel Byers, Wellness Manager

Contributes to walking meetings and end of day wind downs.  Sadly, not allowed in the office until our dog friendly policy changes so works from home.

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How we can help

As a small PR business with a carefully managed portfolio of clients, Beeline PR can offer senior level support and commitment at all times.  In addition to working with our own clients, we provide a white-label service to other PR consultancies and creative agencies that need support driving busy projects or assistance with securing new business.

Recent News from Beeline PR

31 January 2023

FROM EDINBURGH EPIPHANY TO WORLDWIDE WHISKY CLUB, SOCIETY CELEBRATES 40TH ANNIVERSARY & APPROACHES 40,000 MEMBERS

Year-long series of special activities announced by The Scotch Malt Whisky Society as it closes in on 40,000-member milestone

Having been dismissed by industry experts in 1983 as an idea that would never work, a whisky club started ‘for a lark’ by a maverick whisky enthusiast in Edinburgh is this year celebrating its 40th anniversary and approaching 40,000 members around the world.
 
For four decades, The Scotch Malt Whisky Society (SMWS) has specialised in releasing ‘whisky in its purest form’ - mainly single malt whiskies bottled from single casks that are not diluted with water, artificially coloured or chill-filtered to prevent it going cloudy when water or ice is added. 
 
Now The Scotch Malt Whisky Society, which has grown to include around 30 branches across the world including China, Australia and the USA, is marking this new milestone in its journey with a year-long series of special releases, events, collaborations and happenings, all inspired by its founder’s unorthodox outlook.  
 
Alongside commemorative bottles and special releases for the 40th year, the Society’s anniversary activities over the next 12 months include innovative creations such as a chilli-tinged whisky, collaborations with a ‘thrill engineer’ and a top-secret world-record attempt. 
 
The Society will also launch a new podcast series featuring maverick and game changing characters from around the world and assemble a first-ever female-only tasting panel to select future releases.
 
The worldwide whisky club was started in 1983 by then Edinburgh-based accountant Pip Hills. The idea came after he’d experienced an epiphany discovering that whisky drawn straight from a cask had much more flavour compared with that era’s choice of off-the-shelf whisky. 
 
His ingenious idea of forming a club in Edinburgh to share these ‘pure’ single cask whiskies with others and making whisky more fun by using wine-tasters’ terminology to describe flavours was a game-changer at a time when the Scotch industry was perceived as dull and in decline.
 
Four decades on, the whisky industry is booming - thanks in part to pioneers like Hills - while the Society is also thriving. Despite being told by industry experts that his idea of a whisky club would never work, the Society now has around 30 branches around the world, over 100 partner bars worldwide, has bottled whisky from over 180 different distilleries and has more than 37,000 members.  The club is part of the Artisanal Spirits Company plc group, known for creation and curation of outstanding limited edition whisky and artisanal sprits for premium drinks lovers around the world.  
 
The Society’s year of celebrations also include the release of a special short film about its origins which documents the whisky epiphany Hills experienced when he first sampled single cask whisky at an Aberdeenshire farm. Other plans involve the release of more sherry-cask matured whiskies, and new releases from distilleries the Society has never bottled from before.
 
Andrew Dane, CEO of Artisanal Spirts Company plc which owns the Society, said: “They say ‘mighty oaks from little acorns grow’ and that is true of the Society’s story. It’s incredible to think that a small gathering of pals sharing single cask whisky in Edinburgh has grown into this worldwide club.  It seems apt that in our 40th year, we are closing in on reaching 40,000 members, worldwide.”
 
As we enter our fifth decade, we’re incredibly excited. Our Spirits Team is hard at work seeking out incredible casks and we continue to bring people together to explore the flavours of whisky and create new friendships. Our members and adventurous whisky fans looking to join the Society can expect to see a few surprises during our 40th anniversary year. Watch this space…”

Society founder Hills, said: “I started the whole thing for a lark. At the time, most of the Scotch whisky industry was very dull and most of the whisky wasn’t up to much. I had had no great liking for whisky, but when I first tried whisky drawn straight from a cask, it was an epiphany – this whisky tasted astonishing and quite unlike any whisky I’d drunk before. I shared some with my friends and they loved it too, so it seemed like a good idea to share it with more people. 
 
“When we started the Society and began to share the ‘secret’ of single cask whisky with others, there’s no doubt that we began to alter people’s attitudes, so that they came to see that behind the branded sameness of Scotch whisky there lay a world of variety and interest, as well as a drink that tasted a lot better than what they were used to. The great thing was that we had a lot of fun doing and people joined the Society in their thousands to share in the fun, as well as to get their hands on the whisky.”
 
https://smws.com
 

26 January 2023

ORGANISATIONS TEAM UP WITH LOCAL COLLEGES FOR NEW VISITOR ECONOMY WEEK SHOWCASING EXCITING TOURISM CAREER OPPORTUNITIES IN SOUTH SCOTLAND

South of Scotland Visitor Economy Week in March will highlight rewarding careers in tourism and hospitality across the region

A range of organisations and further and higher education centres in the South of Scotland have teamed up to launch a new South of Scotland Visitor Economy Week in March.

The dedicated information and awareness week, which organisers hope will be an annual fixture, aims to encourage young people and people wishing to re-train or change career to learn more about jobs in tourism and the wider visitor economy to help boost the local economy in today’s challenging financial climate.

Whether it’s working at an adventure centre, taking visitors on guided walking and dark sky tours, running distillery tours and tastings for independently-crafted spirits and whiskies, preparing gourmet meals at country inns or helping to conserve natural heritage for generations to enjoy, there are endless career possibilities within the tourism sector.

Tourism is a major component of the Scottish economy, supporting business activity and employment opportunities across the whole of Scotland; in the south of Scotland, now is the time for us to tell amazing stories of our region and be part of an exciting and diverse visitor economy.

With an exciting year ahead for the region after it was named one of Lonely Planet’s 30 Best in Travel destinations for 2023 and with the opening of the new Coast to Coast cycle route this summer, there are more and more new opportunities to get involved in the visitor economy.
 
The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA), Borders College, Dumfries and Galloway College, South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Borders and D&G, Open University and Third Sector D&G are taking part in the new week-long tourism jobs promotion week from 8 – 14 March 2023. This week will showcase the employment & education opportunities within the South of Scotland tourism sector, highlighting the benefits of the tourism industry as a career of choice. 

Aimed at young people, those looking for a rewarding career or anyone keen to enhance existing skills or change career completely, Visitor Economy Week will give you the information you need, with a programme of events, including two business breakfast networking sessions hosted by the Open University – one in the Borders, one in Dumfries & Galloway. At these events, business representatives and other attendees can find out more about relevant Open University courses and the upskilling opportunities available to them and their employees. 
 
South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is also excited to announce that the 2023 Visitor Economy Week will culminate with the South of Scotland annual Tourism Conference at Peebles Hydro on Tuesday 14 March. With a line-up of informative and inspiring speakers, it’s a must-attend event. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

Melanie Allen, Interim Chief Executive of the SSDA, said: “At the SSDA our key mission is to make the South of Scotland a must-visit year-round destination, and giving whatever support we can to the tourism and hospitality sector is critical to this. Businesses are providing some fantastic opportunities to work in industry at the moment; Visitor Economy Week is about sharing our passion for tourism and hospitality, building a resilient future workforce for the region and stimulating innovation and entrepreneurship.

“Tourism is already a vital part of the local economy, with growing numbers of opportunities for rewarding careers helping visitors to discover all the fantastic things the south of Scotland has to offer. With stunning landscapes to walk, cycle, swim and fish in, fascinating history, fabulous places to stay, eat and drink and the friendliest welcome, the best of Scotland really does start here. Come and find out all you need to know about starting your career in tourism and help us give this incredible region the recognition it deserves.”

Anne-Marie Sturrock, Vice Principal from the Borders College said: Borders College are delighted to be part of South of Scotland Visitor Economy Week in March 2023. This is an exciting time for the South of Scotland and, of course, the Borders region. We look forward to working with our partners to showcase not only the beauty of South of Scotland as a travel destination but also highlight the diverse range of qualifications and employment opportunities within the travel and tourism sector. We will be hosting a number of activities to coincide with the week.”

Eva Milroy, Dumfries and Galloway College Account Manager, saidThe Visitor Economy in the South of Scotland offers such a huge variety of career opportunities. Dumfries and Galloway College are excited to be part of the series of events and initiatives that will showcase what the sector has to offer, how we support businesses and individuals that are involved in it or want to become involved in it. Come and join us in March to be part of the journey to put the South of Scotland on the global stage!”

Kevin Greenfield, Programme Manager from Developing Young Workforce Borders (DYW Borders), said: “Developing the Young Workforce connects businesses to students offering practical activities, work-based learning, inspiration workshops and site visits, across the region. We help young people get ready for the world of work, developing skills needed by employers, promoting the range of careers in each industry, and highlighting the pathways to get there, such as apprenticeships, further education or entrepreneurship.

“During Visitor Economy Week our team of school coordinators will work with partners to showcase the breadth of careers in hospitality and tourism, demonstrating the rewarding opportunities the sector offers.”

Justin Thomas, Developing Young Workforce Dumfries & Galloway (DWG DG) Programme Manager, said: “The hospitality sector is always looked at with certain perceptions – part time work, long hours, weekend job only, poor pay, no prospects to list but a few.  Over six years, DWG DG has been working on trying to alter these perceptions by working with our region’s fantastic businesses to bring realistic, work-focused, work-ready projects to our region’s young people.”
 
“DYW DG is delighted to be supporting Visitor Economy Week 2023 by continuing our ‘Be Our Guest’ programmes which include numerous businesses meeting with young people in both schools and to those over the age of 18 who may currently be job-seeking.”

Jane Morrison-Ross, CEO of South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), said: SOSE is delighted to be supporting the upcoming South of Scotland Visitor Economy Week 2023. Tourism and hospitality are key to the success our local economy, and this initiative is a great opportunity to work collaboratively in showcasing the breadth of careers available in the sector.
 
“With the inclusion of our region in the Lonely Planet’s Best Travel Destinations 2023, now is the perfect time to highlight not only the many attractions there are for visitors, but the opportunities available to begin your career in the sector.
 
“I encourage anyone who is interested in starting their career in tourism or hospitality to attend the events taking place in March.“

David Allen, Senior Partnerships Manager at The Open University Scotland, said: “The Open University in Scotland is delighted to be supporting the South of Scotland Visitor Economy Week in March and helping to shine a light on the fantastic career opportunities this vibrant and economically important sector brings to the South of Scotland. 

“As a world leader in providing innovative, flexible and online distance learning opportunities to individuals and businesses, the Open University in Scotland offers a vast range of high-quality, business orientated, short-course and microcredential provision, the majority of which can now be provided at low or no cost to you or your businesses. This means it’s never been easier, or as cost effective, for businesses in the South of Scotland to upskill, reskill or grow their workforce talent and we look forward to showcasing our offer to businesses during Visitor Economy Week.”

Marc Crothall, CEO of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “This is a first-class initiative to promote the tourism and hospitality industry as an excellent career choice. This is a diverse, interesting, rewarding and engaging industry to work in and at the very heart of the 21st century economy in Scotland.”
 
The South of Scotland Visitor Economy Event is a partnership event with The South of Scotland Destination Alliance, Borders College, Dumfries & Galloway College, SOSE, Developing Young Workforce (DYW) Borders and D&G, Open University, Third Sector D&G.

More information on the events planned will be available online in the coming weeks.
Archive images are available to download.
 

23 January 2023

WEAVE YOUR WAY THROUGH HISTORY WITH TWO FASCINATING DRIVING TRAILS THROUGH THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance has created bespoke themed routes following in the footsteps of Robert Burns and inspired by the Great Tapestry of Scotland

Two new driving trails have been formally launched by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) and partners today, designed to immerse visitors in the story-filled landscape of the south of Scotland as they follow in the footsteps of Robert Burns and experience the parts of the region immortalised in the magnificent Great Tapestry of Scotland.  

Created using new digital functionality funded through VisitScotland’s Destination and Sector Marketing Fund, the Great Tapestry Trail and the Burns Trail on the SSDA’s Scotland Starts Here website have been painstakingly curated to guide visitors around key landmarks in the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway, highlighting great places to stay, eat and discover along both themed journeys.

Sarah Macdonald,  SSDA Project Lead – Stories Experience Collection, who co-designed both trails for Scotland Starts Here, said: “The south of Scotland is absolutely jam-packed with fascinating stories and heritage just waiting to be discovered. In developing these two new driving trails, we’ve worked hard with our partners to showcase the stand-out highlights of our region’s connections with both Burns and the Great Tapestry, while weaving in lots of useful recommendations for fantastic places to stay, eat, drink and visit along the way.

“It’s especially exciting to be unveiling these new trails in 2023, which promises to be such a momentous year for the whole of the south of Scotland – not only were we named among the 30 best places in the world to visit this year by Lonely Planet but we’re champing at the bit to launch our epic new 250-mile Coast to Coast cycle route from Stranraer to Eyemouth this summer.”

Joan McAlpine, Business Development Manager at Burns’ former home Ellisland Museum & Farm, which features in both trails, said: "Ellisland is the only home built by Burns and definitely the best preserved and most authentic and romantic. Some of Burns’ most creative years were spent in Dumfriesshire and of course he was greatly inspired by the Borders, so bringing the two together in both these fantastic new trails makes perfect sense. "

Sandy Mawell-Forbes, Centre Director The Great Tapestry of Scotland, said: “We are delighted to be have been part of this fantastic project with SSDA. Many of the 160 panels in the Great Tapestry of Scotland feature the compelling and rich history of the people and landscape of the south of Scotland. The Tapestry trail vividly brings stories to life of history, heritage, battles and culture across the entire region. It is such a compelling journey travelling to locations which feature in the tapestry, everyone will find something to explore and intrigue them. 

Annique Armstrong, VisitScotland Destination Development Director for the South of Scotland, said: “The South of Scotland is steeped in history and these itineraries will help bring to life the region’s fascinating past, encouraging visitors to uncover the  hidden gems, attractions and diverse places to eat and drink.
 
“By encouraging visitors to stay longer, visit all year round and explore more widely, they can in turn contribute to the sustainable quality of life of the communities they encounter. Tourism is a force for good. It creates jobs, sustains communities and contributes significantly to the economy.”

The 187 mile-long Burns Trail takes visitors on a six-day tour from Berwickshire to Dumfries, following in the footsteps of Scotland’s national bard. The journey takes inspiration from the tour of the Borders the then 28-year-old Burns took in May 1787 with his friend Robert Ainslie, beginning in the coastal town of Eyemouth, where the pair were made Royal Arch Masons of St Ebb’s Lodge – to this day, the cutlery Burns used at his repast are still treasured by the Eyemouth Lodge.

The Burns Trail then progresses westwards, passing the ruined abbeys of Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose, the Border towns of Selkirk and Galashiels and into Dumfries and Galloway, visiting Moffat and Ellisland Farm where Burns and his family lived for three years in the late 1700s and where he wrote Auld Lang Syne before culminating in Dumfries, the place of his death in 1796 at the young age of 37.

The Great Tapestry of Scotland is the result of a Scotland-wide community art project involving 1,000 stitchers aged four to 94 to tell the colourful history of Scotland from pre-history to the modern day, featuring battles, Romans, religion, Vikings, innovation, sport, kings and queens and much more.

The 143m-long tapestry, first exhibited in 2013 at the Scottish Parliament and now housed in a new, purpose-built exhibition space in Galashiels, is made up of 160 beautifully embroidered linen panels made over 50,000 hours with 300 miles of wool thread.

Visitors spending seven days travelling along the 283-mile Great Tapestry Trail start at the Tapestry Centre itself before wending their way to the Berwickshire coast and then west again to the Border towns and Abbotsford, home of great historical novelist Sir Walter Scott.

The trail then weaves in Roman history with a stop at Trimontium Museum, Melrose where in AD80 the Romans established a major fort and which is one of the UK’s most significant archaeological sites from that period.

Taking in the fascinatingly-named Devil’s Porridge Museum just outside Gretna next, which pays tribute to the world’s largest WW1 munitions factory, trail-followers will then catch up with Robert Burns in and around Dumfries before heading to Wigtown, Scotland’s national book town and the location for cult film The Wicker Man, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2023.

Stopping to see the ruins of Glenluce Abbey where Mary, Queen of Scots once dined and slept while on a pilgrimage to Whithorn, the trail ends at the dramatic clifftop lighthouse in the Mull of Galloway – Scotland’s most southernmost point, at the end of the Rhins of Galloway.
 

18 January 2023

SOUTH AFRICAN ADVENTURE MARKS NEW CHAPTER FOR PIONEERING YOUTH EXPEDITION ORGANISATION RALEIGH INTERNATIONAL

Raleigh International relaunches under new ownership and with new expedition to South Africa

Pioneering purpose-led youth expedition organisation Raleigh International is relaunching under new ownership and starting the next stage in its 45-year journey with a new adventure to South Africa.

Previously trading as Raleigh International Trust, the organisation which counts The Prince and Princess of Wales and astronaut Tim Peake among its 55,000+ alumni, was badly hit by the impact on global travel during the Covid-19 pandemic and went into voluntary liquidation in May 2022.

Now operating as Raleigh International, the organisation which specialises in challenging, educational and fun international volunteering experiences for 17-24 year olds, has been acquired by The Impact Travel Group (ITG). ITG is an alliance of nine education and experiential brands, including African Impact and Roots Internships committed to transformative travel experiences with cultural and environmental impact.  

With the backing of ITG, Raleigh International is relaunching with a new expedition to South Africa. The first expedition will take place in June 2023 and see community, climate and conservation projects undertaken in the Greater Kruger area which lies between Mozambique, Eswatini and the world-famous Kruger National Park. In addition, Raleigh International is also running expeditions to Costa Rica, also starting in June.

Volunteers who had historically registered while under the previous ownership Raleigh International Trust but were then unable to complete their expedition, will be contacted by the new owners to be offered a discounted ITG expedition in the future.

Raleigh International began life as Operation Drake in 1978 before evolving into Operation Raleigh in 1984. In 1992, it became Raleigh International Trust. In its four decades, the organisation has provided life-changing experiences for more than 55,000 young people from more than 100 countries.

Greg Bows, Impact Travel Group managing director, said:It’s tremendously exciting to be bringing back Raleigh International, an organisation that means such a lot to so many people and has had such a positive impact on the world.

“Since 1978, Raleigh has continuously evolved and constantly adapted to new ideas and challenges, while always retaining its focus on supporting young people to act and create lasting change for themselves, their communities, and the world. 

“We are committed to continuing this legacy and look forward to launching a new cohort of dedicated young people on the expedition of a lifetime in Costa Rica or our new destination, South Africa, in 2023.

During more than 600 expeditions in 50 countries, Raleigh International volunteers have planted over 900,000 trees to help combat climate change, rehabilitated more than 65km of trails and conservation infrastructure, and given more than 100,000 people long-lasting access to safe and accessible hygiene facilities and access to toilets, handwashing and drinking water.

Young people can join a Raleigh Expedition for six, seven or 10 weeks, work on environmental and community projects, and take part in a leadership adventure trek.
Older adults looking for a career break or a post-retirement adventure can also get involved in Raleigh International’s work by volunteering to manage and guide young people in specific roles.  

Read more about Raleigh’s programmes and the relaunch on their website raleighinternational.org

Full set of free to use images and a timelapse video taken in Costa Rica available on https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/9gwawhwy391snyoivn8og/h?dl=0&rlkey=q6xm38hdml2mhcuivdpcmeobf 
 

10 January 2023

NEW ’23 FOR 23’ GUIDE & TIKTOK COLLABORATION TO PUT EDINBURGH ON THE MENU AS A MUST-VISIT FOODIE DESTINATION

Forever Edinburgh launches new guide and TikTok partnership to whet the appetite of foodie fans from around the UK who crave something different and love small independent places

Highlighting everything from vegan ‘junk food’, a bagel-themed hotel, square Detroit pizza, Singaporean-style breakfast and soon-to-open street food markets, a new guide and series of TikTok videos is being launched to put Edinburgh on the menu as a must-visit foodie destination for 2023.

Foodie fans visiting Edinburgh are spoilt for choice with familiar national names such as Gordon Ramsay, Dishoom, Duck & Waffle and Mowgli open already or soon to open, alongside the city’s long-established local culinary heavy hitters such as The Witchery, Restaurant Martin Wishart, The Kitchin, and Timberyard.

Forever Edinburgh, the Official Guide to Edinburgh and city’s primary destination brand, has launched the new ’23 for 23’ guide to whet the appetite of adventurous foodie fans across the UK who crave something a bit different when they visit a city.

The guide shines a light on the lesser-known, smaller independent gems for visitors to seek out covering both city centre choices and off-the-beaten track options in neighbourhoods such as Portobello, Tollcross, Leith, the Southside, and South Queensferry.

The ’23 for 23’ guide has been created as part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign and captures the latest chapter in Edinburgh’s always-evolving food and drink story. The Scottish capital’s culinary heritage is built into many of the city’s oldest placenames, including Bakehouse Close, the Cowgate, Old Fishmarket Close and Sugarhouse Close.

The ’23 for 23’ guide is available on the Forever Edinburgh website and a selection of places will be featured in a series of Tik Tok videos created in collaboration with leading food and drink Tik Tok influencer @topscottishscran, who has almost 60,000 followers and more than half a million likes.

Highlights of the ’23 for 23’ guide (see below for the full list) include:
  • Rabbit Food at Meadows Tap - a smokin’ hot new spot for vegetarian and vegan ‘junk food’, housed within the Meadows Tap pub in Newington. Check out their ‘Dirty Diana’ vegan burger, chips stuffed with pizza sauce and macaro-nae cheese
  • Bross Bagels HOLEtel - a penthouse apartment hotel in Portobello offering guests an unforgettable stay including a private dinner party hosted by Mama Bross and the chance to try their hand at the art of bagel-making
  • Singapore Coffee House - a new neighbourhood gem in Canonmills inspired by Singapore’s kopitiams (coffee houses), serving dishes like the breakfast staple Kaya Toast
  • Homies Pizza - Edinburgh’s latest must-try pizza palace specialising in decadent deep-dish Detroit-style square pizzas loaded with toppings and oozing with cheese
  • Edinburgh Street Food Market - coming Feb 2023 and hotly anticipated, with 10 vendors and three bars, seven days a week. Offering an indoor / outdoor global street food experience at the top of Leith Walk, with views of Calton Hill.

The online guide will go live on Forever Edinburgh’s website on Thursday 12 January, followed by the series of TikTok posts by @topscottishscran during January, February and March.

The hitlist aims to inspire food fans of all ages and culinary preferences from across the UK and beyond to visit Edinburgh in 2023 - Time Out’s ‘World’s Best City’ – as well as to support new small businesses.

Fiona Hunter, Destination Marketing Manager for Forever Edinburgh and The Story Never Ends city-marketing campaign, said: “Edinburgh has an incredible selection of unique and memorable places to eat and drink and 2023 sees the dawn of another great new chapter in the capital’s fascinating food story. We are very well-served with ‘big names’ and popular national chains like Duck & Waffle, Gordon Ramsay’s Street Burger and Haute Dolci all recently opening up and creating lots of excitement among locals and visitors alike. Since we know that many visiting food fans also crave smaller-scale independent options, we’ve created this essential “23 for ’23” hitlist to help people explore all the amazing new options that are dotted around the city’s neighbourhoods.”

24 December 2022

SMÖRGASBORD OF UFOS (UNIDENTIFIED FROZEN OBJECTS!) UNEARTHED IN SCOTTY BRAND AND BATCH LADY COMPETITION

A 21-year-old clementine with toddler bite-marks, dog chews frozen in a heatwave, icing flowers from a 2009 wedding cake and containers of ‘unidentified frozen objects’ from who knows when.

