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Visit Scotland | Alba
Article published 08/01/2020

Outdoor, adventure and wildlife experiences are a key part of what makes a visit to Scotland so unique and memorable. The Best Outdoor/ Adventure Experience category in the Scottish Thistle Awards celebrates businesses that give unforgettable, quality and authentic experiences to their visitors.

This week, we’re celebrating the regional winners in the Best Outdoor Adventure Experience category - Galloway Cycling Holidays, Wild Tree Adventures and Land Rover Experience Scotland.

Galloway Cycling Holidays is based in Castle Douglas and offers self-guided or guided tours across Dumfries & Galloway with routes designed for all abilities, from beginners to experienced road cyclists. Husband and wife, Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke, took over the cycling tour company in 2017 after returning from a 32,499 mile round-the-world cycle. It was on their last leg home through Scotland that they fell in love with the region. They are responsible for all aspects of the business, from designing the logo and social media to guiding, taking bookings and bike servicing.

Warren Sanders and Esther Tacke on stage receiving their award.

Galloway Cycling Holidays winning the Best Outdoor Adventure Experience award at the Scottish Thistle Awards West Regional Final.

On receiving their award, they thanked everyone who makes their biking holidays special.

Thanks to every cafe, shop, B&B or hotel owner. To the random people that chat with our guests. To the farmer running a dog to gather sheep that becomes a special memory. To every owner of a Belted Galloway cow, you are all part of our team and we thank you.

There is of course the landscape and people of Dumfries & Galloway. We believe that our patch is the best place to ride a bike in Scotland, our home.

Esther Tacke, Owner, Galloway Cycling Holidays

Wild Tree Adventures launched in the Scottish Borders in spring 2018 offering tremendous Tree Climbing Experiences for everyone aged six and over. These experiences give customers a chance to explore Scotland in a new and unique way by combining tree climbing with nature and the great outdoors. Tree climbing helps to build confidence though a real sense of allowing you to reach heights you’d never dreamed of and in the process gain an understanding of trees and their environment.

Two men having fun hanging from ropes from a large tree. One-man upside down the other climbing up. Both wearing yellow helmets.


We are honoured and delighted to be recognised in these awards! Over the last two years we’ve helped hundreds of people to adventure high into the canopy of truly amazing trees. All have discovered something of the magic of up there and we look forward to an exciting 2020!

Tim Chamberlain, Director of Wild Tree Adventures

Land Rover Experience Scotland is a real success story in Scottish tourism - a small company founded 16 years ago in Dunkeld which has grown year on year to now employ 30 people, and which brings almost 10,000 guests a year to Highland Perthshire. Many of these guests come from outside Scotland, building a holiday round their Land Rover Experience. With access to 150 miles of Atholl and other private estates tracks, they can give guests unique access to some of the most beautiful scenery in Scotland.

An official franchise of Land Rover, it is the only centre in Scotland running their accredited off-road driving experiences.  The company has built its success on the excellence of its customer service, and a reputation for going above and beyond expectations at all stages of the booking process, from the friendliness of the welcome to the luxury of the vehicles and the professionalism of the driving experience. 

Operating only brand new Land Rovers and Range Rovers, and with an emphasis on sustainability and responsible land management, Land Rover Experience Scotland will soon be adding hybrid 4x4 vehicles to their fleet, and providing electric charging points for customer vehicles.  The company even makes a virtue of the Scottish weather – off-road driving is just as much fun in the snow and rain as it is in the glorious sunshine!

Their latest venture, Young Off-Roader Scotland, gives 11-17 year olds the opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Range Rover and learn off-road skills in the company’s specialist driving centre.

White Range Rover drives across an old stone bridge over a little river that winds through the grass and heather covered countryside.

We are very proud to have won this award, which recognises the excellence of our customer service, helped by the strong links we have built with local companies and suppliers in Highland Perthshire. We are pleased to be able to bring so many guests to this area, to enjoy the best of outdoor adventure Scotland in a unique and exciting way.

Graham Clark, Managing Director at Land Rover Experience Scotland

These businesses will now join the country’s tourism elite at the prestigious national final in March to find out who will take home the national award. Watch this space…

For more information on the Scottish Thistle Awards, visit

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