Bringing people into Scotland to entertain and house them is a crucial part of rural Scotland.
Rural Hospitality and Rural Tourism were acknowledged at this year’s Scottish Rural Awards, held at Dynamic Earth in Edinburgh.
This was the culmination of a fourth year of partnership between Scottish Field and the Scottish Countryside Alliance to host the awards, in association with the Royal Highland and Agricultural Society of Scotland (RHASS). The awards are backed by category sponsors including Barclays, Chiene + Tait and HW Energy.
Broadcaster and musician Dougie Vipond took to the stage as compere for the evening, hosting over 400 guests and presenting three awards in each of the 13 open categories – a highly commended, runner-up and overall winner.
The judging panel praised businesses that showed they could attract people to remote places, businesses that were helping their local area, and businesses that were ethical and sustainable.
In the Rural Hospitality category, Colstoun House and Cookery School, based near Haddington, were overall winners.
Colstoun House is proving that stately homes are about more than the grand architecture, they are an integral part of the community.
By making home-made preserves and hosting cookery classes, the East Lothian estate is celebrating food that can be made locally. Diversification of the business has allowed employment from the local area and seen a new clientele introduced to rural Scotland.
Ninth Wave Restaurant in Fionnphort, Argyll, took home runner-up spot.
Duns Castle Estate in the Scottish Borders was highly commended, as 2017 was a big year for them, as they fought off competition from hundreds of castles across Europe to win a massive contract with HomeAway – the world’s leading holiday-rentals company, which offers exclusive tailor-made bookings to clients.
DD8 Music took home first prize in the Rural Tourism category. DD8 Music is a charity based in the Angus town of Kirriemuir. Originally formed in 2005, the charity runs a community recording studio in the town, from where they offer a variety of youth music and media sessions every week of the year.
Volunteers from DD8 Music have also been running Bonfest since 2006, a tribute festival to AC/DC singer Bon Scott, who was originally from Kirriemuir.
The team behind Crail Food Festival were celebrating as the festival, now in its eight year, landed runner-up spot at last night’s awards.
The festival was established to provide an attraction which would extend the tourist season for the village of Crail in Fife. It has grown year on year to now provide a large indoor market with a huge number of local businesses attending.
Only 40% of guests to the event are from Fife, the other 60% are from surrounding areas with many from abroad.
Elgin business the Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival received a highly commended award.