A 21-year-old clementine with toddler bite-marks, dog chews frozen in a heatwave, icing flowers from a 2009 wedding cake and containers of ‘unidentified frozen objects’ from who knows when.

These were just some of the weird and wonderful artefacts dug up in people’s freezers across Britain as part of a competition run by much-loved Scottish food supplier Scotty Brand and batch cooking expert The Batch Lady.

The ‘Frosty or Fusty’ freezer archaeology challenge, promoted to The Batch Lady’s 285,000 Facebook followers and via the Scotty Brand website, aimed to discover some of the oldest and oddest items lurking in people’s freezer drawers - and entrants from across the UK dredged up some truly ancient artefacts from their freezers.

As well as being a bit of fun, the joint-run competition aimed to highlight how batch-cooking and frozen food can help under-pressure families make their household budgets stretch further in the current cost-of-living crisis.

It comes after a recent BBC Good Food Nation survey revealed that 23% of shoppers are now turning to batch-cooking as a way to save money as the economic situation worsens.

The poll, carried out for BBC Good Food magazine by Censuswide, found that freezing batch-cooked meals was another popular way to cope with the squeeze on household income, with 22% of people eating more frozen food.

The competition prize of £100 worth of ASDA vouchers was scooped by Jacqui Baker from Wilstead in Bedfordshire, who unearthed a collection of icy daffodil heads and ivy leaves she’d gathered and frozen two years ago during lockdown in order to dye wool with plants.

In winning the prize, she just pipped the entry which described a clementine frozen long ago by a loving granny after her grandson bit into it – she kept it to give her a smile every time she went into her freezer. Her grandson is now aged 23.  

Other items excavated by hopeful winners included a bag of mixed veg best before 2016 which the family uses as an ice pack, a trout caught by the person’s husband in 2018, bags of breastmilk frozen in 2015 and ‘deconstructed’ sausage rolls from last Christmas.

Molly Borys, Brand Manager at Albert Bartlett and Scotty Brand, said: “We thought we’d get some interesting entries for this competition but we were overwhelmed by the responses and the sheer variety of artefacts people unearthed! Congratulations to Jacqui Baker, her daffodil heads and ivy leaves discovery really made us smile and we’re impressed with her creative lockdown project.

“This competition with The Batch Lady has been a great way to highlight just how indispensable freezers and frozen food are in helping you stick to a household budget, saving yourself valuable time into the bargain. Scotty Brand is committed to helping our customers provide nutritious, fresh and tasty meals for all the family and all our products can be frozen as part of batch-cooked meals for future use.”

Suzanne Mulholland, aka The Batch Lady, who also has 148,000 Instagram followers, said: “As the Batch Lady I’m pretty on top of what’s in my freezer but even I must confess there are some things in mine that are older than they probably should be – for example, I discovered some blue cheese I’d frozen last Christmas! This project has been great fun, getting people talking about what can be frozen and for how long, which are really important considerations to make the best use of this essential kitchen appliance. Batch-cooking meals is the perfect way to cut down on your food bills, as well as the time spent each week on cooking for the family.”

Following on from the competition, Scotty Brand and the Batch Lady have compiled a handy checklist of freezer tips:
  • Make sure you know what foods can be frozen and for how long
  • Clearly label what you’re freezing so you know what’s there and how old it is
  • Only freeze food that’s within its use-by date
  • Use defrosted food within 24 hours and do not re-freeze
  • Defrost food fully in the fridge, on the microwave defrost setting or wrap in waterproof food bag and place in very cold water until defrosted before cooking. Don’t defrost with warm or hot water or leave food to defrost at room temperature
  • Keep a list of your freezer contents and update it regularly. This saves time and money as you will be able to plan meals effectively and avoid buying something unnecessarily that you already have frozen
  • Get into the batch-cooking habit to make value-for-money, healthy meals for the family

Notes to Editors:
  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Scottish founder Albert Bartlett, who set up a beetroot-boiling operation in Coatbridge. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including frozen peas and ‘Chippy Chips’, fresh soup, soup mixes, delicious sausage rolls and succulent smoked salmon
  • Scotty Brand product stockists include Aldi, ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco, and Waitrose. 
 http://www.scottybrand.com
 

23 December 2022

Spreading festive cheer to help tackle loneliness among older people in Scotland

Scottish meal delivery service Parsley Box teams up with Age Scotland to deliver tasty treats

With the festive period a challenging and lonely month for many older people, Parsley Box has partnered with Age Scotland in a bid to make Christmas a little brighter this year.

The Edinburgh-based firm, which specialises in delivering nutritious, cupboard-stored ready meals to the older generation across the UK, has donated thousands of pounds worth of sweet treats to Age Scotland’s Big Gift Appeal.

The tasty treats, including seasonal chocolates, Cocoa Loco Festive Hot Chocolate Spoon Sets and Ask Mummy & Daddy Penguin Jellies Sweet Jars, will be delivered to the doors of older people during December by Age Scotland’s community networks.

Loneliness can increase the risk of stress, anxiety and depression and, with 100,000 older people in Scotland are estimated to feel lonely all or most of the time, Parsley Box has partnered with Age Scotland to ensure the older generation they have not been overlooked or forgotten over the festive season.

Kevin Dorren, CEO of Parsley Box, said: “Our team has seen the impact of loneliness first hand when delivering our meals and speaking with the older community on the phone arranging their orders.  We have built strong bonds with many of our regular customers from across the UK and always enjoy chatting with them, but we are looking to do more to support our customers in this respect.

“Since day one, making life better for older people has been at the heart of everything we do. Teaming up with Age Scotland to spread some festive cheer across this community was a no-brainer for us. Their mission to make later life more enjoyable for older people aligns with our own values perfectly, and we look forward to future collaborations.”

Parsley Box uses an innovative slow cooking technology, inspired by the ‘sous-vide’ method when preparing its range of delicious ready meals, which ensures the flavour and nutrients are locked in without the need to chill or freeze. No unnecessary preservatives are used, and the food will then keep fresh for up to six months when stored in a cupboard.

Age Scotland’s Interim Chief Executive, Michelle Supple, said: “The festive period can often be a difficult time of year for many older people, especially those living alone or without friends and family close by.

“Tens of thousands of older people regularly go a week or more without a visit or a call from someone, and we know that loneliness and isolation can have a devastating impact on their health and wellbeing, so it’s vital that we do all we can to reach out to those on their own and spread some festive cheer.

“We’re so grateful to Parsley Box for supporting our Big Gift Appeal this year. We know their generous donations will make a huge difference, helping to make Christmas brighter for the older people who receive them.”

https://www.parsleybox.com

Selection of FREE to use images by Mike Wilkinson available to use here:

https://mike-wilkinson.photoshelter.com/gallery/20221222-Parsley-Box-Age-Scotland-Tasty-Treats/G0000D_oFRcBGbQs

Notes to editors:

About Parsley Box

Parsley Box delivers ready meals that do not need to be stored in a fridge or freezer, direct to the underserved Baby Boomer+ consumer, broadly defined as those aged 60 and over. Its mission is to promote, support and celebrate independent living by making mealtimes easier and more enjoyable for everyone. The core product range comprises over 60 single portion sized meals spanning various cuisines.  Based in Edinburgh, Parsley Box delivers to customers throughout the UK.

About Age Scotland

Age Scotland is the national charity for older people - supporting, inspiring and empowering people over the age of 50. We work to help older people be as well as they can be, promote positive views of ageing and later life and tackle loneliness and isolation. We do this by providing information, advice and friendship via our free helpline, friendship line and printed and digital guides, supporting and enabling older people’s community groups, promoting age friendly workplaces and communities, delivering health and wellbeing programmes and campaigning on the policy issues older people tell us are important to them.

5 December 2022

ESTEEMED CHARITY HEAD AND STRATEGIC DEVELOPMENT EXPERT APPOINTED TO STEER SOUTH OF SCOTLAND TOURISM BODY

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance announces new Chief Executive to lead work developing the South of Scotland into a year-round tourist destination

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) today announced that Borders-based David Hope-Jones OBE will be the new Chief Executive of the strategic Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the Scottish Borders and Dumfries and Galloway in early 2023.  
 
The news comes just weeks after the South of Scotland was selected as one of the Top 30 destinations in the world by Lonely Planet in its Best in Travel 2023 guide.  
 
Hope-Jones, who is based in Midlem near Selkirk, takes up the role following almost 15 years as Chief Executive of the Scotland Malawi Partnership, where he was responsible for the strategic development of the organisation, engagement with stakeholders and policy advisors, supporting member interests, and external partnership working. 
 
A senior business leader and strategic development expert who was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s 90th birthday honours in 2016 for services to international development, Hope-Jones impressed the SSDA Board with his knowledge of the South of Scotland and its businesses and communities, as well as his passion for making a positive difference to the region in which he lives. 
 
Hope-Jones will join the SSDA team in February 2023. Melanie Allen will remain in an interim position until late Spring 2023 to ensure stability and a smooth transition for the organisation, team, members and activity. 
 
On taking up his new position, Hope-Jones will work alongside the team and Board to drive forward the SSDA’s ambitious destination development strategy, which includes increasing tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and creating 6,500 new jobs. He will also help develop the SSDA’s consumer-facing Scotland Starts Here platform which showcases the region to visitors, and oversee ongoing business engagement and product development programme to support local tourism and hospitality businesses in an increasingly challenging economic climate. 
 
Hope-Jones said: “I’m extremely proud to call the South of Scotland my home and I never fail to be blown away by the region’s incredible appeal as a place to visit, whether that’s from within the UK or further afield. It is a huge honour to be given this opportunity to help the area achieve its limitless potential as a year-round visitor destination.   
 
“The South of Scotland Destination Alliance has been doing a great job supporting tourism and hospitality businesses in the region and I’m champing at the bit to get started and join such a great team.  
 
“The coming year offers unique opportunities for us to showcase our region, building on Lonely Planet singling The South of Scotland out as one the top destinations in the world to visit, not to mention the launch of the new Coast to Coast cycle route in the summer which is set to be a huge draw for cycling enthusiasts. 
 
“The South of Scotland has the perfect ingredients for a magical holiday: breath-taking scenery, fascinating history and heritage, exhilarating trails to run, cycle, walk or paddle, fabulous locally-produced food and drink and a packed calendar of events and festivals to suit every interest. Most importantly, it’s a place with strong and connected communities at its heart, and it’s these people I am most looking forward to working with in my new role as the SSDA continues to develop sustainable tourism in the South of Scotland.” 
 
David Ibbotson, Chair of the SSDA, said: “On behalf of the SSDA Board, we are delighted to welcome David Hope-Jones to the role of Chief Executive. His reputation as an inspirational leader and strategic development expert, excelling in working with stakeholders and supporting member interests will be invaluable in the months and years ahead as he works with the team and Board to support our members and develop a thriving destination.” 
  
Professor Russel Griggs, Chair of South of Scotland Enterprise which has provided support of £2.7million over five years to SSDA, said: “SSDA has a vital role to play in supporting our tourism industry, as businesses continue to face a series of significant challenges but also exciting opportunities which lie ahead such as the arrival of the 2023 UCI World Cycling Championships.
 
“Working alongside partners and the industry itself, we are committed to supporting SSDA in its crucial work to help attract even more visitors to stay, spend and enjoy the South of Scotland.
 
“We welcome the appointment of David Hope-Jones and look forward to working closely with him and his SSDA colleagues for the benefit of our wonderful region.”
 
VisitScotland Regional Director Annique Armstrong said: “We welcome the appointment of David Hope-Jones as the new CEO of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and we look forward to continuing to work together to support the sustainable and long-term recovery of one of Scotland’s most valuable industries. 
 
“It is an exciting time for tourism in the South of Scotland. The region was recently included in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2023 guide and as we countdown to the UCI Cycling World Championships next year, we want to build on these fantastic opportunities to put the South of Scotland in the forefront of visitors minds.
 
“We will continue to work together to maximise these opportunities to greater strengthen the economy of the south.”
   
Notes to Editors  
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs. 
 
SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Economic Partnership. 
 
www.SSDAlliance.com  
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/ 
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance 
 

30 November 2022

ST. ANDREW REIMAGINED

The Patron Saint has been reimagined for St. Andrew’s Day as part of a campaign urging Scotland to mark its National Day with a proper celebration.

The depiction of a modern-day St. Andrew in a bustling bar enjoying a pie and a pint is titled Andy’s Night Out and was created by 34-year-old Scottish illustrator and portrait artist, Ciaran Murphy. The reimagined St Andrew illustration was commissioned by the Kestrel Brewing Co, who have estimated that Scotland’s supermarkets and local retailers alongside beleaguered pubs, bars and restaurants could be missing out on turnover of up to £40 million by not focusing promotional attention on St. Andrew’s Day.
 
The hi res image is available to download from DropBox here.
 

29 November 2022

AFTERNOON TEA WITH ALEXANDER MCCALL SMITH IS THE ICING ON THE CAKE IN COMPETITION TO WIN A TRIP TO EDINBURGH

Acclaimed author will share his story and love of his hometown Edinburgh over afternoon tea as part of a once-in-a-lifetime literary prize trip to Scotland’s capital with Forever Edinburgh

In celebration of Alexander McCall Smith’s new Edinburgh-based novel and the Scottish capital’s celebrated links with literature, a competition has been launched offering a money-can’t-buy literary-themed trip to the capital including afternoon tea with the world-renowned author.

The author recently released The Enigma of Garlic, the 16th and latest instalment of his globally bestselling 44 Scotland Street series, which follows the fictional story of life in a real street in his beloved hometown Edinburgh.

As Scotland’s Year of Stories draws to a close, the literary-themed competition (www.edinburgh.org/literaryprize) has been launched by the city’s official destination brand Forever Edinburgh as part of its The Story Never Ends campaign, which shines a light on Edinburgh’s culture, events and history, including its remarkable literary heritage.

The winner of the competition will enjoy a trip to Edinburgh, which became the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004, with the icing on the cake being afternoon tea with Alexander McCall Smith in The Signet Library, one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian buildings.

The prize package for the winner and a plus one includes return travel to Edinburgh, a city with links to an array of acclaimed authors past and present including Robert Louis Stevenson, Sir Walter Scott, Dame Muriel Spark, Arthur Conan Doyle, JK Rowling, Sir Ian Rankin OBE and Irvine Welsh.

Also included in the prize package is two nights’ accommodation at the 5-star Balmoral Hotel, where JK Rowling finished writing Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.
The winner will also enjoy meals at The Printing Press, which occupies the former George Street home of Scotland’s answer to Jane Austen, 19th century novelist Susan Ferrier, where frequent guests included Sir Walter Scott and Robert Burns; Badger & Co, located within the childhood home of Kenneth Grahame, author of children’s classic, The Wind in the Willows; and Superico Restaurant, with cocktails at Superico Bar and Lounge, which are just a short stroll from 17 Heriot Row, the childhood home of Treasure Island author Robert Louis Stevenson from 1857.

Additional prize elements are visits to the Writers’ Museum and the iconic Scott Monument – the largest monument to a writer in the world - and tickets for the award-winning Edinburgh Literary Pub Tour.

To enter the competition, visit www.edinburgh.org/literaryprize - the deadline to enter is 23:59 on Friday 16 December 2022.

Alexander McCall Smith CBE said: “Edinburgh is an altogether enchanting city and it’s no wonder that it has captivated and inspired many writers and poets. This is a marvellous competition to celebrate the city’s literary heritage and I very much look forward to meeting the winner over afternoon tea in the Signet Library.”

City of Edinburgh Council Leader Cammy Day added: “This is a brilliant opportunity to win a fabulous trip to Scotland’s capital – the world’s very first UNESCO City of Literature. From the iconic Scott Monument greeting rail passengers at Waverley Station to the countless monuments to writers and thinkers, Edinburgh has such a rich literary heritage, with so much to discover and enjoy.

“Forever Edinburgh continues to deliver excellent value to Edinburgh’s visitor economy through its popular Story Never Ends campaign. I’m sure this latest element of their promotional activity will be greatly welcomed by businesses of all shapes and sizes.”

Edinburgh has long been a haven for literature lovers. From August’s annual Edinburgh International Book Festival, which welcomes approximately 800 authors from nearly 40 countries and brings in over 225,000 visitors annually, to smaller neighbourhood events such as the Portobello Book Festival, and its network of more than 50 bookshops, it is a must-visit for literary tourists. 

A multitude of fascinating literary experiences abound across the city including literary-themed places to stay, such as Stevenson House, the former home of Robert Louis Stevenson; and the National Museum of Scotland which houses a treasure trove of world-class exhibits including the Scotsman Printing Press, a working scale model of the printing press used for two centuries to produce The Scotsman newspaper, as well as the Ewan McGregor’s signed script for the 1996 movie of Irvine Welsh novel Trainspotting.

Edinburgh is also home to the National Library of Scotland, the leading centre for the study of Scotland and the Scots, the Scottish Poetry Library and the Scottish Storytelling Centre, plus institutions fostering literacy, including the Scottish Book Trust, a national agency for readership development and the Writers’ Museum and Makars’ Court, which commemorates Scottish writers and poets.

To find out more about Edinburgh’s literary tourism experiences, visit: https://edinburgh.org/discover/edinburgh-city-guides/literature/.

19 November 2022

‘NEW PIE THINKING’ BY SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL CHEF TO PUT ST. ANDREW’S DAY BACK ON THE MENU

Gary Maclean creates signature St. Andrew’s Pie to give National Day its own dish

Scotland’s National Chef Gary Maclean has created a special ‘St Andrew’s Pie’ as part of a campaign to put St. Andrew’s Day back on the menu across the country and transform the overlooked occasion into a major event.

The former MasterChef - The Professionals Winner created the signature pie, which combines Scotch beef and haggis, as part of the ongoing campaign led by Glasgow’s Kestrel Brewing Co. to revitalise Scotland’s National Day.

Like haggis, neeps and tatties on Burns Night, Maclean hopes the St. Andrew’s Pie will become the signature dish at the heart of revitalised celebrations for Scotland’s National Day across the country’s homes, bars and restaurants.

The St. Andrew’s Pie (full recipe below) takes around 1 hour to prepare and is the star of a three-course St Andrew’s Day menu designed by Maclean. The starter is a one-pan winter veggie dish with roasted Scottish roots, kale, pearl barley with pickled shallots, while the dessert is a simple-to-make custard tart with bramble sorbet.  

Kestrel estimates that Scotland’s supermarkets and local retailers alongside beleaguered pubs, bars and restaurants could be missing out on turnover of up to £40 million by not creating more of a celebratory occasion on St. Andrew’s Day.

Currently the day is dwarfed in comparison to both Burns Night and traditional Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland and to St Patrick’s Day, believed to generate around annual 58.3m euros for the Irish economy and attract a spend of $5.14 billion annually in the US.

“Burns Night has haggis, tatties and neeps. It’s time for our National Day to have its own dish,” said Maclean. “I love a good steak pie, but I wanted to make it even more Scottish, so decided to add haggis which brings a real depth of flavour, without it overtaking the dish. It’s easy, comforting, and a great winter dish that people can gather around at the table at home or in a pub or restaurant. In these tough times, it’s more important than ever that we all get together. St. Andrew’s Day is a great time to celebrate both our friends and family but also our Scottish heritage. It’s time we had a celebration worthy of our patron saint and I hope this St. Andrew’s Pie can help.”

Nigel McNally, CEO of the Kestrel Brewing Co., said: “St. Andrew’s Day generally slips by as a bit of a non-event which is a great shame for a very proud nation, but also a missed opportunity for everyone to come together and express how wonderful modern-day Scotland is and what it means to be Scottish.”

“We asked Gary to come up with something authentically Scottish that would be easy to prepare, but special enough to live up to the occasion and he’s done it with typical spirt and passion. We think it’s an absolute winner,” he said.  

The Kestrel Brewing Co has launched a programme of special St. Andrew’s Day promotions and deals backed by a nationwide marketing campaign to elevate the focus on the country’s National Day. Partnerships are in place with ASDA, a range of Scottish independent and convenience stores and in the on-trade with select outlets across the Scottish pub estate.

The 80s icon lager - a finalist in this year’s Scottish Beer Awards - now comes in 5%, 7% and 9% ABV variants and is shortly to be relaunched in both new look cans and on draught.

16 November 2022

Dentons’ Scotland fundraising ball nets nearly £8,000 for two chosen charities

Tiny Changes and Beatson Cancer Charity to receive close to £4,000 each following masked ball event

Pictured left to right: Dentons’ Scotland employee associate Christie Jamieson with Katie Bruce of Tiny Changes and Davina Lockhart of the Beatson Cancer Charity [more pics via link below]

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, netted close to £8,000 for two employee-nominated charities at its annual fundraising ball in Glasgow this autumn – the first time the event has been held since 2019 due to Covid19 pandemic restrictions.

Attended by more than 100 Dentons employees from across Scotland, the masquerade ball held at Citation Glasgow (housed, fittingly, in a former Sheriff Court building) saw a grand total of £7,910 raised through raffle tickets and event ticket sales.

The funds will be equally shared between youth mental health charity Tiny Changes, nominated by staff in Dentons’ Edinburgh office, and Beatson Cancer Charity, chosen by employees based at Dentons’ Glasgow office.

Claire Armstrong, Dentons' Scotland Managing Partner, who gave a speech at the gala evening, said: “This was the first time in a long while that Dentons has been able to hold this fabulous annual fundraiser event given all the pandemic restrictions over the past couple of years. It was wonderful to see so many people there enjoying themselves, for some meeting new colleagues and for others, catching up with old friends. I’m thrilled we managed to raise such a magnificent amount for our two chosen charities, and it was a pleasure meeting Katie and Joyce and their teams and hearing a bit more about the charities. My huge thanks to everyone for their generosity and to our social and charities teams for organising it. We are already looking forward to next year’s event!”
Tiny Changes Community Lead Katie Bruce said: “Tiny Changes are working with young people across Scotland to transform mental health care and support. The support of Dentons colleagues at their Masquerade Ball this year means the world - and we truly could not support so many children and young people's mental health without the support of people like colleagues at Dentons, we could not be here to help young minds feel better. Thank you to all at Dentons!”
Joyce Ross, corporate partnerships manager at Beatson Cancer Charity, said: “We are so grateful to Dentons for their continued support. The team have raised an amazing amount of money for us at their ball, which will allow us to help more families across the west of Scotland who are facing cancer. We are looking forward to working with the team at Dentons Glasgow as their nominated charity partner over the next year.”

Please find a folder of Dropbox images from the charity ball

About Dentons 
Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

About Tiny Changes
Tiny Changes was set up following the death of Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison in May 2018. The charity, set up by Scott’s family, supports efforts to improve mental health in children and young people in Scotland and takes its name from a lyric from the Frightened Rabbit song “Head Rolls Off” (“While I’m alive, I’ll make tiny changes to Earth”).
Tiny Changes is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SC049112) and is Scotland’s national dedicated charity for children and young peoples’ mental health.
About Beatson Cancer Charity
Beatson Cancer Charity believes that no-one should face cancer on their own. This has always been the Beatson Cancer Charity’s aim and they work hard to continue to support even more people and families in the years to come.

14,172 patients have received therapies at the Wellbeing Centre Beatson Cancer Charity which works in close partnership with clinicians and researchers at The Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre and The Beatson Institute for Cancer Research to help to deliver life-saving research.

The Beatson is an internationally renowned cancer centre and the busiest in the UK in terms of clinical activity and patient numbers as well as being the second largest cancer centre in the UK delivering all the radiotherapy and much of the chemotherapy to the population of the West of Scotland, with a catchment area of 2.5 million people, which is around 60% of Scotland’s population. Each year The Beatson sees more than 8,000 new patients and delivers more than 25,000 courses of chemotherapy and 6,500 courses of radiotherapy.

