West Coast winners highlight benefits of awards

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Nominations for the Scottish Rural Awards, the prestigious awards that celebrate the best of rural Scotland, are due to close on Monday, November 11.

The winners of the Scottish Rural Awards 2019 tell us what winning the awards meant to them. From the isles to Argyll, the Scottish Rural Awards have had a positive impact on the morale and success of a variety of rural businesses on the West Coast.

Isle of Lewis business Heb Shuttle won the Business Start-Up Award in 2019 and has been nominated for the Best Rural Tourism Initiative Award for 2020.

Jan Schouten, founder of parent company Heb Holidays Ltd said: ‘We are absolutely delighted, we enjoyed it last year so much. We took so much inspiration away from it and the feeling that we are not alone in this. Working hard in a rural area is difficult but the Scottish Rural Awards gave us a really good feeling. It’s not often you have all these rural people together in one place.’

Arisaig House was Runner Up in the Rural Hospitality category in 2019. Sarah Winnington-Ingram, the owner of Arisaig House Hotel, said: ‘It was a great boost for all of my staff. It was lovely to be recognised for what we work hard to achieve. The awards were fabulous too, we had a really good evening.’

Glencoe Activities were the Runner Up in the Diversification category last year and they are entering Innovation category for the Scottish Rural Awards 2020.

Director Laurence Young said: ‘Winning is always lovely and it’s very helpful in our marketing activities and social media. The Scottish Rural Awards endorses the quality of the business and we’ve taken full advantage of these awards in our business. It was very valuable and we’re applying again this year.’

Donald MacSween who runs Air An Lot, a croft at Ness on the isle of Lewis, was the Runner Up in the Agriculture category. He uses methods used for hundreds of years and sells his products via the internet and social media.

‘I was chuffed,’ said Donald MacSween. ‘A lot of people in agriculture, including me, work on their own quite a lot and it’s difficult to gauge success sometimes. The Scottish Rural Awards made me think, I must be doing something right! It’s good to be part of the bigger picture and to have fresh eyes on your business.’

Donald says the nomination process was simple: ‘My brother nominated me and then I filled in the form. The form only takes a few minutes if you already know how to sell your business.’

The Scottish Rural Awards 2020 will be held at the Glasgow Hilton on April 2. Rural businesses are encouraged to enter themselves, or you can nominate a friend or family member.

The final nominations deadline for the Scottish Rural Awards is November 11. To enter go to www.scottishruralawards.org


cap:Heb Shuttle won the business start-up award for their bike transfer service for those holidaying by bike in the Hebrides.