A brand new degree of success for the North Coast 500

The North Coast 500 is one of Scotland’s top tourist attractions – and now the University of the Highlands and Islands has created a new PhD course based around it.

The University is inviting applications for a new North Coast 500 studentship. The PhD opportunity has been developed by the university’s Centre for History in partnership with the North Coast 500 initiative.

Working out of the North Coast 500 office, the successful candidate will document stories and information about heritage sites, objects and landscapes around the North Highlands to develop a new digital app for tourists.

The three year, fully-funded studentship starts in October. North Coast 500 managing director Tom Campbell will co-supervise the PhD student along with Dr Iain Robertson from the University of the Highlands and Islands’ Centre for History.

Dr Robertson said: ‘Since its launch in 2015, the North Coast 500 has gained a global reputation and transformed tourism across large parts of the Highlands. Many visitors have expressed a desire to learn more about Highland history.

‘Our studentship will draw together expertise from local organisations, the Centre for History and the North Coast 500 team to help update the ways the public can experience Highland heritage by bringing it into the digital age.’

Castle Sinclair in Girnigoe can be seen on the North Coast 500 trail (Photo: Merlin Kafk)

North Coast 500 managing director Tom Campbell added: ‘The North Coast 500 is so much more than a touring route. It’s about our communities, culture, heritage, landscapes and seascapes and it’s about the visitors as well.

‘So many of them have said that visiting the North Coast 500 has been life-changing. This studentship will add another layer of depth to the route, to the visitor experience and to our own sense of place.’

The North Coast 500 research project is one of four fully-funded PhD studentships currently on offer at the University of the Highlands and Islands.

The others will explore social barriers to the development of aquaculture in Scotland; building and promoting social cohesion and entrepreneurial capacity through community creative and cultural projects and the use of DNA technologies for assessing the ecological impacts of salmon farming.

Another stunning sigh on the North Coast 500, with Kenmore and Loch Torridon in Wester Ross (Photo: Iain Sarjeant)

The studentships are being funded by the European Social Fund and the Scottish Funding Council as part of Developing Scotland’s Workforce in the Scotland 2014-2020 European Structural and Investment Fund Programme.

Further information about the North Coast 500 studentship and other postgraduate opportunities at the University of the Highlands and Islands can be found at HERE.

Bringing together a route of just over 500 miles (516, to be exact) of stunning coastal scenery, the North Coast 500 naturally follows the main roads along the coastal edges of the North Highlands, taking in the regions of Wester Ross, Sutherland, Caithness, Easter Ross, the Black Isle and Inverness-shire.

The official North Coast 500 route begins and ends in Inverness at Inverness Castle which, perched on top of a hill, is the perfect starting point to the route and offers unparalleled views over the capital city of the Highlands.