The Beatson is staffed by some 950 highly skilled and dedicated healthcare professionals across a range of disciplines.

Find out more about Beatson Cancer Charity at: https://www.beatsoncancercharity.org

2 November 2022

MORE THAN A QUARTER OF TOURISM BUSINESSES IN SOUTH OF SCOTLAND CONTEMPLATING PERMANENT CLOSURE AS OPERATING COSTS SKYROCKET

Results of first South of Scotland Destination Alliance ‘barometer survey’ reveal “exceptionally challenging” picture for tourism and hospitality businesses in the region

The results of an in-depth ‘barometer survey’ of tourism and hospitality businesses in the South of Scotland paint a concerning picture of the difficulties many operators face in a worsening national and global economic climate, with one describing the cost of living crisis as ‘much, much bigger than Covid as a risk to business survival and growth’.

Published today, the findings of research carried out by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) are a mixed bag, showing that while a majority (over 70%) are neutral or optimistic about their trading and turnover prospects in the coming year to two years, there is currently widespread and growing concern among many tourism and hospitality businesses in the region, who face increasing challenges to ‘keep the lights on’ as costs and inflation soar and consumer confidence dips. 

The vast majority of self-caterers and B&Bs expressed serious concerns about the impact of forthcoming short-term let licence requirements on their business, with two thirds of self-caterers in favour of the legislation being paused.

Stand-out statistics emerging from the barometer survey, which captured responses to over two dozen questions about their current and forthcoming operating challenges as well as ongoing plans and priorities, include:

  • More than a quarter (27%) of businesses say they may have to close permanently due to the current climate, including 50% of B&Bs
  • Rising energy, fuel and insurance costs are having the biggest impact on businesses, along with falling consumer confidence and below pre-Covid visitor numbers, both domestic and international
  • Over 50% of the respondents feel neutral or pessimistic about their businesses performance for the next 3 – 6 months, however more than two thirds (70%+) report feeling neutral or optimistic regarding the next 12 – 24 months
  • 85% of B&Bs say STL licensing will have a high impact on their business
  • 65% of self-caterers say putting a hold on STL Licensing legislation would be highly significant to their business
  • Businesses cite concerns about rates and VAT returning to normal levels despite them still being in ‘recovery mode’; those surveyed stated a freeze or reduction on those would have the biggest impact on their business
  • Feedback from those operating at lower capacity indicated staffing shortages and the cost of living crisis as reasons for lower trade
  • overwhelming priorities for the next 3-6 months are monitoring cashflow (78%), reducing overheads (68%) alongside a priority to focus on marketing (69%), actively working to become more sustainable (64%) and collaborations (63%)

Comments submitted in response to the barometer survey included:

“The current cost of living crisis feels much, much bigger than Covid as a risk to business survival and growth. This is compounded by the fear of how much it may spiral and just so many unknowns about what's to come. Staff are exhausted. We haven't had a normal year in a very long time so it's very difficult to have any kind of plan!”

Meanwhile, others expressed concern that the tourism and hospitality offer in the south of Scotland is shrinking due to twin challenges of mounting costs and short term let licensing legislation, with businesses already closing permanently.

Responding to the survey results, the SSDA’s Interim Chief Executive Melanie Allen emphasised that the tourism body will continue to do everything in its power to support its members and the wider south of Scotland visitor economy, using the “invaluable” insight provided by the survey responses to shape its immediate and medium-term priorities and activities.  

Melanie Allen said:
“This survey has given us invaluable insight into the current state of play with local tourism and hospitality businesses in the south of Scotland and we’re hugely grateful to everyone who took the time to send us their feedback. While the overall results are a bit of a mixed bag, it’s quite stark to note that a really significant proportion of regional businesses fear they may have to shut their doors for good given the exceptionally challenging economic climate we’re in just now.

“As an organisation, the SSDA is committed to supporting all our members across the south of Scotland, and we will be continually looking at ways our support will make the most impact for businesses.  Over the past year it has been rewarding to see audiences of our regional brand Scotland Starts Here grow exponentially, with this greater profile we hope to see tourism and hospitality businesses benefit from increased exposure to both domestic and international visitors.

“Over the next few months we will be engaging with businesses on marketing campaigns, tourism industry insights, webinars and workshops as additional support. We see our primary role as a facilitator of cross-industry collaboration and sharing best practice, as well as championing our members’ needs and priorities at national and UK level.

“The results show that there are significant positive opportunities to work on in terms of marketing and sustainable, collaborative working – it’s inspiring to see so many businesses genuinely intent on finding ways to make their business current, and we stand ready to do whatever we can to help.

“I will shortly be writing to MSPs on behalf of the SSDA, setting out the immediate and medium-term priorities and needs of the tourism and hospitality sectors in the south of Scotland, to inform their budget-setting and decision-making into 2023.

“And over the coming weeks and months, we’ll be rolling out campaigns focusing on the appeal of the south of Scotland for wonderful, cosy winter breaks with exceptional food and drink, as well as promoting it as an unrivalled Dark Skies destination. Meanwhile plans are moving along at pace for our second annual conference, which will take place early in 2023.”

Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance (STA), said: 
“Scotland’s tourism industry is currently facing a multitude of challenges, from the decline in consumer spending due to the cost-of-living crisis and rise in inflation to the significant costs of merely keeping businesses open in significantly challenging times. 

“The ‘golden quarter’ of trading which is between now and the end of the year should be delivering buoyant results and high levels of business confidence, however businesses across the sector are feeling the acute impact of the current economic challenges and are simply unable to deliver the service they would wish to.  Many are closing or part closing, as the survey indicates. 

“The Scottish Tourism Alliance will continue to steer the industry through this exceptionally difficult chapter and I know the economic landscape will be the focus of many conversations with the 20+ MSPs who are attending the Tourism Industry Conference evening reception at the EICC on 9th November.”

The SSDA plans to roll out another barometer survey in the New Year to take the temperature of the industry during the difficult winter period. Two full barometer surveys of South of Scotland tourism and hospitality businesses will be carried out each year, providing invaluable insights and data to inform policymakers, organisations and business leaders right across the region.

Notes to Editors  
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs. SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership.

https://www.ssdalliance.com
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance

2 November 2022

Stack & Still serves up UK expansion into London’s Leicester Square

Pancake house announces first location outside Scotland

Stack & Still, the UK’s largest chain of pancake houses, is expanding beyond Scotland by opening a restaurant at a flagship location in London’s Leicester Square.

The Glasgow-headquartered company, who serve in excess of a million pancakes per annum is taking over a site on Irving Street that was occupied previously by American brand MOD Pizza, edging out rival bids from global brands.

The firm, which was founded by Graham Swankie and Paul Reynolds, will invest £250,000 in opening its first branch in London. It will seat 225 people spread across 5,000sq ft over three floors and an outdoor terrace.

Following a soft opening in December, Stack & Still will emulate its cinema neighbours in Leicester Square by rolling out the red carpet in January for a movie premiere-style official opening.

Ryan Hawes, the group’s executive head chef in Scotland, will move to London from Scotland to open the branch as head chef.  Ryan’s role in Scotland has been replaced by Mark Ferrari.

Earlier in his career, Mr Hawes worked as a chef de partie and a sous chef at the five-star Dorchester Hotel near London’s Hyde Park, and held two AA rosettes while he was head chef at Livingstone's Restaurant in Linlithgow, near Edinburgh.

Ryan is joined by general manager Barry McPhee who is rejoining the Stack & Still family from Franco Manco.  Barry will be supported by Lyle Maclean Beaton as assistant manager who joined Stack & Still as a bartender when the brand launched in 2018.

Stack & Still, which employs 200 people at its seven locations in Scotland, aims to double in size during the next two years, including more locations in London.

Paul Reynolds, co-founder and chief executive at Stack & Still, said: “It’s long been my ambition to expand Stack & Still beyond Scotland and the move into, probably the most famous leisure destination in the UK, is testament to the strength of the brand.

“Opening our flagship pancake house in such a location will allow us to expand beyond our traditionally busy breakfast time by serving dishes throughout the day to families and international tourists.

“Guests can choose from 12 million combinations thanks to our selection of pancake bases, toppings, sauces, and other accompaniments.”

The UK’s biggest pancake house will initially open its Leicester Square site between 9am and 5pm, before moving to a 12-hour service beginning at 8am.

Stack & Still will be introducing order at table technology to order pancakes in multiple languages.

Stack & Still’s existing Scottish sites are at: West George Street in Glasgow; the Braehead, Glasgow Fort, and Silverburn shopping centres; The Centre in Livingston; the Bonnie & Wild food court in Edinburgh’s £1 billion St James Quarter shopping centre; and the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, where it took over a flagship site from Jamie’s Italian last summer.

Stack & Still was advised on property by Oliver Wright of Wright Property.  On legals advisors were CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang for property and TLT LLP on licensing.

https://www.stackandstill.co.uk

https://www.instagram.com/stackandstill/

21 October 2022

LIVING STATUE OF MARIE CURIE FITTED WITH SPECIAL BRA DESIGNED FOR WOMEN AFTER BREAST CANCER SURGERY

Event during Breast Cancer Awareness Month staged by UK’s first luxury lingerie brand for women who have had a mastectomy or reconstruction

As part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a ‘living statue’ of Marie Curie in Edinburgh was today fitted with a special bra designed specially for women who have had surgery following breast cancer.

The event, which took place outside the Scottish National Gallery in the heart of the capital, was staged by LoveRose, the UK’s first luxury lingerie brand for post-breast cancer surgery women.

LoveRose offers luxurious post-surgery wirefree bras and pocketed bras for women who wear prosthesis. It was founded by Caroline Kennedy Alexander after her own breast cancer experience, which involved a double mastectomy with reconstruction surgery. LoveRose is named in memory of her sister, Rose, one of two of her sisters to have died from cancer.

Alexander fitted the living statue of pioneering scientist Marie Curie – which was created and presented by artist Izabela Walkowiak-Radcliffe - with one of her new non-pocketed wirefree bras, which is designed with an inner hammock to provide extra support for women who have had a reconstruction, lumpectomy or a natural breast.

Speaking at the event, Alexander said: “Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK with one woman diagnosed every 10 minutes. As we mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month and pay tribute to the work of Marie Curie in her treatment of cancer, I want to first of all remind women to check their breasts regularly for potential signs of breast cancer.
“I also want to show women who have been through breast cancer surgery that they don’t have to settle for bland bras. I know from my own experience with breast cancer and surgery that it’s not just the physical scars that need healed, it’s the emotional scars too. Our bras are made in beautiful mood-boosting colours and luxurious fabrics designed to make women feel good after surgery.”

Notes to Editors:

Full set of images free to use HERE. Photo Credit Lloyd Smith.

About LoveRose Lingerie

LoveRose Lingerie is the world’s first luxury post-breast cancer surgery lingerie brandInspirational entrepreneur Caroline Kennedy Alexander founded the brand after spotting a gap in the market following her own double mastectomy when she battled the disease for the second time.

Frustrated by the unattractive, utilitarian underwear options exclusively available at the time, she pivoted her career as a sculptor and set about designing a range of luxury underwear that helps women to feel empowered, sexy and desirable again, while also meeting their unique physical needs following cancer treatment, which include pockets for prosthesis and wireless options.


Breast Cancer statistics

  • Over a third (39%) of women in the UK do not check their breasts regularly for potential signs of cancer 
  • Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the UK with one woman diagnosed every 10 minutes. 
  • Around 55,000 and 370 men are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in the UK. 
  • In Scotland, every year around 4,700 people are diagnosed with breast cancer 
  • One in seven women in the UK will develop breast cancer in their lifetime 
  • Eight out of 10 cased of breast cancer are diagnosed in woman aged 50 and over. 
  • Every year around 11,500 women and 85 men die from breast cancer in the UK. (Breast cancer now 2021). 

18 October 2022

BATTLING THROUGH JELLYFISH, SHARKS & A LIVE MILITARY EXERCISE, 23-YEAR-OLD TEACHER LANDS ANOTHER WORLD RECORD AS THE FIRST WOMAN TO SWIM THE FULL LENGTH OF BRITAIN

After swimming 900 miles, 23-year-old Jasmine Harrison is the first woman in the world to swim from Land’s End to John O’Groats - having previously become the youngest woman in the world to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean

After swimming through 1000s of jellyfish, being followed by a shark, suffering from ‘salt mouth’ and encountering a massive live military exercise, 23-year-old Jasmine Harrison has become the first woman in the world to swim the full length of Britain.

The intrepid swimming teacher and motivational speaker from Thirsk in North Yorkshire completed the gruelling 900-mile swim from Land’s End up to John O’Groats at 1643 on Tuesday 18 October where she was greeted by her dog Bonnie, and parents Susan and Keith, having first entered the water at Land’s End in western Cornwall on Friday 1st July.

It’s a second remarkable record for Harrison – in 2021, aged 21, she became the youngest woman in the world to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

She swam between 4 and 12 hours a day, often in two shifts, broken up by eating and sleeping in her support boat. Much of her swimming took place at night under moonlight, with the dark concealing unnerving surprises such as the approach of a massive whale which swam only a metre below her.

In total, Harrison spent around 110 days in total swimming, with other days spent waiting for bad weather to pass, or managing logistics like refuelling, crew changes and boat maintenance.

Having completed the challenge, which is the equivalent of swimming almost 58,000 lengths of a 25m pool, Harrison, a motivational speaker with Speaker Buzz, will now carry out a series of speaking engagements with organisations to help share her insights on issues such as resilience and establishing an ‘anything-is-possible’ mindset.

During her challenge, Harrison had to contend with numerous difficulties including cold water, busy shipping lanes, painful chafing from her wetsuit and ‘salt mouth’, a condition which strips skin from the tongue and throat and makes it hard to swallow.

She also had to contend with the mental challenges of the swim. Each day she would put in a consistent effort and keep the same pace, but some swims saw so little distance gained it was hard not to become dispirited. At one point in the Bristol Channel she only progressed three miles in six hours, which was very tough for her mentally.

Jellyfish proved one of the most difficult obstacles, with Harrison suffering multiple stings to her face, hands, and feet. During the challenge, she wore a neoprene mask fashioned from a swimming hood to protect her face, which helped – except when tiny baby jellyfish drifted into her mouth!

She was also closely followed by a basking shark, swam through the legendary whirlpools of the Corryvreckan Gulf in Scotland and, at one point, even found herself swimming as live rounds flew overhead during Exercise Joint Warrior, the largest military exercise in Europe which was taking place in Cape Wrath in north-west Scotland.

More pleasant experiences included swimming alongside whales, dolphins and seals, passing under Skye Bridge and soaking up the striking scenery on the coast of Scotland and a series of stunning sunsets. To provide much-needed energy for the extreme challenge, Harrison ate a normal diet, supplemented with plenty of chocolate bars.

Harrison, who is a county ambassador for Girlguiding North Yorkshire North East, undertook the challenge to inspire others and also in support of two charities; Sea Shepherd UK, a marine conservation charity whose aim is to end the destruction of habitats and poaching of marine wildlife; and Surfers Against Sewage, an environmental charity working to keep UK coasts safe and clean.

Harrison said: “From the moment I first dived into the water to finally reaching dry land again, this has been a truly epic experience. From all the jellyfish to the constant cold and chafing from my wetsuit, it’s been really tough, but at the time it was also incredibly rewarding.

“From the beautiful wildlife I’ve seen to the litter I’ve sadly encountered, this given me a greater appreciation of how beautiful but fragile our marine ecosystem really is.

“This challenge has further inspired me to work with organisations driven by protecting the environment and I hope too that by doing this I have inspired others and shown that when you put your mind to something, anything is possible and you can overcome any obstacles that are put in your way.

“I’m looking forward to relaxing, getting a good night’s sleep, spending time with my dog and then getting out to share my story to help inspire others!”

Harrison’s trip was supported by several sponsors including All Steels Trading LTD, Langver Engineering, Dresser-Solar, Econ Engineering, TWC Group and CleanEco Group.

Notes to editors

A selection of images and footage is available from DropBox here – please credit where stated https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/9fgc8fjh2bxfyzu7bctgi/h?dl=0&rlkey=vbqpi3m8pvgvorlrioiei0fkg

  • Harrison swam between 4 and 11 hours a day, an average swim was 5 hours.  The longest swim was 12 hours and the max distance swum in any 1 swim was 14 nautical miles. 
  • The max distance covered in any one day was 27 nautical miles - that was swimming past Wales.
  • Moving average pace has been 2.4mph, and her top speed was 16.1mph (Corryvreckan).
  • In total, Harrison spent around 110 days in total swimming. Not every day since the start of the challenge was swim day due to weather and tides and logistics like refuelling, crew changes and boat maintenance.

6 October 2022

Post-breast cancer surgery luxury lingerie brand closes £300,000 investment round, including £200,000 from private investor after emotional Dragons’ Den appearance

A London-based investor who already operates in a retail environment has invested £200,000 in the luxury post-breast cancer surgery brand LoveRose Lingerie after watching founder Caroline Kennedy Alexander’s emotional appearance on BBC One series Dragons’ Den.

The investor, who wishes to keep their identity private, was moved to invest in the UK’s first luxury lingerie brand developed specifically for post breast cancer surgery, after being impressed by the Edinburgh-based brand’s business ethos and following their own personal experience of breast cancer. 

The investment will help accelerate the brand’s growth, through developing brand awareness and expanding the product line offering, which will include a new Essentials line due to be launched later this year. This new range will allow more post-breast cancer surgery women - and also the many non-cancer consumers who have been purchasing the products - to wear LoveRose. 

LoveRose is also expanding its portfolio of business mentors and advisers to work on elevating the brand.  Current advisers include Christian Maher, a former director of lingerie brand La Perla, and Yvonne Webb, a former national account manager at chocolate maker Cadbury.  Work is already under way to collaborate with relevant UK charities and organisations supporting cancer patients through their recovery. 

Ms Alexander said: “It’s fantastic news to have successfully closed a round of £300,000 investment – including this £200,000 commitment from our latest private investor. I am enormously excited about the potential for the LoveRose brand, which is about so much more than just bras – we put the emotional and psychological needs of our clients first. This is a market that’s shockingly under-served and so we’re helping to fill a massive and pressing unmet need.  

“Our post-surgery bras give our customers confidence and renewed self-esteem.  Unlike other post-operation underwear, which tends to be bland, matronly, and synthetic, our lingerie is designed with wire-free engineering and crafted luxuriously.”

LoveRose began when founder Caroline Kennedy Alexander spotted a gap in the market for luxury lingerie while she was recovering from her own cancer journey, of a double mastectomy and reconstruction. LoveRose is named in memory of her sister, Rose, one of two of her sisters to have died from cancer. Ms Alexander is one of six sisters, four of whom, including Caroline, have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

The innovative LoveRose collection includes pocketed bras for women who wear prosthesis and hidden support hammocks to negate the need for damaging underwires, while providing full support for the breasts or prosthesis. LoveRose’s range has also proven popular with consumers who haven’t experienced breast cancer but who love its design, comfort and quality.

One in seven women in the UK will be diagnosed with breast cancer during their lifetime and it is the most common cancer in the UK.  Survival rates have doubled in the last 40 years, with more than 500,000 women currently living well after treatment. 

4 October 2022

SCOTTISH HOSPITALITY MISSING OUT ON ESTIMATED £40 MILLION WITH ‘NON-EVENT’ ST. ANDREW’S DAY

Brewing industry veteran and Scotland’s national chef call for revamp of the National Day

A leading brewing industry veteran and Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean have called on the Scottish retail and hospitality trades to get behind a new campaign to make the country’s National Day – St. Andrew’s Day - a major moment in the annual calendar.

Nigel McNally who spearheaded the trade rebirth of St. George’s Day in England - and who bought and re-engineered the Glasgow brewed beer brand Kestrel in 2012 - estimates that Scotland’s supermarkets and local retailers alongside beleaguered pubs, bars and restaurants could be missing out on turnover of up to £40 million by not focusing promotional attention on St. Andrew’s Day.

It is estimated that St Patrick’s Day contributes an annual 58.3m euros to the Irish economy. It attracts a spend of $5.14 billion annually in the US alone.

Glaswegian Masterchef The Professionals winner and Scotland’s National Chef, Gary Maclean said: 

“Our industry has gone through hell from lockdowns to a recovery coming in fits and starts and now with the cost-of-living crisis, rising energy and produce costs, the sector could do with a proper shot in the arm. St. Andrew’s Day has been neglected in the shadow of Burns and Hogmanay, but it’s our National Day and it seems mad not to make more of it. I believe our hospitality and retail sectors have real opportunities here and I want to do whatever I can to reshape our relationship with St. Andrew.”

McNally, drove a ten-fold increase in sales for the English premium bitter brand Bombardier on the back of St. George’s Day in the 1990s. He believes there has never been a better time to make the most of Scotland’s National Day.

“By Scottish standards, St. Andrew’s Day is a relative non-event and at a time when figures show that UK pubs lost £5.7bn of revenue from beer sales in 2021 and the retail sector remains in recovery mode with rising prices and supply chain issues, it’s time to do something about re-imagining what the National Day should look like. We know from experience that we need to galvanise the trade, make some noise and seize the opportunity staring us in the face,” said McNally.

The Kestrel Beer Co is launching a programme of special St. Andrew’s Day promotions and deals backed by a nationwide marketing campaign to elevate the focus on the country’s National Day which is dwarfed by both Burns Night and traditional Hogmanay celebrations in Scotland.

Partnerships are already in place with ASDA, a range of Scottish independent and convenience stores and in the on-trade with select outlets across the Scottish pub estate.
The 80s icon lager - a finalist in this year’s Scottish Beer Awards - now comes in 5%, 7% and 9% ABV variants and is shortly to be relaunched in both new look cans and on draught.

https://www.kestrelbeer.com

Notes to Editors

Kestrel Beer
Kestrel lager was a hugely popular and successful brand in the 1980s and 1990s when it was supported with much-loved advertising campaigns featuring the comedians and actors Hugh Laurie and Russ Abbot. Maintaining a loyal following in subsequent years, in 2012 its quality and potential were recognised by Nigel McNally, who decided to purchase the award-winning Kestrel lager brand and set up the Kestrel Brewing Company in order to nurture and develop it. Under his stewardship Kestrel has now returned to its Scottish roots and is being brewed using the Holy Brewing Method at a state-of-the-art facility in Glasgow, adjacent to Glasgow Cathedral. Brewing has taken place at the site since 1556, making it the oldest continuous commercial concern in Glasgow. The beer which now comes in 5%, 7% and 9% ABV variants received a gold medal from the Monde Selection Awards in 2015, a silver medal from The International Beer Challenge in 2019 and is a finalist in this year’s Scottish Beer Awards.

29 September 2022

As interest in better sleep soars, Elgin-based luxury cashmere bedding brand is poised for global expansion

Due to increasing interest in products which help people sleep better and growing demand from the hospitality industry for high-quality sustainable bedding products, luxury textiles company Ava Innes is seeking its first round of investment to support its growth across the UK and within the booming US market.

The Elgin-headquartered business founded by luxury specialist, Joan Johnston, is seeking £150,000 to increase its production and sales function for its temperature-regulating cashmere guard hair and wool duvets and Scottish wool pillows, which help people to sleep better by adjusting to their body temperature needs providing greater comfort at night. 

Only 30% of fibre brushed from cashmere goats is used in traditional knitting and weaving. The remaining fibre, called cashmere guard hair, is considered a by-product as it is too straight to be spun and therefore unsuitable for clothing and was mainly used as a source of lanolin for shampoo.

