Year of Coasts and Waters gets set to make a splash

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An expanded Clydebuilt Festival, a spectacular new event at Scotland’s Boat Show and a celebration of Scotland’s waters and the journeys over them from the National Theatre of Scotland are just a taste of the events lined up to put Scotland’s coasts and waters in the spotlight in 2020.

Launched at VisitScotland Expo – Scotland’s premier travel trade show – the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will inspire visitors, residents and the tourism and events sector to get aboard.

From water-inspired myths and legends to historic harbours, sweeping coastlines, to the very best in seafood, whisky, wildlife and wellness, Scotland’s enviable reputation for unspoiled beaches, rich natural and cultural heritage and thrill-seeking adventure activities will be showcased through a programme of events and activities.

Six initial events – designed to ‘wet’ the appetite for what’s in store – have been announced with more to be revealed later . The six events include:

  • Ferry Tales from the National Theatre of Scotland – an imaginative and impactful performance and community project, with the support of Caledonian MacBrayne and its ferries, celebrating the waters surrounding Scotland’s waters and the journeys over them made by thousands of residents and visitors.
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival presents Scotland’s Shores, an exciting programme celebrating through events, film screenings and a special outdoor coastal experience.
  • Clydebuilt Festival – 2020 will be the event’s fourth year, the event will significantly expand its existing offering across the festival bringing art, music, crafts, boats, dancing, sea shanties and more to the Riverside Plaza. Castle to Crane – a major component of the festival will also be back bigger than ever in 2020 with opportunities for more participants to get involved.
  • The Fife Regatta 2020 – last seen in their home waters off Fairlie in 2013, the regatta will start and finish in Largs, taking in various locations around the Clyde including Holy Loch Marina, Dunoon, Rothesay, Isle of Bute and Tighnabruaich, Argyll.
  • River of Light – Scotland’s Boat Show and Kip Marina will make a splash in 2020 with a brand-new event that will see Scotland’s biggest boat show’s programme extended into the evening on the October 10.
  • RSPB Scotland’s DolphinFest 2020 – DolphinFest 2020 will help Aberdeen become recognised as a must-visit destination for dolphin watching and will provide pop-up activities across the city that will celebrate Aberdeen’s dolphins; from interactive games, to conservation talks and citizen science projects.

The funding announcement comes during a significant year for the national tourist board as 2019 marks the organisation’s 50th anniversary and the 40th staging of VisitScotland Expo.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: ‘Following on from the success of our previous themed years, I am pleased to see Scotland’s natural assets take centre stage as we celebrate Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters in 2020.

‘Delivered by our skilled and passionate industry these six initial events, taking place right across Scotland, will help to promote the upcoming year-long celebration and encourage participation not only from Scotland’s communities but also our visitors from near and far.’

Malcolm Roughead, chief executive of VisitScotland, said: ‘From fishing and textiles, to whisky and wave power, Scotland’s waters have shaped our history and influenced our culture, our stories and our way of life.

‘Our coasts and waters are host to an amazing array of riches and are greatly valued and cherished by visitors and locals, so it’s fitting that we have a full-year placing them in the spotlight. Scotland’s distinctive scenery, landscape and our unique history and culture continue to remain the key motivations that drive visits to the country, so the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 presents a fantastic opportunity to play to our strengths.’

The year will also provide the opportunity to promote and celebrate a variety of unique experiences, including The Hebridean Whale Trail, the first of its kind in the UK, set to launch later this year.

Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 will begin on January 1, 2020, and run until December 31.  For more information, visit visitscotland.com/ycw2020. Join the conversation #YCW2020