Eilean Donan Castle has won national recognition at the annual Scottish Thistle Awards held on Thursday the 15th of March 2018.
Regarded as the “Oscars” of the industry, Scottish tourism’s premier awards ceremony sponsored by Fishers, took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. 16 individuals, businesses and events were honoured for their innovation, excellence and success in the hospitality and tourism sector. In celebration of the Scottish Thistle Awards’ 25th anniversary, ten past Silver Thistle winners were also in attendance.
Still Game and River City star Sanjeev Kohli co-hosted the evening with STV presenter and former Miss Scotland, Jennifer Reoch. Entertainment was provided by ventriloquist and comedian Paul Zerdin, and Hannah Rarity, BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year 2018.
Organised by VisitScotland in association with the Aberdeen City and Shire Tourism Awards, Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards, HIT Scotland, Scotland Food and Drink, Scottish Licensed Trade Association, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Sportscotland and Wild Scotland. With a record-breaking 750 entrants this year, these prestigious awards are without doubt the ones our industry leaders want to have in their trophy cabinet!
Eilean Donan won the national award in the “Best Heritage Tourism Experience” category, sponsored by Historic Environment Scotland.
The award caps an incredible few months for the Eilean Donan team which also saw them win their second Highlands & Islands Tourism Award, and attain its 5th Star in the VisitScotland Quality Assurance scheme.
General Manager David Win writes-
“The entire team at Eilean Donan are truly delighted to win a prestigious Scottish Thistle. This award represents the culmination of many years of sustained commitment and investment to providing the very best visitor experience and services. We’d also like to congratulate ALL other finalists and winners in this year’s Thistle Awards. From a personal perspective, I simply couldn’t be prouder or more happy for the entire Eilean Donan team. I always believed we had the potential to be considered amongst the very best in the business. This award from our peers confirms our rightful place amongst the other stars of Scottish Tourism.”
Friday 3rd November saw many of the Eilean Donan team gather with the tourism industry’s finest at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness for the prestigious HITA 2017 Awards. This annual event celebrates the very best of tourism operators within the Highlands & Islands and has become a real fixture in the tourism calendar. With a record-breaking 232 entrants this year, the awards have firmly established themselves as the benchmark for the industry.
We were finalists in the brand new category of “Best Heritage Tourism Experience,” introduced to mark the Year of Heritage, History & Archaeology, and despite the fact that we were previous winners of the Best Visitor Attraction award back in 2014, we really had no idea what to expect.
Well incredibly, we won our 2nd Piper Trophy, and will now go forward to the Grand Final of the Scottish Thistle Awards on the 15th of March 2018 along with four other Regional Winners of the category.
To say we are hugely proud and delighted is a massive understatement! It has been an incredible year for everyone involved with the castle and has seen record-breaking visitor numbers for the 6th consecutive year.
Without doubt, it is the sheer commitment, professionalism and effort from the entire team that has led to this success, and without whom we would simply not excel in what we do. On behalf of the Conchra Charitable Trust who operate Eilean Donan, I’d just like to thank each and every one of them!
So after a great deal of effort we have finally managed to install our brand new live streaming webcam, located over at our Eilean Donan Apartments development. Offering a completely different perspective, the camera is now up and running and beaming video to all corners of the world. Over the last 5 years, our first webcam, located at the Visitor Centre of the castle has proved hugely popular, with quite literally millions of people utilising it. On site, we share a direct web-link for this camera to our visitors, and many of them will phone friends and family just so they can log on and enjoy a wee wave or greeting from their loved ones on the other side of the camera.
Our 2nd camera, offers an entirely different view, and has been mounted on the lee side of one of the Eilean Donan Apartments chimneys which helps to provide a little shelter from the worst of the highland wind and weather. The other benefit of this location is that it offers reasonably high elevation to view the castle across Loch Long, with Dornie Bridge in the foreground.
As is the way in the highlands, the light around the castle is always changing, and is hugely influenced by the season, the weather, the time of day or the turning of the tides, so you’re guaranteed a different view every time you log on for a look. Indeed if our first camera is anything to go by, many of you are likely to have a wee daily peek, just to see what’s going on!
Anyway, we hope you enjoy the new facility, and for those of you might be viewing from abroad, try to remember the time difference. You wouldn’t believe the number of people who contact us saying the camera’s not working without realising that night-time here can be pitch black!!!
If you’re looking at this post, you might very well be considering choosing Eilean Donan as a venue for your wedding. You’ll have so many important decisions to take in the months ahead, and like most couples, probably only perfection will suffice for your every plan and detail. The problem is that it can sometimes be difficult to get a true feel for a setting or location prior to the big day itself. How do you create your vision? Well hopefully this post just might help.
We welcome Brides & Grooms to Eilean Donan from all round the world for their special day, with ceremonies normally taking place in our beautiful Banqueting Hall inside the castle itself. Every so often, when the happy couple desires, (and the weather Gods permit) we also hold ceremonies in the inner courtyard of the castle, overlooking the very lochs and mountains that draw our visitors here.
Emily & Michael, from Canada, were married here recently and have allowed the world to share in their incredible marriage thanks to this stunning video from Thistle Productions
Hopefully, this might give you a few ideas of your own……