Frustrated by the waste of this unused natural cashmere by-product and identifying that cashmere guard hair is rich in keratin which is recognised for its temperature-regulating qualities, Johnston identified an opportunity to develop a unique, sustainable fabric that was recently recognised by the Intellectual Property Office as a new invention.

Johnston, ex-Creative Director for Johnstons of Elgin, spent more than 20 years’ working in the global luxury textiles industry, supplying brands such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren. She launched Ava Innes just before the pandemic, with core values built around sustainable UK-made products, that are better for people and the planet.

Heralded as the new “5-a-day”, increasing evidence is emerging highlighting the importance of sleep. It is an essential function that allows your body and mind to recharge, improves physical health and staves off disease.

Johnston explained: “Ava Innes was launched as an online business 5 months before the pandemic selling direct to the consumer, with 93% of our customers confirming a better night’s sleep.  Word-of -mouth referral has been our main success to date, but we are now receiving demand from the hospitality industry across a range of boutique hotels and luxury hotel groups.

“It has never been more crucial to choose and develop highly sustainable products that support our growing circular economy. Customers are placing increasing importance upon ensuring the brands they choose align with their personal ethics and net zero ambitions, and business owners have a responsibility to meet these needs.

“Investors have a great opportunity to demonstrate their own eco-credentials by supporting a business that places sustainability at the heart of everything we do, from our core bedding products to our packaging and commitment to exploring further sustainable best practices for our business.”

Johnston added: “Scotland has a long history of ground-breaking innovation, and I’m proud to follow in those footsteps. We are ready to embrace the next stage of our evolution and look forward to helping customers around the world get a better night’s sleep.”

The global Luxury Bedding market was valued at US$ 2429.4 million in 2021 and is projected to reach US$ 2847.9 million by 2028.

Notes to Editors

About Ava Innes
Ava Innes is a luxury sustainable bedding brand which helps people sleep better. Based in Elgin, Scotland, it specialises in a unique temperature-regulating cashmere guard hair and wool duvet, and Scottish wool pillows, which are all made in the UK. Founder Joan Johnston, ex-Creative Director for Johnstons of Elgin, spent more than 20 years’ working in the global luxury textiles industry, supplying brands such as Burberry and Ralph Lauren.

Link to photography HERE

30 August 2022

FROM ‘BEASTIE-HUNTING’ AND ‘WALKING UP THE VOLCANO’ TO ‘THE PLACE WITH THE SPINNY BRIDGE’ - EDINBURGH’S LITTLEST LOCALS PICK THEIR TOP 50 FUN THINGS TO DO

With October holidays around the corner, Edinburgh’s children create checklist of their favourite fun family-friendly places in the capital for visiting families

Photo: Hannah, 4, enjoys the ‘spinny bridge’ at Camera Obscura

From ‘beastie-hunting’ in a secret garden and walking up the volcano’ to ‘the place with the spinny bridge’,Edinburgh’s youngsters have picked 50 of their favourite fun things to see and do to help visiting families have an action-packed break in the capital.

With thoughts turning to family-friendly destinations for the October half-term holidays, Edinburgh’s littlest locals, aged from three to 15, have helped compile a handy checklist of 50 must-do experiences in the city, which was recently crowned the World’s Best City by Time Out.  

The kids’ choices, which span a range of categories, including ‘fresh air fun’, ‘sweet treats’ and ‘active adventures’, were collated through a partnership between Forever Edinburgh, the city’s official guide, and egg, Scotland’s largest online and offline platform for women.

Holly, age 9, recommended going for “a walk up the volcano”, a reference to Arthur’s Seat, the iconic hill in Holyrood Park formed from an extinct volcano. And Hannah, 4, voted for the ‘place with the spinny bridge and wobbly mirrors’, which is better known as Camera Obscura as her favourite place to go with her granny.

The project was carried out as part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign, which is designed to encourage visitors to come to the city all year round and to discover the city’s fascinating stories.

After egg’s community of mums asked their ‘mini eggs’ to suggest their favourite things to do in Edinburgh, more than 100 recommendations were sent in, ranging from ‘beastie-hunting’ at Dr Neil’s Garden, a hidden garden in Duddingston Village to checking out the ‘Wild West Cowboy Street’ in Morningside, created by a 90s furniture store and featuring a saloon, jail and cantina!

The suggestions from the ‘mini eggs’ were submitted in return for a chance to win a fantastic bundle of tickets to experience family-friendly Edinburgh experiences, including Mercat Tours, Edinburgh Zoo, Camera Obscura, Dynamic Earth, Stack & Still, Conifox and Gladstone’s Land.

The lucky winners, sisters Hannah (4) and Megan (2) from Broughton, sent in a variety of recommendations, including Camera Obscura and Gravity trampoline centre at Fountain Park.

Hannah said: “I love the place with the spinny bridge and the wobbly mirrors. It’s my favourite place to go with my granny! We love taking pictures together in the room (Ames Room) that makes Granny look smaller than me. Next time I’m going to take my Aunty Nony and we will have so much fun. Another of my best places is Gravity - you can just bounce and bounce and have so much fun!"

Other notable suggestions sent in for the checklist included

  • spotting giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo
  • discovering dinosaurs at the National Museum of Scotland
  • paddling in streams around Blackford Hill
  • feeding goats at LOVE Gorgie City Farm
  • tucking into ‘yummy pizza at much-loved NYC-meets-Italy pizza place, Civerinos

In addition to internationally renowned visitor attractions like Edinburgh Castle and Edinburgh Zoo, the mini eggs plumped for a huge range of free or low-cost places to visit, including parks and greenspaces like the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh and Cramond Village and Beach.

More unusual suggestions from the local youngsters included the little-known Wild West Cowboy Street in Morningside, as well as some of the newer destinations in the city like The Chocolatarium off the Royal Mile and Scotland’s first dog café, The Chihuahua Café on Frederick Street.

The children’s recommendations were whittled down to create a checklist of 50 family-friendly places to check out across Edinburgh, which is available to download from the Forever Edinburgh website at www.edinburgh.org/childfriendly

Fiona Hunter of Forever Edinburgh said: “Edinburgh’s a brilliant city to spend time in for people of all ages but we wanted to showcase how fabulous it is for children and families in particular. With so much to see and do it can sometimes be tricky for visitors and even residents to decide what to do first – so who better to ask for recommendations than Edinburgh’s own kids?

“We decided to collaborate with egg and its vast network to find out from our young people themselves what they enjoy doing across Edinburgh. We’re delighted by the number and range of responses that children have given across a wide range of themes – there are clearly many imaginative and adventurous young people living in and enjoying our city.

“We hope this new checklist of places for families to visit will help residents and visitors to the city alike plan days out that will really appeal to their children, from babies and toddlers through to teenagers. With the cost of living increasing, the number of free places chosen will also help everyone working within a budget. And the suggestions show that Edinburgh has something to offer throughout the year, which is very much in line with the messages of our The Story Never Ends campaign.”

Head egg Kylie Reid said: “It has been really exciting to see the amazing places chosen by our ‘mini eggs’ as their favourite destinations for a family-day out. I found it inspirational, and I’ve placed many of the choices on my own must-visit list. The sheer diversity of places picked by the kids is a reminder of just how much Edinburgh has to offer families.”

The Edinburgh ‘mini eggs’ top 50 by category
Active Adventures

  • Conifox Adventure Park
  • Lane7 Bowling
  • Fountain Park (including Volcano Falls Adventure Golf and Gravity Trampoline Park)
  • Royal Commonwealth Pool

Book Shops

  • The Edinburgh Bookshop
  • Topping & Company Booksellers of Edinburgh

Food and Drink

  • Bonnie & Wild Scottish Marketplace
  • Civerinos
  • Los Argentinos
  • Wings
  • COSMO
  • McLarens on The Corner
  • The Chihuahua Café

Fresh Air Fun

  • Portobello Beach
  • Saughton Park and Gardens
  • The Meadows
  • Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
  • Blackford Hill
  • Colinton Tunnel
  • Arthur’s Seat and Salisbury Crags
  • Cramond Village and Beach
  • Cammo Estate
  • Princes Street Gardens
  • Dr Neil’s Garden
  • Wild West Cowboy Street
  • Union Canal
  • Water features outside the Scottish Parliament
  • Water of Leith Walkway

Sweet Treats

  • Kaspa’s Edinburgh
  • Mary’s Milk Bar
  • Luca’s Ice Cream Shop
  • Mimi’s Bakehouse
  • Stack & Still

Toy Shops

  • Toys Galore
  • Gulliver’s Toys and Gifts
  • The LEGO® Store
  • Build-a-Bear Workshop

Visitor Attractions

  • Edinburgh Castle
  • Dynamic Earth
  • Camera Obscura & World of Illusions
  • Mercat Tours
  • National Museum of Scotland
  • Edinburgh Zoo
  • The Chocolatarium
  • Jupiter Artland
  • Craigmillar Castle
  • Gladstone’s Land
  • LOVE Gorgie Farm
  • Open-top bus tours

18 August 2022

SCOTTISH CATERING, EVENTS AND VENUE OPERATOR HICKORY EXPANDS TO ENGLAND WITH THE SANDS CENTRE PARTNERSHIP

Award-winning Hickory appointed as exclusive caterer for destination venue The Sands Centre following multi-million-pound redevelopment

Premium leisure and entertainment venue The Sands Centre in Carlisle, which is close to completing a multi-million pound redevelopment, has appointed Hickory, Scotland’s largest and fastest-growing independent catering, events and venue operators, as the exclusive catering partner.

In its first contract win outside Scotland, Hickory has fought off strong competition following a tender process to take over the catering operations at the centre, a focal point for culture and sport in the north of England. 

The Sands Centre’s £27 million transformation, funded by Carlisle City Council and operated  by GLL, is due to be complete this autumn. The venue - which will combine two existing sites at The Sands Centre and The Pools - will provide first-class entertainment, leisure, swimming and eating and drinking facilities on a single site, with estimated yearly footfall of more than one million. 

The Sands Centre’s extensive catering facilities, operated by Hickory under the new 10-year partnership, will include a new restaurant with a range of dining areas, a coffee shop with separate indoor seating, two downstairs bars, an upstairs bar and a large outdoor terrace. Hickory will also service bespoke catering packages for meetings, conferences, and celebrations in The Sands Centre’s flexible function rooms. 

With a versatile programme ranging from music and theatre to comedy and talks, some of the eclectic events drawing crowds to The Sands Centre this autumn include Blood Brothers, Russell Kane, The Proclaimers and Sarah Millican. 

James McGarry, General Manager – The Sands Centre, said: “We’re excited to be nearing completion on our multi-million pound redevelopment. Our food and drink offering must be of the highest quality to reflect our new surroundings. That is why we’ve chosen Hickory as our exclusive catering partner. During the tender process, we were immediately attracted to their proposals for our extensive catering facilities and the expertise and enthusiasm of their people. 

“Hickory clearly understands the wide range of customers that will visit The Sands Centre, the type of food and drink they will be looking for and the prestigious events we will be hosting. They also put a real emphasis on using the best local ingredients and treating staff well. We’re building a trusted relationship with Hickory and we’re pleased that our businesses share the same ethos.  We’re really looking forward to working closely with Hickory in the months and years to come.”

In 2023, The Sands Centre will host 200 professional events with capacity for over 250,000 customers. As well as its programmed events and performances, the facility will be home to a number of sporting events of regional and national significance including regional swimming galas, sports specific tournaments and competitions. 
This latest success for Edinburgh-headquartered Hickory follows a string of business wins. It recently signed a partnership with the prestigious National Museum of Scotland to offer a range of food and drink experiences for the landmark venue’s private guests. It also recently gained a new contract to operate the hospitality at the Trust Golf Women’s Scottish Open, alongside working with Fringe by the Sea Festival for a second year running.

Stephanie Stubbs, Hickory Managing Director, said: “We’re excited to have won the tender to take over catering operations at such an important time for The Sands Centre following its major redevelopment. This appointment marks the first step in our plan to expand outside Scotland, while continuing to grow in our home market. 

“The investment in The Sands Centre is a game-changer for Carlisle and the surrounding areas, with the venue now offering a wide range of cultural and sporting facilities that are world class. Our catering will reflect the venue’s premium position in Carlisle city centre where we’ll work with local suppliers and provide excellent employment opportunities. 

“We understand the varying needs of the customers who will be visiting The Sands Centre and we have a created distinct and tempting food and beverage proposition that will appeal to them, making The Sands a destination for locals and visitors alike.”

The Sands Centre is operated by GLL in partnership with Carlisle City Council. Established in 1993, GLL is the largest UK-based charitable social enterprise delivering leisure, health and community services. 

Operating under the Better brand, GLL manage 258 public sport and leisure centres, 113 libraries and 10 children’s centres in partnership with 50 local councils, public agencies and sporting organisations. GLL has 850,000 members and welcomes 46 million customer visits per year.

Hickory has scooped several awards, winning the accolade of Food and Drink Company of the Year at Insider’s Made in Scotland awards, and is a finalist in the Best Scottish (Independent Business) category at the Scotland Food and Drink Excellence Awards.

Hickory will continue to expand its outside bar and food festival-style service supporting large-scale events, which has to-date included the provision of innovative seasonal catering and styling for the Borders Book Festival, Bars for the Genesis Scottish Open Golf Tournament in East Lothian and the Royal Highland Show.

It also delivers events at an extensive and eclectic portfolio of venues across Scotland, including the Assembly Rooms, Royal College of Physicians, Dovecot Studios, Newhall Estate and Neidpath Castle.  It exclusively operates the new Cairns Farm Estate in the Pentland Hills and Eskmills Venue on the outskirts of Edinburgh. 

With an emphasis on sustainability, Hickory’s mission is to deliver the best events and hospitality experiences.  This is achieved by providing the highest-quality ingredients that are sourced locally by their professional culinary team and delivering the best quality seasonal food.

Stephanie Stubbs added: “One of the things that makes us stand out is the focus we put on supporting our loyal workforce through our in-house training programme, working towards ISO9001, and our early commitment to paying the Real Living Wage. Our approach encourages people to have a long-term future in the hospitality industry and this will be reflected in how we run the catering and bar service at The Sands Centre.”

https://hickoryfood.co.uk

17 August 2022

Armadilla surfing a wave of success as it supplies luxury accommodation pods to Wavegarden Scotland

The Scottish design and manufacturing business wins major deal from Wavegarden | The Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner Armadilla officially receives its accolade

Armadilla, a manufacturer of eco-friendly, outdoor living and working spaces, is supplying luxury holiday accommodation units to Wavegarden Scotland, the country’s first inland surfing destination, in a deal worth around £1.75 million.

In a boost to its growth plans, Armadilla is manufacturing and supplying two types of self-catering units to Wavegarden Scotland  from its hospitality range - 11 ‘Pods’ and eight ‘Waves’. This comes as Armadilla targets annual turnover of around £5m annually over the next two to three years from the pre-pandemic level of £2m.

The Scottish family-owned firm Armadilla, based in Midlothian, started building and supplying luxury pods to hotels and hospitality groups more than 10 years ago. It was a 2020 winner of a Queen’s Award for Enterprise in recognition of its innovation. The expanding business officially received its Queen’s Award when Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian, Richard Callander, visited its manufacturing site last month, where he viewed its pods and met employees.

Major construction work on Wavegarden Scotland’s £55m landmark leisure and staycation facility in Ratho on the outskirts of Edinburgh got underway last month. It is due to open in summer 2024 when it is expected to create 130 jobs, generate up to £11m for the local economy and attract more than 180,00 visitors annually. It will be set within a 60-acre country park offering waterside accommodation ideal for all groups from families to surfers and international visitors.

Archie Hunter, Armadilla managing director, said: “A number of factors attracted Wavegarden Scotland to working with us to provide luxury self-catering accommodation at its unique facility in Ratho which is sure to attract visitors from far and wide.

“We’re a local business and they were keen to support local suppliers. We’re flexible and happy to personalise our pods for clients. For example, we’re adapting our pods for this unique destination to include such features as secure areas for holidaymakers to store surfboards, along with outdoor showers.  Our offering is on a par with what guests would expect at a four- or five-star hotel. And we have always put sustainability at the heart of our design and manufacturing processes, which was another important consideration for the team.”

Armadilla’s units have natural timber cladding with a 50-year warranty and materials are sourced with the circular economy in mind. They are constructed using the principles of Passivhaus buildings. By creating a fully enveloped, well-insulated structure, energy consumption is dramatically reduced. Smart technology including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is also used to maintain temperature, humidity and CO2 at optimum levels.

Mr Hunter added: “Another advantage of our accommodation units that helped seal the deal with Wavegarden Scotland is their low power demand. This feature means that they can focus the power on the site to its wave machine. This isn’t the first time that our low power use has proved to be a winner with customers.”

Andy Hadden, founder of Tartan Leisure Ltd which is developing Wavegarden Scotland, said:  “Armadilla is a market leading brand, offering world class, environmentally friendly luxury accommodation.  As we create Scotland’s newest leisure and staycation facility, it’s important that we work with dynamic local businesses, so we are thrilled to be Armadilla’s flagship project for Scotland.”

Archie Hunter added: “Along with the prestige that comes with being involved in the Wavegarden Scotland project, all our Armadilla employees were give a big boost by the recent visit of Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Midlothian Richard Callander. This was a reminder of the significance of our success in winning a Queen’s Award two years ago. This award gives us great credibility in the global marketplace and is definitely helping us attract new business.”

Armadilla was founded in 2010 by Archie Hunter, who has a background in farming and hospitality, and his son Ross Hunter, chief executive, a design engineer. It now supplies clients from diverse sectors across the UK and overseas and employs 35 people.

For more information: https://armadilla.co.uk

Link to images:
https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/d1qonlroc2tb07jq2hmty/h?dl=0&rlkey=o96mjbo8xy2yjolq0ayzinnd6

11 August 2022

WELLBEING STAR’S 10 TOP TRANQUIL EDINBURGH SPACES TO TAKE A BREATHER DURING THE FESTIVAL FUN

With Edinburgh’s world-famous festivals in full swing, local breathwork expert, Radio 1 DJ & Sunday Times bestselling author Stuart Sandeman highlights 10 of the capital’s calm spaces

With thousands of visitors enjoying Edinburgh’s world-famous festivals, local breathwork expert Stuart Sandeman, whose new book ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ is a Sunday Times bestseller and top three on Amazon, has teamed up with Forever Edinburgh to highlight 10 tranquil spaces in the city for visitors to take a breather in during the festival fun. 

Following Edinburgh’s recent crowning as Time Out’s Best City in the World for 2022, the joint initiative between Forever Edinburgh, The Official Guide to Edinburgh, and the wellbeing star shines a spotlight on peaceful places across the capital’s distinctive neighbourhoods.  

The top ten of tranquil spaces has been compiled as part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign, which promotes the Capital’s ever-evolving stories and experiences to visitors and residents alike. 

Fresh from appearing on ITV’s This Morning show, breathwork expert and Radio 1 presenter Stuart Sandeman, who divides his time between Edinburgh and London, said: “One of the best things about Edinburgh is you can easily escape the hustle and take a breather in so many beautiful places across and around the city. You’re spoilt for choice, really, from waterside walks to tranquil parks, where you forget you are even in a city!  

“Although my breathwork techniques can really be done anywhere, there’s something very special about finding a peaceful space in nature to help recharge your batteries, and I’m delighted to work with Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign to help even more people discover the hidden hideaways in Edinburgh’s fantastic neighbourhoods.”  

TOP 10 TRANQUIL EDINBURGH SPACES FOR A BREATHER 

  1. Take a beautiful seafront stroll along the Seaside Award-winning 2.2-mile Portobello Beach with its classic Victorian promenade and old-world waterfront. Beach wheelchairs are free to hire for those with mobility issues, including their x8 All Terrain Power Wheelchair, perfect for exploring the sand. There’s no end of top-notch eating and drinking places for when you’ve worked up an appetite! To get there, hop on a Lothian Bus 26 or 45.  
  2. Within walking distance from the city centre, the 70-acre Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh in Inverleith near Stockbridge is home to a 350-year-old collection of plants, fossil trees, tranquil water features, a Rock Garden, sculptures by Andy Goldsworthy – as well as excellent food and drink options like the John Hope Gateway café and Terrace café, serving fresh, light meals and scrumptious cakes.  
  3. The sheltered and tranquil garden at Dunbar’s Close off the Royal Mile in the heart of the Old Town is one of Edinburgh’s best-kept secrets. Laid out in the style and character of a 17th century garden, it’s accessed via a narrow, cobbled path which emerges on a parterre of clipped shrubs under a green canopy of trees. You’ll feel like you’ve discovered something few others have. 
  4. Beloved by legendary Edinburgh crime writer Ian Rankin, the Hermitage of Braid is a beautiful woodland walk along the Braid Burn below Blackford Hill in Morningside in the south of the city. Ian Rankin described this local nature reserve as a ‘little piece of wilderness in Edinburgh’, with mature trees, bridges to play Poohsticks in the stream from and hillside to clamber up. Sturdy footwear recommended! Get there by Lothian Bus: the 5, 11 and 16 all stop close by on Comiston Road (get off opposite South Morningside Primary School and walk along Braidburn Terrace) 
  5. Wind your way round the stepped and serpentine grassy mounds and three circular pools which make up Charles Jencks’ iconic 2001 ‘Landform’ sculpture in the grounds of the Modern One modern and contemporary art gallery in the West End at Belford Road. Feed your appetite as well as your soul in the gallery’s popular café with its delightful garden terrace. Walk to the gallery from the city centre or hop on an Edinburgh Coach Lines Service 13 from the city centre. 
  6. Wander along the Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s main river, and spot kingfisher, heron, otters and much more among the wildlife who make this lovely place their home. The walkway passes many areas of interest, including Colinton Village (home to Scotland’s largest historic mural in an old railway tunnel), Craiglockhart Dell, the Union Canal, Saughton Park, Murrayfield Stadium (home of the Scotland Rugby team), the Scottish Gallery of Modern Art, Dean Village, Stockbridge, the Royal Botanic Garden and Leith. An audio commentary to accompany your walk is available online from the Water of Leith Conservation Trust.  
  7. Painstakingly landscaped in the 18th and 19th centuries on the drained site of what was once Edinburgh’s Nor Loch, a natural Medieval defence created on marshland in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, Princes Street Gardens are two adjacent parks forming an oasis of green space where the Old Town meets the New Town. Featuring the splendid Ross Fountain and the Ross Bandstand, home of the world-famous Hogmanay Street Party, as well as numerous eye-catching statues and sculptures, you’re sure to feel rested and restored after a visit to the gardens.  
  8. Head out to South Queensferry (via train to Dalmeny or the 43 from Lothian Country Buses) and embark on the 4.5-mile Shore Walk to the beautiful old fishing village of Cramond, one of Scotland’s most important archaeological sites and its oldest continuously occupied settlement. Starting from the Hawes Pier opposite the Hawes Inn (said to have inspired Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘Kidnapped’) under the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, the walk boasts fabulous and ever-changing views over the Forth to various islands and the Fife coastline, passing Barnbougle Castle and Dalmeny House.  
  9. A woodland walk up Corstorphine Hill near Edinburgh Zoo is the perfect way to blow off the cobwebs. Get there on the 26 bus to check out Corstorphine Tower and the Corstorphine Hill Walled Garden and enjoy some truly spectacular views in all directions: across to the Pentland Hills to the south, the Kingdom of Fife to the north, Ben Lomond in the west (on a very clear day!) and the gentle terrain and coastline of East Lothian to the east.  
  10. Commune with animals as well as nature at the small and family-friendly LOVE Gorgie Farm – a little piece of countryside in the heart of west Edinburgh. Feed the goats, meet alpacas, guinea pigs, ducks and even a tortoise at this compact city farm, where there’s also a lovely café, outdoor play area and events space. Buses 1, 2, 25, 33, 4 and X22 all stop near the farm. 

Fiona Hunter, the destination marketing manager for Forever Edinburgh and The Story Never Ends campaign, said: “Edinburgh’s a brilliant, endlessly enchanting city made up of so many fantastic and unique neighbourhoods. Each one tells its own story about what it means to be a local citizen. And if you’re looking for an idyllic spot to unwind and recharge your batteries during the August festival season – or at any time of the year! - it’s well worth taking the time to explore the hidden gems and well-loved green spaces in all corners of our city. We guarantee you’ll be glad you did!”  

More info about Edinburgh’s distinctive neighbourhoods: https://edinburgh.org/neighbourhoods/   

28 July 2022

Scottish wellness entrepreneur lands Sunday Times bestseller with debut book

Stuart Sandeman returns home to Edinburgh to launch ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’

Edinburgh-born former Scottish judo champion-turned-breathing expert Stuart Sandeman today (28 July) returned home to launch his book ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ and share his message about the life-changing impact of breathwork.

Stuart, who splits his time between London and Edinburgh, unveiled his book – which has just become a Sunday Times bestseller - in the suitably peaceful surroundings of the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. The former financier and DJ learned about the power of transformative breathing techniques and used it to help cope with grief after he tragically lost his girlfriend to cancer.

The Scot is now blazing a trail for the health benefits of better breathing, which can have a powerful impact on tackling stress and improving wellbeing. Such is his rising popularity that he now hosts a popular Radio 1 wellbeing series called the Decompression Session, in which he combines relaxing music with powerful breathing exercises. 

In addition to regular live breathwork sessions with his devoted 45,000+ Instagram followers, Stuart has also worked with countless major global brands including Nike, Adidas, Google and YouTube, as well as with Olympic athletes, actors and musicians through his company Breathpod to show how better breathing can reduce stress, improve mood and mindset, accelerate performance and improve productivity.

His brand new book, ‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ - already a Sunday Times and Amazon bestseller - is a practical guide containing series of simple yet effective exercises that are guaranteed to improve people’s performance in any field.

With Stuart's daily breathing practices, people can learn to develop better focus, boost their creativity and find their flow. The book contains tools to help lessen stress and anxiety, reduce pain, and overcome loss. And readers will discover how they can use their breathing to break out of the habits, patterns and beliefs holding them back.

Speaking at his Edinburgh book launch, Stuart said: “It’s wonderful to empower people with breathing tools that can improve and transform lives. After I lost my girlfriend to cancer, I was on the brink of despair until I discovered that just by tweaking something we all do all day, every day you can rewire your brain and change the way you think and feel. I want to help as many people as I can to learn these simple yet profound techniques – they’re so easy incorporate into your daily routine and will bring so many benefits in terms of your health and happiness.”

‘Breathe In, Breathe Out’ is published by Harper Collins, HQ, £16.99. Also available in eBook and audio.

TESTIMONIALS – a selection

Georgina Cassar, Team GB Olympic gymnast – “I wish I had come across Stuart when I was training for the Olympic Games. After my session with him I felt lighter physically and mentally. We could all benefit from the work he is doing.”

Rhik Samadder, actor and Guardian columnist – “5/5. I feel shockingly peaceful and alive.
My morning’s anxiety has been replaced with an energised calm. This breathing thing is an inspiration. I think I will stick with it for the rest of my life.”

Michael Jamieson, Olympic silver medallist Team GB swimmer – “Stuart opened my eyes to the power of breathing. My sleep, mood and productivity all improve when I practise regularly.

Lisa Snowdon, TV and radio presenter – “So transforming. I feel calmer, clearer and much more confident about who I am and what I want in my life and work.”

Casper Lee, YouTuber and entrepreneur – “I went into my sessions with Stuart believing it wouldn't work. The experiences I had were out of this world. They changed my life in so many positive ways.”

Google staff feedback – “It was a real eye-opener to understand both the science behind breath and how we can actually use our breath to get us through the day, whether we need an energy boost or a calming moment. We have already started putting the techniques to work in the office as a team!”

28 July 2022

AWARD-WINNING SPIRITS ADDED TO THE LINE-UP FOR FRINGE BY THE SEA FESTIVAL

JG Thomson, the Leith-based purveyor and blender of whisky, gin and rum, becomes official spirits partner of biggest-yet East Lothian festival (5-14 August)

J.G. Thomson, the Leith-based purveyors and blenders of award-winning small-batch blended malt Scotch whisky, gin and rum, has been unveiled as the official spirits drinks partner of Fringe by the Sea arts festival in North Berwick from 5 to 14 August.

At Fringe By The Sea, which recently unveiled its biggest programme ever, the JG Thomson core range will be available across the site’s several bars. This range comprises of; Smoky Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Rich Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Sweet Blended Malt Scotch Whisky, Citrus Dry Gin, Bold Jamaican Rum.

A special menu of artisan cocktails featuring JG Thomson spirits will also be available at the festival which is expected to attract around 50,000 people. These serves include the G&T By The Sea featuring its Citrus Dry Gin, The Main Stage Cooler featuring its Rich Blended Malt Scotch Whisky and the Bold & Fiery featuring its Bold Jamaican Rum.

In addition, JG Thomson will have its own pop-up shop and tasting bar offering festival-goers the chance to sample its spirits and buy full bottles.

The partnership with Fringe By The Sea comes as J.G. Thomson, which was launched at the end of 2021, rolls out a new marketing campaign. This includes out-of-home advertising around Leith and Edinburgh, advertorials and content in a series of media outlets including Whisky Magazine, Decanter, Cask & Still and Scottish Field Magazine, plus a series of soon-to-be-announced partnerships with influential people and shops around the capital city.

Fringe by the Sea features a mix of local, national and international talent across music, literature, comedy, science, film and nature.  The eclectic line-up this year includes: music from such names as Texas, The Happy Mondays, and the RSNO; top comedians such as Frankie Boyle and Clive Anderson; and a rich literary offering from the likes of Alexander McCall Smith and Val McDermid.

The main setting for the festival is the Belhaven Big Top in the beautiful Lodge Grounds overlooking Bass Rock, Firth of Forth and Kingdom of Fife, with pop up events at North Berwick Library, the Scottish Seabird Centre and around the town.

J.G. Thomson was originally a wine and spirits merchant with roots dating back to the 1700s. It occupied the Vaults in Leith – the now home of The Scotch Malt Whisky Society. Its success saw it own three bonded warehouses and their own cooperage and its whisky was exported all over the world. Times started to change, as did its fortunes, and the last bottling was completed in Leith in 1964.

But superior quality, blending and curating is in the DNA, and that heady mix continues today with the latest incarnation of J. G. Thomson for the 21st century. Building on the same founding principles, expert blenders are creating new and exciting spirit tastes in small batches for people who want an authentic experience. Its mission is to create whiskies, gins and rums that are a little out of the ordinary, blended with discriminating taste and appeal.

Festival-goers will be able to enjoy the high-quality J.G. Thomson range while soaking up art and culture in North Berwick in August.

Ria Mcadam, Marketing Manager at J.G. Thomson said: “Our customers are discerning and looking try out new spirits tastes, whether that be small-batch Scotch whisky, gin or rum. Our outlook and approach is very much in line with Fringe by the Sea that brings art and culture to festival visitors through its broad programme of acts and events. We’re therefore excited to the official spirits drinks partner of the festival, and we’re looking forward to introducing our products to an even wider audience in the lovely setting of North Berwick, just down the coast from our home in Leith.”

Rory Steel, Fringe by the Sea festival director, said: “We’re proud of the programme we’ve put together for this year’s festival and we’re sure to attract crowds from nearby and further afield. We believe J.G. Thomson will bring a brand new element to the excellent food and drink offering we have at the festival, and we’re delighted to be partnering with such an innovative brand.”

https://jgthomson.com
www.fringebythesea.com

19 July 2022

Dentons predicts more casual dining deals as The Restaurant Group snaps up Barburrito

Law firm was sole adviser to TRG on its acquisition of the Mexican chain

Experts have hailed a “strong appetite” for further consolidation in the casual dining sector after law firm Dentons advised The Restaurant Group (TRG) on its £7 million purchase of Mexican-themed chain, Barburrito.

Brian Moore, Dentons’ Edinburgh-based divisional head of corporate, who led the team that advised on the deal, said buyers with the necessary cash were eyeing opportunities in the UK and Europe.

Mr Moore, who is a respected expert on food and drink deals, having advised clients including Macallan-owner Edrington, First Milk and Nc’nean Distillery, said: “Even when their spending is being squeezed by rising inflation, consumers are still loyal to their favourite brands, especially when it comes to treating themselves to a meal out.

“Our expertise in working with branded hospitality portfolio owners means that we know there are other deals out there just waiting to be done.

“There’s definitely a strong appetite among portfolio owners to buy more hospitality brands.

“Our experience in the food and drink sector and with brand protection helped us to complete this transaction swiftly, getting the best deal for TRG.”

Dentons was the sole adviser to TRG on the deal, with Mr Moore being joined by his fellow partner Lorna McCaa from the UK tax team, along with colleagues Diana Mennie, a senior associate in its Edinburgh office, and Charlotte White, an associate in its Glasgow branch.

They were supported by tax consultant John Finnick, real estate partner Brian Hutcheson, real estate associate Graham Ronald and intellectual property partner Ross Nicol.
The law firm has a long history of working with TRG on numerous mandates.  

Dentons’ broad experience in branded hospitality portfolio deals includes advising European restaurant operator AmRest on the acquisition of Sushi Shop Group and the German operations of both Kentucky Fried Chicken and Starbucks, supporting High Bluff Capital Partners’ takeover of Church’s Chicken in the US, and running franchise masterclasses at the annual Global Restaurant Investment Forum in Dubai.

Mr Moore’s comments came after TRG unveiled plans to double Barburrito’s footprint during the next four years, focusing on the south of England.

Barburrito, which was founded in Manchester by Morgan Davies and Paul Kilpatrick in 2005, already has 16 sites in the UK.

The company has grown its like-for-like sales by 20% in the year-to-date, outperforming the 14% growth posted by the wider restaurant sector.

TRG – which owns brands including Chiquito, Frankie & Benny’s, and Wagamama – operates around 400 sites throughout the UK.

The group said: “The Barburrito proposition is well aligned with key consumer trends – including healthy eating, convenience, and customisable cuisine – and offers high-quality products at attractive prices with an average spend per customer of circa £10.

“Barburrito’s strong current trading gives us confidence in its ability to align with and extend TRG’s track record of market outperformance.

“The sites have historically generated strong returns on invested capital in excess of 30% and TRG believes there is significant scope to further develop and expand the brand, particularly in the south of England, where there is limited presence.

“The initial expansion plan would be to double the existing estate over the next four years.”

TLT and FinnCap Cavendish advised Barburrito on its sale to TRG.

8 July 2022

NEW EDINBURGH MUSIC MAP LAUNCHED TO ENCOURAGE VISITORS TO EXPLORE THE SCOTTISH CAPITAL’S MUSIC SCENE

Forever Edinburgh unveils new music map to shine a spotlight on the city's eclectic and evolving music scene

A new music map of Edinburgh has been launched to encourage visitors and residents to explore the city’s venues, live music bars, record shops and ‘musical’ places of interest.

Acclaimed local band swim school, who recently signed a record deal with LAB Records, took a break from playing festivals across the UK to help launch the map at Sneaky Pete’s, one of Edinburgh’s most vital music venues.

The Edinburgh Music Map, which features a selection of around 50 music destinations across the capital, has been created by Forever Edinburgh, the city’s destination marketing brand, in collaboration with local music site Edinburgh Music Lovers.  

The map lists around 20 of the city’s main music venues which regularly host gigs such as Sneaky Pete’s, a recent winner of the UK’s Grassroots Music Venue of the Year; former Veterinary School, Summerhall; 5-star flagship venue The Usher Hall; and the recently rebranded O2 Academy Edinburgh.

Also included are the city’s numerous independent record shops such as newcomer Thorne Records in Bruntsfield and stalwart shops such as Underground Solu'shn, Avalanche and Assai Records. A selection of music bars across Edinburgh that host traditional live music sessions, such as Whistle Binkies, Bannermans and Sandy Bell’s, are also featured.

The map features a link to a specially curated all-Edinburgh playlist featuring music by a new wave of exciting Edinburgh bands and artists including swim school, Hamish Hawk and Callum Easter, as well as established names such as Young Fathers and The Proclaimers.

The launch of The Edinburgh Music Map, which is available to download from Forever Edinburgh’s website with a printed version expected to follow, comes at a time when the story of the city’s eclectic and evolving live music scene is entering an exciting new chapter as it emerges from the pandemic.

Edinburgh has a new venue in the pipeline, with the development of the Dunard Centre in the New Town. This 1,000-capacity concert hall will be the city’s first purpose-built venue in more than 100 years when it opens in 2026. In addition, an old venue, Leith Theatre, is being gradually brought back to life – in August, it will host a series of gigs as part of the Edinburgh International Festival.

The city is also playing host to a number of largescale events this summer such as the Connect Music Festival at the Royal Highland Centre and the Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens.

Alice Johnson, singer and guitarist for swim school, said: “Sneaky Pete’s is one of our favourite venues in Edinburgh. We have played the venue multiple times and also been to watch so many of our favourite bands there - whether you are on stage or in the audience, the energy and atmosphere is always amazing. You can tell it's a highly loved venue the moment you step foot in the door so we hope this map helps encourage more musicians and fans to come to Edinburgh.”

Nick Stewart, owner of the Sneaky Pete’s venue and a leading campaigner for live music in Edinburgh, said: "Edinburgh is a music city with a rich history of great gigs by outstanding touring and local acts. Its nightlife is built around music culture, and it's great to see it recognised in this map of hotspots."

Karl Chapman, Head of Heritage, Cultural Venues, Museums & Galleries at City of Edinburgh Council, said: “It’s exciting to see the launch of Edinburgh’s music map. I’m sure this will become an invaluable resource for music fans both for those who want to visit the city and also residents.

“Our music scene was hard hit by the pandemic, and it needs support to bounce back even bigger and better. I’m sure the new music map will play a key role in raising awareness of and encouraging visitors and residents to explore our eclectic music scene, along with other Forever Edinburgh initiatives, such as the recently appointed music reviewer.” 

The map is part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign which promotes the capital’s ever-evolving stories and array of experiences that are always developing, just like its music scene, to both visitors and residents. It is also part of a drive by Forever Edinburgh to encourage visitors to explore the city’s exciting music scene by promoting it to new audiences via its website and social media channels which are viewed by millions each year.

In May, Forever Edinburgh appointed an official music reviewer to write reviews of gigs in the city that help encourage more music fans around the UK to visit Edinburgh. The reviewer, Stuart Niven, 37, a learning and development consultant from Leith with a passion for music and an interest in writing, is reviewing gigs each month by local artists and touring performers across Edinburgh venues.

More info: https://edinburgh.org/things-to-do/live-music-in-edinburgh/the-edinburgh-music-map/

6 July 2022

‘Work-surfing’ app Swurf gets investment from co-founders of Skyscanner and Boda Bars

Edinburgh-headquartered start-up expands across UK and targets global growth | Swurf appoints director in Leeds

Swurf, the innovative app that connects remote workers with welcoming spaces and hosts, has secured significant funding from two investors and appointed a director in Leeds as the ambitious Scotland-based business expands south and targets global growth.

Gareth Williams, co-founder of the internationally successful, Scotland-headquartered Skyscanner travel search engine business, and Anna Lagerqvist Christopherson, co-founder of the award-winning Boda Bar Group in Edinburgh, have put funding into Swurf to support its ongoing growth. At the same time, Swurf, the app for ‘work-surfing’, has appointed its first director outside Scotland, who will focus on growing the business in England.

Swurf was founded in Edinburgh in 2021 by Nikki Gibson, who had worked in events, sales and marketing for many years, when she spotted a gap in the market with more people working remotely during the pandemic. With many people preferring to continue to be remote workers at least some of the time, the app links individuals – Swurfers - with spaces, including hotels, bars and restaurants, where they can get on with their jobs, network and collaborate.

Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) for May this year found that about of quarter of UK workers were adopting a hybrid model. With no sign of a rush back to the workplace full-time, people are still expected to be looking for various places to base themselves and connect with others.

Ms Gibson said: “Getting investment from Gareth and Anna represents a major step forward for Swurf as we continue to expand quickly. It’s great that successful investors and entrepreneurs of their calibre have chosen to support Swurf and have bought into our ambitious plans. Until now I have funded the business myself, as well as receiving a Scottish Government Digital Boost Grant earlier this year to further develop my app with a focus on more engagement for users and hosts.

“I came up with the idea of Swurf while working from home in Edinburgh during the pandemic. I realised people wanted somewhere they could go to work and connect with others, away from their own four walls, and venues were looking for new ways to bring in clients and generate business. The Swurf model has worked well and we continue to sign up new hosts and users across the UK as we build up our community, with an eye on global expansion. Our vision is to have a virtual network of international Swurfers.”

Swurf now has more than 2,500 registered users who have downloaded the app and over 100 hosts. Users and hosts are located across the UK, including the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Manchester, with Leeds coming on board at the end of July. Big names among hosts include Moxy Hotels, Dakota, Chaopraya and Village Hotels.

Swurf is free to download for users who can search for welcome and safe spaces where they can work and connect in their local neighbourhoods, or wherever they might be that day. It is designed to offer flexibility so people can easily pop along to a local host to work at short notice.

It generates income from charging hosts an annual subscription. Swurf plans to grow the services it offers its communities through the likes of exclusive promotions with venues and specially-tailored additions and filters for the app.

Gareth Williams said: “I was attracted to invest in Swurf because it has a real purpose, fills a gap and is building a community. I can see similarities between the Swurf concept and that of the Skyscanner business I co-founded which shook up the travel booking market and has achieved global success. Swurf is growing quickly and I can see the potential for it to be rolled out globally as remote working looks set to stay.”

Anna Lagerqvist Christopherson: “With my Boda Bars and Restaurants business I was the first host to join Swurf when it launched as I could really see the value it added for me and what a great app it was for users. Based on the success in its first year, I didn’t hesitate in deciding to invest in Swurf to support its growth across the UK and then internationally.

“I’ve worked in hospitality for more than 20 years and Swurf is an excellent way for venues to attract customers during quieter times when they are open and paying staff. This challenge of low footfall obviously came to the fore during the pandemic, but it is a constant issue for the hospitality sector, especially as outgoings, such as fuel bills and supplier costs, increase. It’s a win-win for Swurfers and venues and I can see it attracting hotels across the world.”

Carla Godsman of Moxy Hotels said:  "Moxy Hotels in Scotland are delighted to be partnering with Swurf. We are a unique hotel featuring open communal spaces that are a great location for those looking to grab a coffee (or a drink!) and get some work done. Working with Swurf has allowed us to increase our awareness in the local market and become the go-to place for those living within a 20-minute walking range."

https://swurf.co

30 June 2022

Fast-growing independent UK gin and vodka producer House of Boe launches brand home

Scotland-headquartered business opens first retail destination in South Queensferry | House of Boe sets £10m sales target as it expands

One of the UK’s fastest-growing independent gin and vodka producers, Scotland-headquartered House of Boe, is launching its first brand home and is setting an ambitious sales target as it continues to expand.

House of Boe is the leading independent gin company in Scotland by total sales, across the on-trade and off-trade, and is in the top three in the UK. The producer of a range of award-winning flavoured gins and vodkas, distilled in Stirling, has set an annual sales target of £10 million for the financial year 2022/23 as it emerges from the global pandemic when it was impacted by the closure of bars and other venues. Before Covid-19 its annual turnover was £8.5m.

Its experiential retail outlet and venue is opening in July in the popular town of South Queensferry on the outskirts of Edinburgh in the shadow of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, following the success of a pop-up shop on the site of a former bank during the pandemic. To mark the launch, House of Boe is unveiling its first limited edition products, the Queensferry Collection of bespoke gins. Only 1,000 bottles of the Oriental spice-influenced gin will be available and they will initially be sold exclusively at the new brand home.

House of Boe sells its products mainly across the on-trade, in bars and restaurants, as well as the off-trade, such as in leading supermarket chains, including Morrisons, Tesco, Asda and the Co-op, and online. Its products can be found in almost 20,000 pubs and bars in the UK, including Green King, Marston’s, Mitchell & Butlers and Stonegate Pub Company venues, as well as independent outlets and cocktail bars, such as The Dome on George Street in the west end of Edinburgh.

The majority of its sales are in the UK, but it is also growing in popularity in Spain and plans to target other European and global markets.

The business is run by three directors with many years of experience in the drinks industry, Andrew Richardson, Carlo Valente and Graham Coull, who combine their production, marketing and sales skills.

It launched its first gin in 2007 and disrupted the market in 2016 with its inaugural flavoured product, Boe Violet Gin, when other producers were focusing on the crowded craft sector. It is the only gin from a Scottish-owned company in the UK’s top 20 best-selling flavoured gins in the on-trade.

House of Boe director Andrew Richardson said: “We have been investing in our business with the launch of new flavoured gins and vodkas and growing our employee numbers. We’re now in a strong position to open our first brand home in South Queensferry, in which we have already invested more than £200,000. This a major step for us and a sign of our confidence in future growth. We’re sure locals and visitors to the area will see our venue as a destination of choice.

“We have grown quickly over the years from a primarily Scottish to a UK-wide business. We see ourselves as risk takers, willing to stand out from the crowd, hence our move away from craft, with its production focus, to focus on the enjoyment of our drinks and their fit with our consumers’ lifestyles.

“Along with others in the drinks trade we were impacted by the closure of bars, pubs and other venues during the pandemic, but we continued to put money into our business and are now reaping the benefits. We’re on track to meet our sales target for next year and have many more exciting developments in the pipeline.”

The business has a head count of 15 - with 10 in Scotland and five in England - following a recruitment drive, including the appointment of a sales person to manage relationships with large supermarket chains across the UK. It is taking on a retail manager and other staff for its South Queensferry venue.

As well as launching new flavoured gins and diversifying into flavoured vodkas, it has recently started offering its products in pre-mixed in cans, with their calorie content clearly labelled.

House of Boe director Carlo Valente said: “We were ahead of the game when we launched our first flavoured gin. This is now the fastest growing part of the market, and we continue to innovate. With our popular range of flavoured gins and vodkas, such as raspberry and sweet basil and bramble, we have won awards for both our taste and packaging. Visitors to our experiential shop in South Queensferry can sample what we have to offer and enjoy our cocktails, while they learn more about the story behind our products.”

https://www.houseofboe.com

30 June 2022

Leading Scottish caterer set to draw the crowds at Edinburgh centre for art, craft and design

Hickory is running the newly launched café at Dovecot Studios | Venue provides a choice of healthy, delicious food and drink as well as event catering

Edinburgh has a new food and drink attraction with the launch of Dovecot Studios Café in the popular tapestry studio and centre for art, craft and design on Infirmary Street.

Hickory, Scotland’s largest independent catering, events and venue operator, is running the new Dovecot Studios Café on Infirmary Street.  The café is designed to appeal to locals and international tourists alike, especially lovers of art and design.:

Dovecot Studios Café, in its exclusive partnership with Hickory, offers up a healthy, seasonal delicious menu. With changing daily specials, it is a perfect spot in the heart of the Scottish capital for breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and snacks. Everything is made by the expert team using locally sourced quality ingredients.

Tailored menus will be created to align with the inspiring exhibitions hosted at Dovecot Studios, which is a ‘hidden gem’ for art enthusiasts.

Exhibitions this Summer include: Alan Davie: Beginning of a Far-off World which celebrates the centenary of one of the greatest Scottish artists of the 20th century; Raphael - Magister Rafaello, an audio-visual exploration and UK première of the most famous Italian Renaissance artist who worked in tapestry; and The Modern Institute: Space Forgets You, celebrating the international work of John Giorno, Julia Chiang, Arrange Whatever Pieces Come Your Way and Marc Hundley. Dovecot is part of Edinburgh Art Festival and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, and in August, Dazzle, the major annual jewellery exhibition, returns to Dovecot for its 40th Edinburgh Festival exhibition.

The Dovecot Studios Café is open 9.30am to 5pm Monday to Saturday, and on Sundays in August.

Hickory will also provide catering for exclusive-use events held at Dovecot Studios by a range of prestigious organisations.

Claire McHardy, Head of Commercial and Operations at Dovecot, said: “The Dovecot Studios Café is a terrific addition to Dovecot’s world-renowned tapestry studio, exhibitions, shop, and events. Serving excellent locally sourced food and drink throughout the day to our visitors, our ‘new look’ café is a destination in its own right.

“We are looking forward to being the venue of choice for Edinburgh Festival-goers this summer. We are delighted to be working with Hickory and look forward to a successful partnership.”

Stephanie Stubbs, Managing Director of Hickory, said: “We’re excited to have been chosen by such an iconic venue as Dovecot to run its new café and catering operations. This is an excellent addition to the Hickory portfolio of venues and events across Scotland. Customers at the Dovecot Studios Café can be assured that a delicious spread awaits them when they visit. Our team will work closely with Dovecot to create only the best offerings for customers of the café and any organisations hiring out the venue for events and meetings.”
:
Edinburgh-headquartered Hickory delivers events at venues across Scotland, including the Assembly Rooms, Newhall Estate, Neidpath Castle and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. It exclusively operates the new Cairns Farm Estate in the Pentland Hills and Eskmills Venue on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The award-winning business has also expanded its festival-style offering supporting large-scale events, including the provision of innovative seasonal catering and styling for this year’s Royal Highland Show, and bars for the Scottish Open Golf Tournament at The Renaissance Club and Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick.

https://hickoryfood.co.uk  
https://dovecotstudios.com

13 June 2022

Scotty Brand delivers 400kg of Ayrshire potatoes to South Ayrshire Schools to celebrate the start of the Ayrshire season

Scottish food supplier Scotty Brand has celebrated the start of the Ayrshire potato season by partnering with South Ayrshire Council to deliver hundreds of kilos of Ayrshire potatoes to local schools in the Girvan area.

The first yield of Ayrshire potatoes always heralds the start of the new potato season and pupils from several South Ayrshire schools will be one of the first to enjoy this year’s harvest. 

Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “The start of the Ayrshire season is always a special time for us and this year we are delighted that South Ayrshire pupils are one of the first to be able to enjoy them. Eating and buying local Scottish produce is one of our company’s main values and we are thrilled that South Ayrshire is supporting, championing and sharing this message too.”

Scotty Brand is the biggest brand for Ayrshire potatoes which are the first and finest new potatoes grown in Scotland. In 2019 they were granted PGI1 status and are now regarded as among the best in the world. It’s the Ayrshire location that provides the ideal growing conditions. This is mainly due to Ayrshire’s light sandy soil and sheltered beaches which benefit from the warming waters of the Gulf Stream, allowing farmers in Ayrshire to be able to plant their crop a few weeks earlier.

Councillor Stephen Ferry, South Ayrshire Council’s Portfolio Holder for Education said: “We are grateful to be working with Scotty Brand to provide pupils from eight schools in the area with Ayrshire’s most renowned crop. South Ayrshire Council is always keen to educate our pupils on the nutritional, environmental and economic benefits about buying and eating local seasonal produce – and you can’t get more local than Ayrshire potatoes.”

Scotty Brand will continue to celebrate the Ayrshire season at the Girvan Tattie Festival2 on 18th June. As part of the festival there will be a poetry competition, where Scotty Brand has tasked local school pupils to pen a poem all about Ayrshire’s most famous produce.  The winning poet from each school will then be invited along to the Girvan Tattie Festival to recite their poem on stage
Scotty Brand Ayrshire potatoes are widely available in selected Asda, Co-Op, Lidl, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose stores in Scotland.  The season runs from the start of June through to Autumn.
To find out more about Scotty Brand please visit www.scottybrand.com

E n d s

Issued on behalf of Scotty Brand by Beeline PR. For more information, samples, recipes or images please contact Alison Melton on Alison@beelinepr.com / 07713122119

Notes to Editors:

  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Albert Bartlett. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce, fresh from Scotland.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including prepared vegetables, fresh soup, delicious sausage rolls and succulent smoked salmon.
Scotty Brand stockists include Aldi ASDA, Co-op, Lidl Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco and Waitrose.

[1] Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) is a status awarded by the European Commission that protects and promotes named regional food products that have a reputation or noted characteristics specific to that area.

[2] Organised by Girvan Community Led Tourism project

7 June 2022

Dentons launches innovative advice platform to help and support Scotland’s in-house lawyers

World’s largest law firm marks its 150th anniversary in Scotland with launch of Home Grown Academy

In-house lawyers in Scotland are in good hands with the launch of a new hub for expert advice, the latest industry news, a global webinar programme and access to a network of their Scottish peers with the launch of the Home Grown Academy by Dentons, the world’s largest law firm.

The new Home Grown Academy, billed as bringing the “client experience to life in Scotland”, has been set up by Dentons to help and support in-house lawyers working in organisations across the country, offering them unparalleled access to, and personalised support from, internationally-recognised experts at the firm.

Its creation partly grew out of feedback gleaned by the firm through a series of client experience workshops. Participants shared what support and resources they would most benefit from – from expert insight and up-to-the-minute industry news to help with personal and professional development. Such insight has helped Dentons shape the Home Grown Academy.

This comprehensive hub is launching as Dentons celebrates its 150th anniversary in Scotland, having been established as Maclay, Murray & Spens at the start of the 1870s in Glasgow. The firm has grown greatly over the years and now has offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, London and Milton Keynes as well as being able to tap into a global network.

A varied programme of Home Grown Academy events is planned, including a webinar with Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist with the CBI, discussing Scotland’s economic outlook on 15 June and a session on resilience on 20 June. Deep dive topics will cover such relevant issues as combatting the threat of cyber crime with Craig Kennedy, a specialist in the White Collar and Government Investigations team at Dentons.

Dentons’ Scotland managing partner Claire Armstrong said: “As we mark our 150th anniversary in Scotland, we are not only celebrating our achievements over the past century and a half, but also looking to the future and to how Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, can support and advise in-house lawyers by sharing our knowledge, resources and expertise with the wider Scottish legal and business communities.”

Scotland partner Douglas Blyth, who is leading the programme, added: “The Home Grown Academy for in-house lawyers promises to become an indispensable resource, offering access to advice from our accomplished and approachable team of experts to help clients achieve their objectives and provide legal and advisory solutions.

“We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise, as well as highlighting timely and relevant news and information for the Home Grown Academy community. We’re here to help and I know I speak for everyone at Dentons in Scotland in offering a very warm welcome to everyone who signs up to this fantastic new platform.”

Find out more about the Home Grown Academy.

Founded in Glasgow in 1871 by David Maclay, David Murray and John Spens, Maclay Murray & Spens officially combined with Dentons in 2017 to establish Scotland’s largest global law firm.

End

For further information, please contact: Rosemary Gallagher, Beeline PR on 07384 507439 or rosemary@beelinepr.com or Katie Spence, Beeline PR on 07585 211652 or katie@beelinepr.com
IMAGES LINK OF CLAIRE ARMSTRONG AND DOUGLAS BLYTH: https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/73i70tpwb4jiol6yjewce/h?dl=0&rlkey=lkp7eqn5p5xurdpzg9tiolx38

About Dentons
Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com

31 May 2022

SCOTTY BRAND WHIPS UP A BERRY SPECIAL TASTY TRIBUTE FOR THE JUBILEE

Scottish supplier teams up with Perthshire chef to create giant 70 made from 400 strawberry tarts for the Platinum Jubilee

Scottish food supplier Scotty Brand has celebrated the start of the strawberry season and the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee by teaming up with a local chef and fruit grower to create a very special tasty tribute.

With their first-of-the-season strawberries hitting the shelves of Asda stores across the UK from next week (Monday 6 June), Scotty Brand teamed up with Perthshire chef and restaurateur Tim Dover to make 400 mouth-watering strawberry tarts which were assembled into a giant 70 in honour of the 70-year anniversary of the Queen’s reign.

The giant 70 was created in a field at Bruce Farms near Meigle in Perthshire, a family run farm which provides all the sweet and juicy strawberries and raspberries for Scotty Brand. The individual pastries were then donated to three care homes in Meigle, Coupar Angus and Blairgowrie as a contribution to the Jubilee celebrations being held for residents and staff. 

Michael Jarvis, head of marketing at Scotty Brand, said: “Strawberries are always an exciting addition to our portfolio during the summer months and they’re the perfect ingredient for a magical Jubilee celebration.  Scotty Brand is proud to mark the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s reign and to be helping local care homes celebrate the Platinum Jubilee in style through our collaboration with local chef Tim Dover, who’s created 400 of the most delicious-looking tarts with our berries, which are grown by the team at Bruce Farms.

“Scottish berries are hugely popular both north and south of the border and we know they’ll be enjoyed by families the length and breadth of the country this summer.  This year Scotty Brand is producing around 300 tonnes of strawberries for sale all over the UK – that’s more than the weight of a Boeing 747, or about 25 double-decker buses!”

Chef Tim Dover, who runs The Roost restaurant in Bridge of Earn with his wife, Anna, said: “It’s a real honour to work with Scotty Brand and Bruce Farms to create this magnificent strawberry tart creation to celebrate the start of the season and the Queen’s Jubilee. These really are some of the sweetest and most delicious strawberries I’ve ever tasted and it’s lovely to think how many elderly residents in the local community were able to enjoy them.”

Geoff Bruce, who heads up Bruce Farms, said: “Scottish strawberries are famous, with Perthshire being at the heart of Scotland for growing the crop.   The light, fertile soil, long summer days and mild nights provide the perfect conditions for growing sweet, juicy berries.  It is the ideal location and growing conditions that produces - and guarantees - such a delicious and fruitful crop.  Scotland’s temperate climate means that the fruit ripens more slowly than many others and is therefore sweeter and juicier.”

Scottish berries come into their prime for the summer and for seasonal events such as Wimbledon.  An on-site packing hall means the fruit is picked, packed and despatched rapidly, so the strawberries reach stores within 24 hours. Scotty Brand strawberries come in 300g punnets and will be available in selected Asda stores throughout the UK from Monday 6 June. Scotty Brand raspberries and cherries will follow in the coming weeks.

E n d s

Issued on behalf of Scotty Brand by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com or 07990 570 220.

Notes to Editors:

  • Images available on this Dropbox link https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/zcmgoovolbv4tx410tsl9/h?dl=0&rlkey=gkugfqii5skqvm8xay866kx6n
  • Photography includes Tim Dover from The Roost in chef’s whites, Charles Beamish from Bruce Farms and Richard Allison the general manager of Scotty Brand in blue shirt.  Also pictured is Benjamin Byers (9) from Edinburgh at centre of number 70 – photographed at Bruce Farms in Perthshire.
  • Scotty Brand was first launched in 1948 by Albert Bartlett. Albert’s values of hard work and honest endeavour live on in the family company today, as it continues to bring you the best tasting produce, fresh from Scotland.
  • Scotty Brand offers the finest seasonal produce such as potatoes, Ayrshire new potatoes and seasonal berries; and other products including prepared vegetables, fresh soup, delicious sausage rolls, succulent smoked salmon, and potato salad.
  • Scotty Brand will produce an estimated 300 tonnes of strawberries during the 2022 season, equivalent to 25 double decker buses, around 43 African elephants, more than 33 Scotty dogs and heavier than a Boeing 747.
  • Scotty Brand product stockists include Aldi, ASDA, Co-op, Lidl, Morrison’s, Spar, Tesco, and Waitrose.

 http://www.scottybrand.com

30 May 2022

STARRING ROLE FOR ADVENTURE-LOVING PERTHSHIRE SCHOOL IN OFFICIAL QUEEN'S PLATINUM JUBILEE ALBUM

Ardvreck School, known for its academic and adventurous education, has been selected as the only UK preparatory school to feature in the official commemorative album for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee.

The Scottish school, nestled in the Perthshire countryside, was hand-picked by St James’s House to feature alongside a select number of outstanding individuals and organisations from across the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth thanks to its approach to outdoor education and enthusiasm for nurturing a love for the environment.

Featuring more than 250 photographs of Her Majesty from throughout her life, the book provides insight to a lifetime of leadership. Providing a unique window into Her Majesty’s decades of service and one of the most extraordinary lives of this or any other era.

Ali Kinge, Ardvreck School’s Headmistress, said: “It’s an immense honour for Ardvreck to have been selected to feature in the only official book published for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant. We are delighted to have been recognised as a forward-thinking prep school that paves the way for an academic and adventurous education.”

She continues: “We are very proud to be the only British prep school featured in such a timeless and prestigious publication.”

Ardvreck School is an independent boarding and day preparatory school for boys and girls aged 3–13. Pupils at Ardvreck are encouraged to cast their nets wide, to have big dreams and to be ambitious. The children have access to acres of outdoor space for exciting forest learning, sport and play; these factors make the curriculum so creative and thrilling that young minds can’t help but have a tenacious thirst for learning.

The Scottish wilderness is the greatest of all educators – and that’s certainly saying something given that Ardvreck’s actual team of terrific teachers is second to none. Their pupils are happy, well-rounded and fulfilled children who are full of hope and ambition for their futures. What is most remarkable, though, is that every one of them is completely at ease in his, or her, own skin. Through the challenges and situations to which they have been exposed, be it scrambling up a cliff, swimming in a loch, helping in the community, every child is equipped with the skills and the confidence to feel unperturbed by any situation.

Notes to Editors
A folder of images including the two photographs featured in the Platinum Jubilee album can be accessed via this link. Other images show pupils wearing flower crowns they created in honour of the Jubilee and raising the official Jubilee flag at the school.

About Ardvreck School: 
Ardvreck School is an independent boarding and day preparatory school for boys and girls aged 3–13. Located in Crieff in Perth and Kinross, it was established in 1883. 

Tucked away from the stresses and strains of modern life, in breath-taking Perthshire countryside, Ardvreck Preparatory School nurtures and educates your children in a caring, and loving, family environment.

www.ardvreckschool.co.uk
Contact us: email marketing@ardvreckschool.co.uk  or call us 01764 653112

About St James’s House
St James’s House was announced as an Official Platinum Partner and exclusive publisher for the Platinum Jubilee Pageant, which will take place on 5 June 2022.

Titled Her Majesty The Queen: The Official Platinum Jubilee Pageant Commemorative Album, this fully illustrated coffee-table book will bear the official event emblem. It will celebrate the life and reign of Her Majesty and explore developments in the UK and around the world over the past seven decades. It will also showcase a range of aligned organisations, all selected for their transformational contribution across the spheres of culture, society, technology and business.

“Our company has a long history of producing publications for major royal celebrations,” says Richard Freed, Founder of St James’s House and the associated SJH Group. “The Platinum Jubilee Pageant is a once-in-a-lifetime event, and another fantastic opportunity for us to create the official keepsake for a major celebration.” Previous royal titles by St James’s House include publications for the Royal Navy in 2005, the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant in 2012, The Queen’s 90th Birthday Celebration at Windsor Castle in 2016, the RAF in 2018, VE Day in 2019 and the Royal British Legion in 2020.

Her Majesty The Queen: The Official Platinum Jubilee Pageant Commemorative Album is available to order at www.stjamess.org/shop.

E n d s

Issued on behalf of Ardvreck School by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Katie Spence on katie@beelinepr.com or 07585 211652

19 May 2022

Award-winning Edinburgh Drinks Biscuits firm toasts seven-figure Waitrose deal

From Dragons’ Den to the deli counters of 230 Waitrose stores, new deal is a ‘massive step-change’ for The Drinks Bakery

Multi-award-winning Drinks Biscuits maker The Drinks Bakery is raising a glass to winning a seven-figure listing deal with Waitrose, which will see the company’s range of premium savoury snacks stocked at the deli counters of 230 stores across the UK, as well as online.  

The deal will more than double the size of the Scottish company and enable further expansion, with Waitrose joining an ever-growing list of 250+ stockists including independent delis, specialist shops and prestigious stores and outlets such as Selfridges, Liberty of London and Claridge’s Hotel. The company also sells across Europe, Canada, the USA and UAE. 

Established in 2016 by Edinburgh food lover and entrepreneur Andy Murray, The Drinks Bakery offers four flavours of savoury biscuits which are expertly flavour-profiled to match different drinks from around the world. 

The brand has won legions of fans in the intervening years – not least Dragons’ Den stalwarts Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones, who both tucked into a share of the business in 2018 when Andy appeared on the programme. 

The range includes four flavours of Drinks Biscuits, which are made in the Highlands and packed with specially sourced cheeses from world-renowned Edinburgh cheesemonger I.J. Mellis: Parmesan, Toasted Pine Nuts and Basil; Lancashire Cheese and Spring Onion; Pecorino, Rosemary and Seaweed; and Mature Cheddar, Chilli and Almond.  

Ecstatic reviewers have praised the snacks on Facebook as ‘dangerously addictive’, ‘divine’ and ‘the most delicious biscuits I have ever tasted’.  

Welcoming the news of the Waitrose deal, The Drinks Bakery founder Andy Murray said:I keep having to pinch myself that this is all really happening, it’s going to be fantastic to see our Drinks Bakery range on the Waitrose shelves and online. We’ve been working hard to grow the brand over the last few years and this news is a massive step-change for the business.  

“I’m a lifelong foodie and growing up my mum would make her own savoury snacks to pair with the aperitifs she and dad would enjoy. My vision in founding this company was to raise the bar on the common savoury snack and create thoughtful and delicious snacks to match and complement different drinks, from wine and whisky to gin and craft beer, to mention just a few.” 

Dragons’ Den Investor Peter Jones said: “The Drinks Bakery is one of the best brands I’ve ever seen in the Den and Waitrose is a perfect match for Andy’s delicious Drinks Biscuits.”

Dragons’ Den Investor Deborah Meaden said: “I always knew that Andy’s passion and vision would attract the best retailers.  Drinks Biscuits are fabulous products and I have no doubt that they will quickly become a favourite among discerning Waitrose customers.”

Waitrose buyer Michelle Slade said: “We are very excited to be partnering with The Drinks Bakery to offer our customers the eye-catching full range of drinks-paired snacks Andy has created. Whether it’s Parmesan, Toasted Pine Nuts and Basil Drinks Biscuits to nibble with an English Sparkling wine or a Lancashire Cheese and Spring Onion Drinks Biscuit to pair perfectly with a craft beer, there’s something to suit all discerning palates.” 

The Drinks Bakery has landed several coveted accolades in the eight years since its inception, including many Great Taste awards, Scotland Food & Drink Excellence Awards and The Best Indulgent Snack at the World Food Innovations Awards 2021.

E n d s

Issued on behalf of The Drinks Bakery by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com or 07990 570 220

18 May 2022

Rebus fan joins Rankin for literary tour of Edinburgh

Pictured: Ian Rankin accompanied by Julie Fenton (black coat) and her friend Laurie Blair

For avid Rebus fan Julie Fenton from East Lothian, the chance to accompany the books’ acclaimed author Ian Rankin on an unforgettable walk around Edinburgh’s literary landmarks was a “dream come true”.

As the lucky winner of the exclusive, money-can’t-buy experience put up for grabs as part of the Forever Edinburgh ‘s The Story Never Ends campaign, Julie also enjoyed a two-night stay at YOTEL Edinburgh, a Champagne lunch on board Royal Yacht Britannia, dinners at Fazenda and BABA on George Street, and a tour and tasting at Holyrood Distillery. Her prize also included return travel to Edinburgh, lunch at the Haggis Box in the Scottish Storytelling Centre, a tour of Mary Kings Close, the city’s subterranean street.

Julie, an NHS secretary, said: “I was over the moon to win the competition, it really was a dream come true. Taking a literary-themed walk around Edinburgh with Ian Rankin was just incredible.  It was amazing to learn and see so much more of what it’s got to offer – there seem to be fascinating stories around every corner!”

Named the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature in 2004, Scotland’s Capital city is bursting with literary heritage, both past and present. Julie and Ian’s walking tour took them past key landmarks including the statue of Greyfriars Bobby and the Writers’ Museum in the heart of the historic Old Town, wending their way down the Mound into the New Town and culminating at the legendary Oxford Bar made world-famous in the Rebus novels.

Discover Edinburgh’s literary tales and more about the walking route visit
https://edinburgh.org/blog/ian-rankin-literary-tour-of-edinburgh/

E n d s

Issued on behalf of Forever Edinburgh by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com / 07990 570 220
   

10 May 2022

Beeline PR buzzing with success as it makes new appointment

Strategic communications agency expands with addition of experienced public relations professional and former journalist Katie Spence as Senior Account Manager

Edinburgh-headquartered Beeline PR has today announced the appointment of Katie Spence as Senior Account Manager as the successful agency continues to expand.

Katie brings a breadth of experience with her having worked in a variety of communications roles with the City of Edinburgh Council since 2006.  Most recently she was Media and Social Media Manager leading a team of six in a fast-paced and busy press office.  Previous roles with the organisation include Transport Communications Manager, which included promoting the launch of Edinburgh Trams, and Marketing and Communications Manager in the Culture and Sport department.  Prior to joining the City of Council, Katie was a News Reporter with Edinburgh Evening News.

Katie’s appointment comes at a time of significant growth for the agency which works with a wide range of corporate and consumer clients across the private and public sectors.  These include Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, The South of Scotland Destination Alliance, LoveRose Lingerie and Forever Edinburgh.

Beeline PR was set up in 2011 by Debbie Byers who had already enjoyed 15 years working in PR for several large agencies in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. Debbie setup Beeline PR with a desire to combine her passion and skills with interesting clients to create innovative, exciting communications campaigns.

Debbie said: “It’s great to welcome Katie to Beeline PR to share her communications and stakeholder management expertise with our varied client base and business prospects.  She brings a wealth of knowledge in strategically creating and implementing campaigns and being responsive to handling crises and issues, which is an area our business is receiving more demand for.

“In more than 10 years of business, we have worked with more than 100 clients and are proud to say that much of our growth has been organic.  Many of our clients come on board through historical relationships, word-of-mouth business referrals and positive agency collaborations.”

Located at 1 Lochrin Square in Edinburgh, Beeline PR is led by Debbie and her husband Jim along with a highly experienced team and network of consultants working across a range of national and international campaigns.

Katie Spence added: “I’m very excited to be joining Beeline PR, which is really going from strength to strength with an ever-growing roster of fantastic clients.  Debbie, Jim and their colleagues are true professionals - and lovely people! - and I’m very much looking forward to joining such a great team.”

Last year, Beeline PR appointed well-known business advisor and entrepreneur Tino Nombro to the position of non-executive director to help drive growth for the agency and its sister business, Speaker Buzz, a purpose-led motivational speaker agency established in 2018. 

Keen to remain involved in Scottish business, Debbie is a former Chair of CIPR Scotland and is a member of the Executive Team at WeDO Scotland, an organisation dedicated to supporting Scottish entrepreneurs and businesses to maximise growth potential.

https://www.beelinepr.com
https://twitter.com/BeelinePR
https://www.instagram.com/beelinepr/

28 April 2022

WORLD'S LARGEST BOTTLE OF SCOTCH WHISKY TO GO UNDER THE HAMMER AT LYON & TURNBULL

Record-breaking the intrepid stands at almost 6ft tall and contains 311 litres of 32-year-old The Macallan single malt whisky | Range of charities will benefit from the sale of bottling inspired by passion for exploration

The world’s largest bottle of Scotch whisky, The Intrepid, standing at 5ft 11 inches tall and filled with a record-breaking 311 litres of 32-year-old The Macallan, will be auctioned by leading international auction house Lyon & Turnbull, which is headquartered in Edinburgh, on 25 May. 

The auction, which will be live online at 12 noon (GMT) on 25 May at Lyon & Turnbull, is set to attract interest from bidders across the globe. It is hoped the bottle may break the world record for the most expensive bottle of whisky ever sold which is $1.9m. For any amount the sale achieves above £1.3m, 25 per cent will be donated to the Marie Curie charity. 

The Intrepid was officially certified by Guinness World Records when it was bottled last year. The bottle, which contains 32-year-old whisky from world-renowned The Macallan Distillery, contains the equivalent of 444 standard bottles. 

Daniel Monk and the team behind The Intrepid, a partnership between Fah Mai and Rosewin Holdings, were inspired by a passion for adventure, exploration and a desire to help raise money for several charities. 

They named The Intrepid to celebrate the drive and record-breaking achievements of 11 of the world’s most pioneering explorers who are featured on the bottle. These include such luminaries as Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Sir Robin Knox-Johnston, Dr. Geoff Wilson, Karen Darke MBE, Olly Hicks, Sarah Outen MBE, Dwayne Fields FRGS, Levison Wood FRGS, Felicity Aston MBE and past Scottish Adventurers of the Year Jamie Ramsay and Will Copestake. 

The project is supporting the explorers chosen environmental, physical and mental well-being charities. These include Marie Curie, selected by Sir Ranulph Fiennes, and Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), chosen by Jamie Ramsay. 

Colin Fraser of Lyon & Turnbull, who will lead the auction, said: “I’m sure there will be significant global interest in the auction of The Intrepid, a unique collection spearheaded by the record-breaking bottling standing at an incredible 5ft 11 inches tall. 

Bidders will have the chance to buy a piece of Scotch whisky history. They will become the owners of an exclusive 32-year old single-malt Scotch from what is widely regarded as one of the world’s best distilleries, The Macallan.” 

Founder of The Intrepid Project, Daniel Monk, said: “The Intrepid could only have been made possible by the explorers and their commitment. They showed unquestionable personal drive and through the auction we will support a wide ranging group of charities with significance to the explorers. This will become part of The Intrepid’ s legacy and leave a lasting impact.” 

After maturing in two sister casks in The Macallan’s Speyside warehouse for 32 years, the exclusive liquid was bottled last year by Duncan Taylor Scotch Whisky, one of the leading independent whisky bottling companies. 

To commemorate this momentous event, a small number of exclusive bottle sets were also produced. These comprise a collection of 12 bottles, each filled with the remaining 32-year old The Macallan whisky from the same casks used to fill the record-breaking bottle. Each set includes a replica of the main bottle design along with individual versions dedicated to each of the explorers associated with the project. 

The entire Intrepid Collection, led by the 311-litre bottle, will be auctioned at Lyon & Turnbull and is set to generate international interest. 

Charles MacLean MBE, renowned whisky expert and Master of the Quaich, said: “The Intrepid is an elegant whisky, with subtle complexity. Its pale hue implies second or third fill casks, which has prevented the flavour being dominated by wood extractives. Intriguing and easy to enjoy straight – with (many!) friends – on any occasion.” 

For more information please visit: www.lyonandturnbull.com/the-intrepid-whisky 

NOTES FOR EDITORS
ISSUED BY IMOGEN RUSSON PR AND BEELINE PR
For more info contact:
Imogen Russon | 07843441427 | imogen.russon@gmail.com
Jim Byers | jim@beelinepr.com | 07798 876 707

RELEASE IMAGES
Click here to view/ download images 

TASTING NOTES
Full tasting notes of this incredible whisky available on request.

AUCTION
THE INTREPID World Record Whisky
25th May 2022 at 12noon
Live Online
www.lyonandturnbull.com/the-intrepid-whisky

ABOUT LYON & TURNBULL
Operating since 1826, Lyon & Turnbull are one of the UK’s premier fine art and luxury auctioneers. The company’s galleries in London and Glasgow complement the historic Georgian headquarters and main saleroom in Edinburgh. Hosting nearly 45 specialist auctions per year across the UK there is always something to see at Lyon & Turnbull: from jewellery and watches to fine furniture; traditional British and European art to Modern & Contemporary stars; European decorative arts and design to fine Asian art from China and Japan. www.lyonandturnbull.com

ABOUT CHARLES MACLEAN MBE - MASTER OF THE QUAICH
Charles MacLean has been described by The Times as Scotland’s leading whisky expert . He has been researching and writing about whisky for nearly forty years, and has published 15 books on the subject, including Malt Whisky, which won a Glenfiddich Award, and Whisky: A Liquid History, which won ‘Wine & Spirits Book of the Year’ in the James Beard Awards 2005 and ‘Best Drinks Book’ in the International Food Media Awards 2005. He was founding editor of Whisky Magazine (1997), contributes regularly to many publications and has written historical and promotional materials for all the leading Scotch whisky companies. 

He is a member of the Judging Panel (Spirits) of the International Wines & Spirits Competition, was runner-up as ‘Communicator of the Year’ in the 2003 IWSC Awards and won ‘Outstanding Achievement of the Year in Scotch Whisky’ in the 2012 Awards. He was elected a Keeper of the Quaich in 1992, elevated to Master of the Quaich in 2009.

21 April 2022

Scottish firm Armadilla fulfils largest school order for its education pods

The family-owned manufacturing business transports six rainbow coloured pods to Surrey. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise winner supplies sustainable pods to diverse sectors

Scottish business, Armadilla, a manufacturer of eco-friendly, outdoor living and working spaces, has supplied the largest single order for its Education Pods to a school as it grows this part of its business.

The family-owned firm - a 2020 winner of a Queen's Award for Enterprise in recognition of its innovation - started out building and supplying luxury pods to hotels and hospitality groups more than 10 years ago and has gradually diversified into working with schools.

It has just transported six of its specially-built and designed sustainable Education Pods (EdPods) -  painted in rainbow colours - from its base in Bonnyrigg on the outskirts of Edinburgh to Freemantles School in Woking in Surrey – a distance of over 400 miles. The order worth from the Surrey County Council school for children and young people with complex social communication needs is Armadilla’s largest to date from an education provider.

Armadilla was founded in 2010 by managing director Archie Hunter, who has a background in farming and hospitality, and his son Ross Hunter, chief executive, a design engineer. It now supplies clients from diverse sectors across the UK and overseas and employs 35 people.

Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration for all Armadilla clients, including schools. Its pods have natural timber cladding with a 50 year warranty and materials are sourced with the circular economy in mind. Its EdPods are constructed using the principles of Passivhaus buildings. By creating a fully-enveloped, well-insulated structure, energy consumption is dramatically reduced. Smart technology including Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) is also used to maintain temperature, humidity and CO2 at optimum levels.

Archie Hunter said: “We’ve been supplying our studio pods to schools across the UK for a number of years and receive great feedback. With more than 30,000 schools in the UK, this is a significant and growing market for us. It’s remarkable how useful schools find our EdPods, for example as chill down rooms for children on the Autism spectrum, as a sensory space, as a structured play area, or as a reading room. We’re continuing to develop this market and see considerable expansion in fulfilling a rapidly increasing volume of orders.

"It has been great to be able to supply our largest order so far from the education sector to Freemantles School in Surrey, which looks after the needs of a lot of young, neuro-diverse people. The school was particularly attracted to the flexibility of our pods. They were designed to meet their specific requirements, including the request to have them painted in a range of rainbow colours."

Mr Hunter added that schools have an increasing statutory requirement to provide education to children of all abilities, particularly those who fall under the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act (SENDA) 2001. Armadilla’s EdPod has been designed specifically to assist schools in fulfilling these obligations, but he said they are proving useful for schools in myriad ways.

He explained that an attractive aspect of the Armadilla EdPod is that it arrives ready for ‘plug and play’ and because it is modular it can easily be relocated within the school campus or moved to another site.

Freemantles School, rated ‘outstanding’ by Ofsted,  supports children from the ages of four to 19 years across the county of Surrey. Head teacher, Justin Price, said: “One of the things we love about the pods from Armadilla is their flexibility. We’ll initially be using them as a temporary measure to support us in accommodating an extra class ahead of a new building being constructed. For this period we’ll be losing our sensory circuit space for a classroom. We can use the pods to replicate the sensory experiences that we offer.

“In the longer term, we’re considering the pods for a range of options, including library, music space and one has been earmarked as an office for the executive headteacher.”

Armadillla has also supplied schools in a number of areas across the UK including Northumberland, London and the Home Counties.

For more information on how EdPods can benefits schools please visit https://armadilla.co.uk/education-series 

End

Notes to editors

For images of the EdPods leaving Armadilla in Bonnyrigg, with Archie Hunter, and arriving at Freemantles School in Surrey, please visit https://www.dropbox.com/scl/fo/42ddezu9eovc03mx2mmzh/h?dl=0&rlkey=i1kfnru5e36bpl390rnhw3ru4

With media queries please contact Rosemary Gallagher rosemary@beelinepr.com or call 07384 507439

For more information on Armadilla please visit www.armadilla.co.uk

21 March 2022

Entrepreneur behind UK’s first luxury lingerie brand designed for post breast cancer surgery heads into the Dragons’ Den

LoveRose Lingerie founder seeks investment from BBC One’s Dragons to upscale production and introduce new ranges

The Edinburgh-based entrepreneur behind the UK’s first luxury lingerie collection created for women who have undergone breast cancer surgery is set to enter the Dragons’ Den to seek investment.

LoveRose Lingerie, developed by Caroline Kennedy Alexander after she became dismayed by the poor range of underwear available following her double mastectomy, will be showcased to the five ‘Dragons’ on Thursday, March 24.

The brand is named after her sister Rose, who died from breast cancer in 2014. More recently Caroline has lost a second sister to the disease.

The move is part of the Edinburgh-based brand’s £200,000 bid for investment funding to help upscale production and introduce new swimwear, Essentials, and nightwear ranges.

LoveRose Lingerie is the only brand of its kind to combine the complex needs of women who have undergone breast cancer surgery with luxury design, high quality fabrics and matching garments.

As well as looking attractive, the ‘feel good’ indulgence of beautifully designed lingerie has been shown¹ to boost self-esteem and confidence – particularly important for women who have undergone life-changing breast surgery.

It has also been applauded by fashion expert and beauty entrepreneur Trinny Woodall, who praised its feminine designs, and described the LoveRose Lingerie concept as “inspiring” and “a phenomenal brand”.

Caroline Kennedy Alexander said: “It’s incredibly exciting to have the chance to share LoveRose Lingerie with the ‘Dragons’ and the millions of viewers who tune in to watch Dragons’ Den.

“I know how cancer can affect every part of your life and why it’s important for women to be able to feel good and retain their femininity after surgery.

“After my treatment, I realised I couldn’t find anything remotely like what I used to wear. I felt excluded. I was left with nothing to choose from. That’s why I decided that we had to create this brand.”

Caroline, who studied fashion design in Ireland and later sculpture at Edinburgh College of Art, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012 and underwent several operations and radiotherapy.
When cancer returned in 2015, Caroline, one of four sisters out of six who have had breast cancer, underwent a double mastectomy with reconstructive surgery.

Caroline teamed up with fellow designer, Sarah Bell Jones to design and develop the LoveRose Lingerie range.  Their designs feature a variety of pocketed and non-pocketed bras, with hidden support hammocks, paying particular attention to ensure thoughtful seaming, plush elastics and finishings.

All are sustainably made using recycled lace and super soft mesh, silk and cotton jersey.
More than a lingerie brand, LoveRose Lingerie has also created a vibrant online community providing mutual support and care among women with experience of breast cancer.

LoveRose Lingerie is available through the LoveRose Lingerie website (www.loveroselingerie.com) and independent boutiques. 

Selection of images available here - https://www.dropbox.com/sh/t9zxp8qowe00xn8/AAAQBD3CtCCRLiTrME0Vc4Ria?dl=0

View the LoveRose Lingerie range at www.loveroselingerie.com.
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/loveroseloveyourself/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/loverose.lingerie/

Caroline Kennedy Alexander and Sarah Bell Jones are both available for interview.
For more details and to arrange an interview, contact Debbie Byers at Beeline PR – Debbie@beelinepr.com / 07990 570 220

Notes to Editors:

  • ¹ London based fashion psychologist Professor Carolyn Mair PhD CPsychol FBPsS, author of The Psychology of Fashion, and who has researched “the psychology of underwear” has described how wearing nice quality lingerie boosts confidence and self esteem even if no one sees it:Feeling confident can make us appear more physically attractive because we tend to stand, walk, speak and gesticulate differently.” 
  • ² Trinny Woodall: Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Conversation with the founders of LoveRose Lingerie https://youtu.be/-2bjvdh15_U

16 March 2022

TRAVEL EXPERT SUPPORTS THE SOUTH OF SCOTLAND AS THE PERFECT GREAT ESCAPE FROM CITY LIFE

Leading travel writer and broadcaster Simon Calder tells South of Scotland Destination Alliance conference that the region is perfectly placed to attract city dwellers who crave escapes in rural areas

Simon Calder pictured at the South of Scotland Destination Alliance conference: credit Duncan Ireland

With the pandemic creating a ‘perfect storm’ of staycations, a slow tourism trend and city dwellers looking for rural areas to escape to, the South of Scotland is perfectly placed to become a leading tourist destination, according to travel expert Simon Calder.

The renowned travel writer and broadcaster shared his insights as a guest speaker at the South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s inaugural conference in Dumfries. Talking to around 200 people from across the South of Scotland’s tourism sector, Calder said: “More than ever, people want to slow down. They want to escape to the sea, the hills and crave wide open spaces with natural beauty, which are all available in abundance in the South of Scotland.”

Highlighting many people’s concerns around going on holiday abroad and avoiding busy places, Calder said that the recipe for success for South of Scotland’s tourism businesses was to offer experiences that create lasting memories”.

Calder, who holidayed in the South of Scotland last year, shared suggestions for attracting more visitors included creating interesting cross-country road trip experiences such as a route between Stranraer on the west coast of Dumfries and Galloway to St Abbs on the east coast of the Borders; and establishing a ‘Burns to Scott’ literary trail that takes travellers across the South of Scotland.

The potential around coastal tourism, literary tourism, long-distance walking and cycling routes and a growing appetite for trying local food & drink and visiting places with strong sustainable credentials were other themes that emerged during the conference which took place at Easterbrook Hall, The Crichton, Dumfries.

Other speakers at the event included the South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s CEO Ross McAuley, who shared his vision to elevate the South to a ‘go-to place rather than a go-through place’.

Discussing the SSDA’s ‘Scotland Starts Here’ campaign to develop the South into a year-round destination, McAuley shared a number of initiatives highlighting the SSDA’s focus on collaborating with other partners. These included:

  • working closely with the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere to make the South Scotland’s most sustainable destination
  • a partnership with Scotland Food & Drink which will include two food and drink expos taking place in November in the Borders and Dumfries & Galloway
  • teaming up with Traveltech for Scotland to drive digital development in the South

Highlighting a lack of awareness of the South of Scotland as a key challenge, McAuley said: “The people and businesses of the South have shown incredible resilience in the last two years. Now it’s time to come together and rise to the challenge of building the South into a year-round destination and bring tourists who stay and spend in our local communities.

Citing affluent ‘metropolitan adventurers’ looking for short rural breaks in the UK as a key target market, he added that: “We know that people are desperate to reconnect with their friends and families in beautiful and safe rural spaces without crowds. The South can offer this and we must offer remarkable experiences – literally experiences that make people want to share them on social media.”

Representatives from VisitScotland, Scotland Food & Drink, the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire  Biosphere, the Southern Uplands Partnership and The South of Scotland Enterprise also spoke at the event, alongside a number of local businesses including Beirhope Alpacas from Kelso, The Plough Inn in Wigtown and Five Kingdoms Brewery in Isle of Whithorn.

Concluding the event, Rob Dickson, Director of Industry and Destination Development at VisitScotland, acknowledged the tough times that local businesses had been through but added: “Destinations like the South of Scotland that offer wide open spaces, fresh air and authentic outdoor experiences are becoming increasingly popular to a wider range of year-round visitors. There is a real opportunity for the tourism industry in the South of Scotland to build on this strong foundation for a recovery and continue to develop as a must-visit destination.”

ENDS

Issued on behalf of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance by Beeline PR. For further information, contact Jim Byers, jim@beelinepr.com / 07798 876 707 

Notes to Editors  
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs. SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership. 

https://www.ssdalliance.com
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/ 
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance 

2 March 2022

LOCAL MOUNTAIN BIKING STAR GEARS UP TO HELP PUT ‘WORLD-CLASS’ SCOTTISH BORDERS ON MORE PEOPLE’S RADAR

As he prepares for March’s World Cup series, Borders-based Scottish mountain biker and 2020 world champion Reece Wilson is helping to bring more visitors to the South of Scotland

As he gears up for the Mountain Bike World Cup series in March, Borders-based Scottish star and 2020 world champion Reece Wilson is urging more cyclists and outdoors enthusiasts to visit his homeland in the Scottish Borders.

Against the backdrop of cycling and staycations being increasingly popular in the wake of the global pandemic, Wilson has taken on a new role as an ambassador for the Borders and wider South of Scotland to help bring more visitors to the area as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic.

The 25-year-old downhill mountain bike specialist from the Borders became world champion in 2020 and is ranked as one of the world’s top five riders. Ahead of his bid to become world number one again, Wilson stars in a new video celebrating the Borders as part of the Scotland Starts Here campaign to promote the South of Scotland.

The Borders is home to renowned 7stanes mountain biking hotspots of Innerleithen and Glentress, and also Dumfries & Galloway, which also boasts 7stanes trails such as Kirroughtree and Forest of Ae. The wider South of Scotland region also offers superb locations for the increasingly popular sport of gravel biking as well as road cycling.

Wilson said: “I’m fortunate that I get to travel all over the world for races, but every time I come home to the Scottish Borders I have a new appreciation of the mountain biking here and this beautiful place I get to call home.

“When it comes to mountain biking, it doesn’t get much better than the Scottish Borders, it’s a world-class environment. There’s something for riders of any age and ability here, from the more technical trails in Innerleithen to the flowing family-friendly routes of Glentress.

Wilson first honed his skills on a mountain biking course at Borders College before going on to compete all over the world. While Scotland’s reputation for wet weather is sometimes seen as a negative, Wilson says the muddy mountain bike trails in the Scottish Borders helped him become world champion and are a must-visit for mountain bikers of all levels.

“It maybe doesn’t have the sun all the time, but riding in muddy conditions actually helped me become world champion. When I won the World Championships in Austria, it was really wet and that played into my favour. Speaking to other top riders around the UK and the world, I know that a quite a few of them are keen to come and train here in the Borders and see if they can improve their skills.”

More than mountain biking

While the Borders is renowned for its mountain biking, neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway and the Galloway Forest Park has become a leading destination for gravel biking with the area hosting the international Raiders Gravel Galloway event in 2022. With its undulating, quiet roads and multiple routes, The South is also popular with road cyclists.

Beyond biking, Wilson is also a keen golfer and a passionate advocate of getting outside to improve wellbeing. He said: “I think everyone has to be conscious of spending more time outside for their physical and mental health. I love being outdoors, I get ants in my pants when I’m inside. When I’m not riding my bike, I spend a lot time walking and playing golf and there’s no better place to do that and get away from it all than the Borders.

“We’re losing a lot of places around the world that are like this that are so natural, untouched and green. I feel really lucky to have grown up in the Borders and have this kind of scenery on my doorstep. There are endless opportunities here to get outside and have adventures.

“I’d definitely encourage more people to come and visit the Borders and the South of Scotland. I think a lot of people come up from the south and perhaps pass through the Borders on their way somewhere north, but there’s so much to discover here – when you spend some time here it will definitely give you something back.”

“I’ve thought about moving elsewhere, but every time I come home, I realise how much I absolutely love the Borders. I’m here for life.”

Ross McAuley, chief executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance which promotes the region through the Scotland Starts Here campaign, said: “We’re proud to have a world champion living here in the Scottish Borders and flying the flag for the South of Scotland. Reece is born and bred in the Borders and is incredibly passionate about promoting the area to others. We’re delighted to have Reece as an ambassador and supporting our Scotland Starts Here campaign to help encourage more people to visit this beautiful part of Scotland, whether that’s for mountain biking or simply to get away from it all and have some adventures.”

ENDS

Read more here - https://scotlandstartshere.com/blog/reece-wilsons-favourite-places
Watch the Reece Wilson video here https://youtu.be/nUZ4PwNG7OI
For more: https://scotlandstartshere.com/

Social media
https://twitter.com/HereScotland
https://www.instagram.com/discoversouthscotland/
https://www.facebook.com/DiscoverSouthScotland
https://www.instagram.com/reecowilson/

1 March 2022

Call for Scottish tourism industry to ‘Care to Make a Difference’

Green Tourism leads call to treat employees well to ride current storm facing the sector

A call for Scottish tourism and hospitality businesses to ‘Care to Make a Difference’ by ensuring their people come first to help them survive the current ‘perfect storm’ is launched today by high-profile industry members.

Green Tourism, the world leading sustainability accreditation and support programme, has launched the ‘Care to Make a Difference’ campaign, backed by the Scottish Tourism Alliance, (STA), Living Wage Scotland, Loch Melfort Hotel and the Achnagairn Estate.

In the new ‘Care to Make a Difference’ paper, leading industry figures explain how Scotland’s tourism and hospitality businesses can ride the current ‘perfect storm’ - including such challenges as the pandemic, spiralling energy and supply costs and staff shortages - by putting all their employees front and centre.

Andrea Nicholas, chief executive of Green Tourism, said: “Caring for people, for example by paying the real Living Wage and generally treating staff well, along with a long-term focus on sustainability, can make a massive difference to tourism and hospitality and help it ride the current storm.”

This call to action comes not long after the STA published figures stating one in three tourism and hospitality businesses are likely to fail in 2022.

Andrea Nicholas added: “We know how challenging it has been for everyone working in the hospitality and tourism sectors, no matter what position they hold. People are facing uncertainly around such things as employment and working hours and this can impact mental health. Everyone needs supported during the recovery of the industry and beyond.

“We’re calling on the industry across Scotland to come together to try to improve the situation for everyone. This is a industry that spends its life caring for its guests so we know how to make a positive impact.”

The call is for tourism and hospitality businesses to ‘Care to Make a Difference’ by:

  • Paying staff well – consider paying the real Living Wage which currently stands at £9.90 and become accredited by Living Wage Scotland
  • Offering security, flexibility and value-added benefits to employees e.g. long-term contracts; flexible working hours; time off to spend with family and friends
  • Offering mentoring and training to upskill the existing workforce
  • Focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of all colleagues
  • Taking a long-term approach to sustainability and ‘green’ matters to protect the world for future generations.

Andrea Nicholas explained: “Our tourism and hospitality sectors – which are vital parts of the wider economy - have endured two years of unprecedented challenges. They have had to contend with staff shortages and low employee retention, disrupted supply chains, spiralling energy costs, Covid-19 and Brexit.

“These issues have all come together to create a perfect storm for the tourism and hospitality sectors in Scotland, and across the UK. We need to take real action now by putting people first.”

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, believes that better caring for employees can help change perceptions of what it like to work in tourism.

He said: “Recruitment remains a major issue for the tourism and hospitality industry for a variety of reasons, including Covid-19 and Brexit, as well as perceptions of what it is like to work in the sector.

“The bottom line and harsh reality is there’s just not a big enough pool of people to fill all the roles we have in Scotland. Tourism is a sector that provides many great opportunities and has a variety of roles that require people with specific skill sets such chefs – becoming a chef isn’t something that can be taught in six weeks. We’re an international industry and we’re competing with other sectors that are looking for staff. There are many operators out there who are good at attracting and retaining their people, but we need more to be doing similar and treating their staff well – to Care to Make a Difference.”

Anna Hirvonen, Living Wage Scotland accreditation officer, said: “We continue to see the impact of Brexit and Covid on recruitment and retention of staff. Attracting new talent remains top of the industry’s priority list and the real Living Wage can play a key role in helping businesses aid their recovery.”

This call to action is led by Andrea Nicholas, chief executive of Green Tourism, and
backed by:

  • Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance
  • Anna Hirvonen, Living Wage Scotland accreditation officer
  • Calum Ross, owner of Loch Melfort Hotel, Chair of UK Hospitality Scotland, board member of  Scottish Tourism Alliance, Argyll & the Isles Tourism Co-operative, Highlands & Islands Tourism Awards and a member of University of the Highlands & Islands Court.
  • Marina Huggett, chair of Achnagairn Estate, board of Hospitality Industry Trust, runs Tourism Excellence Consultancy, director of Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, vice chair on board of Visit Inverness Loch Ness.

ENDS 

Notes to editors

Issued on behalf of Green Tourism by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Rosemary Gallagher on 07384 507439 rosemary@beelinepr.com or Jim Byers on 07798 876707  jim@beelinepr.com or Debbie Byers on 07990 570220 debbie@beelinepr.com

Link to a selection of pics and the Care to Make a Difference paper:
Andrea Nicholas, Green Tourism; Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance; Anna Hirvonen, Living Wage Scotland; Calum Ross, Loch Melfort
https://www.dropbox.com/sh/nnh2j8fk96onq1r/AACqwSeNzueCZfol4ht5JbULa?dl=0

Green Tourism is a world leading sustainability certification programme, with 2,500 certified tourism businesses in 22 countries. Developed and operated by Green Business UK Ltd since 1997, their team of qualified and experienced sustainability assessors have undertaken over 15,000 assessments and provided support and advice to thousands of businesses, Destinations, trade associations, National Tourism Agencies and government bodies. 

Based on three pillars of caring for People, Places and our Planet the Green Tourism criteria cover 70+ indicators across 15 sustainability goals including Carbon, Waste, Water, Biodiversity, Local Produce and Products, Ethical Purchasing, Health & Wellbeing, Equality and Inclusivity, Culture and Heritage, Active Travel and Community Giving.  All the criteria are aligned to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

In the last two years Green Business has developed a digital portal, GreenCheckTM with online advice, support and a framework to help business prepare for their assessment, develop action plans and provide evidence of actions taken.  Assessments are always conducted by qualified sustainability assessor. The GreenCheck platform also helps businesses create a bespoke improvement plan, access helpful resources, and request advice and guidance from the technical support team all year round.

The GreenCheckTM portal is a flexible and adaptable platform providing options for group and destination reporting of measures undertaken and has already been adapted to provide sustainable management systems and assessment framework for the Health and Transport industries.

In 2021, Green Tourism launched the Green Meetings Standard following strong demand for a meetings sector specific accreditation. 
Further information is available on the following webpages:

The Green Tourism Standard:
https://www.green-tourism.com

The Green Meetings Standard:
https://www.green-tourism.com/green-meetings

23 February 2022

Big turnover growth is on the menu for Hickory

With a raft of new senior appointments, a surge in new business and plans to expand the portfolio of venues it manages, one of Scotland’s largest independent catering, events and venue operators, Hickory, is set to almost double its turnover to £4.5m this year.

Edinburgh-headquartered Hickory has expanded its team to manage the return of events and the significant increase in demand in the wake of pandemic restrictions being eased and new contracts.

The expansion of the team, who will help to provide leading-edge food and drink experiences, includes the appointment of Brian Canale as culinary director, Gillian Fraser as head of event planning and design, Eric Drought as head of operations, Andy McKenzie as logistics planning manager, Fiona Pengelly as MICE sales manager, and Alison Sproull as executive assistant.

Hickory delivers events at an extensive and eclectic portfolio of venues across Scotland, including the Assembly Rooms, Dovecot Studios, Newhall Estate, Neidpath Castle and Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh.  It exclusively operates the new Cairns Farm Estate in the Pentland Hills and Eskmills Venue on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

The award-winning business has also expanded its festival-style offering supporting large-scale events, including the provision of innovative seasonal catering and styling for the Borders Book Festival, and bars for the Scottish Open Golf Tournament at The Renaissance Club and Fringe by the Sea in North Berwick.

Part of Hickory’s growth will come from the expansion of its prestigious venues’ portfolio and developing its established outdoor festival and bar business.

 

Stephanie Stubbs, Hickory managing director, said: “We have dedicated recent months to recovering, rebuilding, and assembling a highly skilled and experienced leadership team across every function and department of the business.  We are now in a period of significant growth as corporate events return – for example our enquires have almost trebled since January.

“Our focus is on delivering quality, creative and innovative events for our clients and we have established a passionate, experienced and dedicated team to achieve that.”

With an emphasis on sustainability, Hickory’s mission is to deliver Scotland's best events and hospitality experiences.  This is achieved by providing the best quality ingredients that are sourced locally by their professional culinary team and delivering the best quality seasonal food.

https://hickoryfood.co.uk

E n d s

Issued on behalf of Hickory by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com or 07990 570 220.

Note to Editors

Those featured in the photograph left to right are:  Eric Drought (Head of Operations), Mary Paget (Finance Manager), Alison Sproull (Executive Assistant), Fiona Pengelly (MICE Sales Manager), Brian Canale (Culinary Director), Libby Harrison (Director of Client Services), Stephanie Stubbs (Managing Director), Brian Galbraith (Executive Director), Gillian Fraser (Head of Event Planning & Design), Fraser Brand (Senior Team Planner), Osman Ersoy (Senior Hospitality Manager), Andy McKenzie (Logistics Planning Manager) and Julia MacGregor (Marketing Manager).

Pictured in Shandwick Place Gardens, near the company's headquarters. 
Photography from: Colin Hattersley

16 February 2022

Dentons relocates Edinburgh office to flagship new Haymarket Edinburgh development

World's largest law firm chooses prime location with sustainability at its core

Dentons, the world’s largest law firm, is moving its Edinburgh office to a new flagship development at Haymarket Edinburgh in the heart of the city’s west end - an easily accessible premium location for the firm's people and clients.
 
Dentons has signed a 15-year lease to occupy the first floor at 1 Haymarket Square following the expiry of its current lease at Quartermile in October 2022.  The Haymarket Edinburgh development is being delivered by M&G Real Estate and Edinburgh property developer Qmile Group.  Its sustainability credentials include expected BREEAM Excellent and EPC A ratings. The firm will have access to more than 100 cycle spaces, a roof terrace and excellent transport links, including Haymarket railway station, trams, buses and cycle paths in a thriving business community.
 
Claire Armstrong, Dentons' Scotland Managing Partner, said: “This is a flagship development in an easily accessible part of Edinburgh with sustainability at its core. We look forward to moving our people into such a dynamic new working environment, and welcoming our clients to our new offices, in a year where the firm also celebrates its 150th anniversary in Scotland.”
 
Ends
 
Issued on behalf of Dentons by Beeline PR.  For further information please contact Debbie Byers on debbie@beelinepr.com or 07990 570 220
 
About Dentons 
Dentons is the world's largest law firm, connecting talent to the world's challenges and opportunities in more than 75 countries. Dentons' legal and business solutions benefit from deep roots in our communities and award-winning advancements in client service, including Nextlaw, Dentons’ innovation and strategic advisory services. Dentons' polycentric and purpose-driven approach, commitment to inclusion and diversity, and world-class talent challenge the status quo to advance client and community interests in the New Dynamic. www.dentons.com
 

16 February 2022

SOUTH OF SCOTLAND’S TOURISM INDUSTRY TO COME TOGETHER AT INAUGURAL CONFERENCE

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance’s first conference will look at how the sector can work together to recover from the pandemic and elevate the region into a leading destination

The South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is bringing together the local tourism industry for its inaugural annual conference on Tuesday the 15th of March at Easterbrook Hall at The Crichton in Dumfries.

The conference will feature a series of workshops, networking events, panel discussions and talks exploring themes such as destination development, sustainability and place branding, as the SSDA seeks to support the region’s recovery and future growth.

Key speakers and guests will include Simon Calder, a leading travel journalist and broadcaster; SSDA Chairman David Ibbotson; SSDA CEO Ross McAuley; Jane Morrison Ross, CEO of South of Scotland Enterprise; and Rob Dickson, Director of Industry and Destination Development at VisitScotland.

The SSDA, the strategic destination management and marketing organisation for the South of Scotland, recently unveiled research including insights around the region’s potential to be the new Cornwall – but without the crowds.

The research, based on a recent survey of more than 3,400 people across the UK, outside the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, says the South of Scotland has many of the attractions that draw crowds to such tourist hotspots as the Cornwall and the Cotswolds. However, many holidaymakers are simply unaware of just what the South of Scotland has to offer.

SSDA CEO Ross McAuley said: "After two years of disruption, this is a great chance for the tourism and hospitality sector across the South of Scotland to come together, share idea and build relationships as we look to draw new visitors and investment to our area.

"At the conference we will share our research and marketing plans and hear from experts from across the tourism sector. After such a tough period, it’s exciting to have this opportunity to get back together and build tourism in the region in a way that is sustainable, of benefit to local communities and provides a real, and long-term, boost to the region’s economy."

The SSDA, which brings together Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders, aims to transform the south of Scotland into a year-round world class destination, growing tourism spend in the region and creating job opportunities.

To find out more about the conference, visit https://www.ssdalliance.com/event/ssda-conference-2022/

Ends

Issued on behalf of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance by Beeline PR. For further information, contact Jim Byers, jim@beelinepr.com / 07798 876 707 

Notes to Editors  
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs. 

SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership. 

https://www.ssdalliance.com
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/ 
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance 

14 February 2022

IF VALENTINE’S DAY GIVES YOU THE FEAR, CHECK OUT GAIL PORTER’S GUIDE TO THE SPOOKY SIDE OF EDINBURGH

For those who find Valentine’s Day a frightening experience, television personality Gail Porter has teamed up with Forever Edinburgh to tell the story of her hometown’s darker side

With Valentine’s Day a scary prospect for many, television personalityGail Porter is encouraging more people to explore the lesser-known darker and spooky side of her hometown Edinburgh.

The presenter of the forthcoming new Spooked: Scotland series was born and raised in Edinburgh and has teamed up with Forever Edinburgh, the city’s destination marketing brand, to tell the story of the city’s spooky and darkly decadent side.  The collaboration forms part of Forever Edinburgh’s The Story Never Ends campaign that is sharing Edinburgh’s unrivalled stories from its rich and historical past, to its next chapter with continually new and diverse cultural experiences across the Scottish capital.

With its hidden underground streets, stories of ghosts and bodysnatchers, and eerie graveyards, Edinburgh is believed to be as one of the most haunted places in Europe. Add in bars frequented by ghosts, restaurants with magical candle-lit atmospheres and hotels with dark and decadent decor, and Edinburgh has a spellbinding new story to tell.

Paranormal fan Porter, who previously starred in the Dead Famous: Ghostly Encounters series, has put together a shortlist of her favourite darker delights in Edinburgh.

1  Visit: New Calton Burial Ground
It doesn’t get much more atmospheric than this secret treasure. This walled cemetery has stunning views out to Arthur’s Seat and the Scottish Parliament. Take a wander round and explore the last resting places of many interesting characters such as Andrew Fyfe who was the leading body dissector at Edinburgh University in the late 18th century. Apparently during this period, bodies for anatomical study were in short supply and it’s said that researchers often relied on corpses sold by ‘bodysnatchers’ – the grisly entrepreneurs of the era who dug up and sold bodies.

Find out more at: https://edinburgh.org/blog/spooky-attractions-in-edinburgh/

2 Explore: Spooky streets beneath the city
I love getting off the beaten track and there’s no better way to do that in Edinburgh than heading underground. Not many visitors know this but lying deep below the shadowy closes and tourist shots of the city’s famous Royal Mile lies a network of narrow alleyways, spooky vaults and abandoned houses. Adventurous spirits like me will love descending into this dimly-lit netherworld with a tour guide and hearing chilling tales of Edinburgh’s ghostly past, which includes many dark and sinister stories of bodysnatchers, hangings and dark deeds.

Find out more here: https://edinburgh.org/blog/the-secrets-underneath-edinburgh%E2%80%99s-streets/

3 Enchanting eating: The Witchery
If you’re looking for a dark and decadent dining experience with a spooky twist, The Witchery is a real treat. A short stroll from Edinburgh Castle, this opulent oak-panelled candle-lit restaurant is spectacularly atmospheric. While its renowned for its legendary food, you may not know that it takes its name from the hundreds of women and men burned at the stake as witches on nearby Castlehill during the 16th and 17th centuries.

https://www.thewitchery.com/

4 Darkly decadent accommodation: The House of Gods hotel
I love staying at the House of Gods, it’s really dark and debauche. Located in Edinburgh’s Cowgate, the city’s’ second oldest street, the hotel offers an unapologetically extravagant interior with boutique rooms and exquisite food. For something a bit spookier, the brave enough can stay the night in Edinburgh’s most haunted hotel - Borthwick Castle. Built in 1430, this castle has been turned into a lavish getaway with incredible interiors. The Castle is rumoured to be haunted by the ghost of Mary Queen of Scots who wonders the halls at night. If that wasn’t enough, spend the night in the Red Room – inhabited by the spirits of a murdered mother and her child!

https://www.houseofgodshotel.com/
https://www.borthwickcastle.com/about.html
Read more at: https://edinburgh.org/blog/top-haunted-hotels-in-edinburgh/

5 Discover: Arthur Seat coffins
This is a spooky story. A set of miniature coffins were discovered over 200 years ago in a secluded spot on Arthur’s Seat in the heart of Edinburgh. No one is quite sure of the story behind them but they are believed to be linked to ancient witchery and demonology. If you fancy finding out more, take a hike up Arthur’s seat and seek out the spot on the north-east side of the hill where the coffins were first found. At the top you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the city and beyond. Or you could visit the 8 remaining coffins which are exhibited in the National Museum of Scotland to uncover the dark conspiracy theories that aim to explain how and why the coffins appeared. 

https://www.nms.ac.uk/explore-our-collections/stories/scottish-history-and-archaeology/mystery-of-the-miniature-coffins/

6 Drinks - scary spirits
You might need a stiff drink during your exploration of Edinburgh’s spooky and darker side. The good news is that Edinburgh has plenty of pubs or bars – some of which are reputedly the home of spirits of the other kind as well! I’d recommend The Banshee Labyrinth which was once part of Edinburgh’s infamous underground vaults and is apparently Scotland’s most haunted pub. Or you could you try The Last Drop in the Grassmarket, which is named after the hangings which used to take place in the area. Just watch out for the ghost of a young girl who has been seen causing mischief in the bar and cellar….

Find out more here https://edinburgh.org/blog/5-of-the-spookiest-bars-in-edinburgh/

For more about Edinburgh’s haunted past and attractions, visit https://edinburgh.org/storyneverends/dark-edinburgh/

9 February 2022

South of Scotland is perfectly positioned as a new holiday destination

Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway could be new Cornwall – without the crowds

New research spells out the region’s undiscovered attractions and key to unlocking its untapped potential sustainably

Holidaymakers, from staycationers to international tourists, are missing out on a wealth of hidden gems across the South of Scotland, including its stunning beaches and coastline, high-quality local food and drink, adventurous activities and nature and wildlife, new research has revealed.

A recent survey of more than 3,400 people across the UK, outside the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway, says the South of Scotland has many of the attractions that draw crowds to such tourist hotspots as the Cornwall and the Cotswolds. However, many holidaymakers are simply unaware of just what the South of Scotland has to offer.

The research was commissioned by the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) from consultancy Yonder. The SSDA, a destination management and marketing organisation, has a range of initiatives to attract more holidaymakers from Scotland, other parts of the UK and overseas to the region. Its focus is on sustainable and manageable growth that supports the local economy and communities across the region, for example by creating employment opportunities for such positions as chefs and front-of house professionals in hospitality venues. 

Based on the study the SSDA has identified a group called ‘metropolitan adventurers’, a target market worth £2.1 billion, that it believes can enjoy the holidays of their dreams in the largely untapped region that runs across the southern base of Scotland from coast to coast. Metropolitan adventurers are described in the research as an affluent group who prefer short, quick breaks to switch off from day-to-day life. They like outdoor activities, walking, culture and heritage, generally spending time in nature – all within their reach in the South of Scotland.

Ross McAuley, chief executive of the SSDA, says: “People who know the south of Scotland are well aware of its wealth of attractions, but our new research has shown that many holidaymakers, from day-trippers to tourists from across the globe, are missing out on its hidden gems.

“The area has some of the most stunning beaches and coastline in the world, fantastic food and drink, including seafood and locally produced whisky and gin, top-class mountain bike and running trails and cultural centres – to name just a few attractions. We believe the south of Scotland has everything, and more, that draws crowds to the likes of Cornwall, the Cotswolds, the Lake District and parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands, but with the added advantage of the peace and quiet to take it all in.

“The research shows that metropolitan adventurers would love what the south of Scotland has to offer, including being able to switch off from the day-to-day, with a focus on sustainability.

“We’ll be looking at how we can attract more of these holidaymakers to our region which we see as potentially the next Cornwall when it comes to desirable destinations. And while we work to draw visitors to our area, we also want to ensure we manage the growth of tourism to ensure it’s sustainable, of benefit to local communities and provides a real, and long-term, boost to the region’s economy.”

To provide a snapshot of what visitors to the South of Scotland can enjoy: thrill seekers can explore its 7 Stanes mountain bike trails; history lovers can absorb themselves in Drumlanrig Castle; Moat Brae in Dumfries, which was home for a time to Peter Pan writer JM Barrie, will appeal to those of all ages who love literature and whisky aficionadas shouldn’t miss the likes of Annandale, Bladnoch or Borders distilleries. Visitors can also take in the Borders Abbeys, Abbotsford, the Great Tapestry of Scotland and Loch Trool to name just a few attractions.

Other key research findings and conclusions include:

  • For the majority of respondents, holidays were an opportunity to get away from day-to-day life (76%) and crowds (73%) – two things the south of Scotland most definitely offers.
  • Three quarters of respondents said they were likely to book a non-city UK holiday in the next two to five years. This means that popular rural destinations will get even busier, and the search will be on to find a peaceful area to holiday – such as the South of Scotland.
  • The activities most associated with a holiday to the South of Scotland included exploring nature and wildlife (54%), walking (54%), visiting historical sites (48%) and enjoying food and drink (34%).

Ross McAuley added: “A concerted effort is needed to debunk the myths that leave some people with the misconception that to enjoy Scotland you need to head straight to Edinburgh or the Highlands. In the south, visitors can enjoy Scotland in microcosm, while avoiding the growing problem of over-tourism that faces some of the UK’s best known beauty spots, such as Cornwall.

“We’ll continue our drive to tell holidaymakers about what is on offer across the Scottish Borders and Dumfries & Galloway and promote the message that ‘Scotland Starts Here’.”

End

Issued on behalf of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance by Beeline PR. For further information, contact Rosemary Gallagher, rosemary@beelinepr.com / 07384 507439 or Jim Byers, jim@beelinepr.com / 07798 876 707 

Images embedded into release: Ross McAuley, chief executive of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance and Loch Trool in Dumfries and Galloway.

Link to a selection of images of sites in the South of Scotland

Notes to Editors  
Established in May 2020, the South of Scotland Destination Alliance (SSDA) is the industry-led Destination Management and Marketing Organisation for the South of Scotland, encompassing Dumfries and Galloway and the Scottish Borders.  With a focus on place-making, people, digital capability and sustainability, the ambition of SSDA is to make the South of Scotland a top tourism destination, offer a world-class visitor experience, increase tourism spend in the region to £1bn by 2030 and create 6,500 new jobs. 

SSDA is supported by South of Scotland Enterprise (SOSE), VisitScotland, Dumfries and Galloway Council, Scottish Borders Council and also received initial funding from the former South of Scotland Enterprise Partnership. 

https://www.ssdalliance.com
www.facebook.com/SSDAlliance/ 
www.twitter.com/sscotdalliance 

6 February 2022

NHS NURSES FINALLY CELEBRATE THEIR BIG DAY ALMOST TWO YEARS AFTER WINNING THE WEDDING OF A LIFETIME

NHS nurses Sarah Hunter and Greg Turner have finally tied the knot at Eskmills Venue after winning a dream wedding in 2020

Almost two years after winning an all-inclusive wedding in a competition, two NHS nurses have finally celebrated their marriage at Eskmills Venue on the outskirts of Edinburgh.

Having won their dream wedding back in May 2020, Sarah Hunter and Greg Turner were due to get married on 12th February 2021, but their plans were put on hold by the global pandemic. On Friday, the couple, who both work at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh, were at long last able to tie the knot at the award-winning Eskmills Venue in Musselburgh, together with 121 guests.

The wedding competition, which was launched as a thank you to NHS workers, included a prize wedding package worth around £12,000 and exclusive use of Eskmills Venue, a converted riverside mill building in Musselburgh.

The package included drinks, canapes, a 3-course wedding meal, a live band The Klones, and a huge range of other elements provided by local suppliers: flowers by Liberty Blooms, kilt hire from 8 Yards, classic wedding car from Edinburgh Classic Wedding Cars, a wedding dress from Christina Rae,  photography by Tony Marsh Photography, videography by Craig Heaslip Film & Photography, pipers from GD bagpiping, stationery by 2Flux Stationary Studio, gin from Holyrood Distillery and a wedding cake from Truly Scrumptious. Celebrant Jane Patmore of Your Service in Scotland conducted the service, helping to deliver an unforgettable and unique tailor-made ceremony.

Sarah, a nurse who cares for premature babies in the neonatal unit, and Greg, who cares for very poorly patients in the acute medical unit have been together for nine years. Having got engaged in Venice in 2019, the couple have been working on the frontline throughout the pandemic.

Sarah, who is expecting a baby in May, said: “It’s been a very long wait it has absolutely been worth it! We couldn’t have dreamt of a better way to celebrate than in such a beautiful location with our family and friends, plus the amazing food and drinks and all the wonderful things provided by so many kind local businesses. The planning of the wedding was made easy by Eskmills’ expertise, and we worked together to create the wedding that we envisioned when we got engaged all the way back in 2019. We couldn’t be happier.”

Libby Harrison, Director of Client Services at Eskmills, added: “We were so pleased to finally host Sarah and Greg’s wedding. It’s been a long time coming but it was wonderful to see them enjoy their big day together with their friends and family in one of our most popular wedding venues. The competition was originally launched to say thank you to amazing NHS frontline staff who are doing such incredible and selfless work during the Covid 19 pandemic and Sarah and Greg are a great example of that. We wish them all the very best in their married life together!”

ENDS

Issued on behalf of Hickory and Eskmills Venue by Beeline PR. For further information, please contact Jim Byers – Jim@beelinepr.com / 07798 876 707

Notes for Editors
Eskmills Venue is an all-inclusive wedding and events venue located within Eskmills Park by the banks of the River Esk in Musselburgh. Once a mill, the building was extensively renovated and features a wonderful landscaped garden, beautifully restored cobbled courtyard, and unique glass atrium entrance. Eskmills Venue is part of Hickory www.eskmillsvenue.com

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