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Article published 17/11/2022

Scotland’s tourism industry and cultural organisations engaged with Year of Stories 2022 in lots of ways.

This case study looks at some of the new initiatives and campaigns created by tour operators and attractions in Scotland.

Tours

Scotland’s tour guides are some of our very best storytellers.  Several tour companies used the Year of Stories logo and hashtags into their promotional activity or even created new tours.

Scottish Tourist Guides Association

The Scottish Tourist Guides Association have been ambassadors for the Themed Year. They created a dedicated Year of Stories page on the STGA website. Guides wrote stories about all sorts of subjects ranging from the real Robinson Crusoe to the Scottish born founder of Australia. They created the online content in a range of formats including videos, podcasts and written stories.

Mercat Tours

Edinburgh-based Mercat Tours got on board with the Themed Year from the start.  They used the campaign hashtags on their social posts. These highlighted some of the cities lesser-known tales and their ghost tours and history walks. In April, they launched a social impact project to support vulnerable people in Edinburgh. The Our Stories, Your City project raised funds. This gave members of the Grassmarket Community Project the chance to experience a tour and attraction free of charge.

Mhostly Ghostly

Dumfries & Galloway-based Mostly Ghostly teamed up with Alive Radio in a partnership inspired by Year of Stories. Kathleen Cronie, founder of Mostly Ghostly, joined DJ Kenny Murray as a co-presenter. She brought a storytelling element to the 'Alive & Local' programme. Mostly Ghostly’s popular tours and events, including the Festival of Folklore, explore the more curious side of the region’s history. The company made great use of the Year of Stories campaign hashtags on their promotional activity across the year.

Dark  Dundee Tours

Dark Dundee Tours took inspiration from the Themed Year. They created several new tours that showcased the lesser-known side of the city, including ‘Fannies & Belters’ and ‘Sails, Tails and Whales’.

The Real Mary King's Close

The Real Mary King's Close invites visitors to follow Edinburgh’s former residents and hear their real stories on a tour of The Real Mary King’s Close. The company used the Year of Stories logo on promotional materials. They celebrated the Year through a blog on their website that highlighted Edinburgh’s Storytellers and the City’s Legacy in Literature. They also created ‘Stories & Wonders’ gin tasting tours in partnership with Edinburgh Gin. These offered visitors the chance to sample four unique gins which historical links to the city. They also shared some of the stories behind Edinburgh’s trade in ale, whisky and gin.

Attractions

Scotland’s visitor attractions are packed with stories. Venues used the Themed Year to create new projects, events and online content in 2022, to celebrate what makes their attraction unique.

Glamis Castle

Glamis Castle took inspiration from Scotland’s Year of Stories to put on a summer festival and Great Storytelling Search in July. A busy programme of events included interactive storytelling sessions and Bookbug events for children.  The Great Summer Storytelling Search took visitors of all ages for a tour in the castle grounds. They could discover popular fables, spooky tales and historical facts.

Shetland Museum and Archives

Shetland Museum and Archives created a dedicated web page in celebration of the Themed Year. They hosted a series of events as part of the Year of Stories 2022 Community Stories Fund with Shetland’s community stories at its heart. Activities included workshops, a storytelling competition, exhibition and series of films.

Shetland Museum & Archives in Lerwick
Shetland Museum & Archives in Lerwick
Image credit Promote Shetland / Euan Myles

Isle of Cumbrae Distillers

Scotland’s Year of Stories provided the inspiration for a new gin created by Isle of Cumbrae Distillers. They create award-winning gins and offer tours of their distillery in Millport. The all-female distilling team decided to produce a new gin – Maura – an ancient Celtic name meaning ‘Star of the Sea’. The gin celebrates Scotland's women, who helped shape its history, legends and stories of the sea. The bottle features a specially designed label by Scottish painter Hope Blamire.

The Scotch Whisky Experience

The Scotch Whisky Experience on Edinburgh’s Royal Mile chose to align their activity with the Themed Year. They used the campaign hashtags on their #collectionchronicles social posts. These highlighted a different story each week about one of the bottles in their whisky collection. Year of Stories was also a good match for their Tasting Tales events. These included stories about Scotch, the distilleries and the Scottish food to which they match the whiskies.

Rosslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel launched an initiative which asked visitors from around the world to share a story about the attraction. The chapel, which was founded in 1446, has featured in a number of stories, most notably Dan Brown’s novel, The Da Vinci Code. It has attracted visitors for generations, many of whom have recorded their stories in travel journals. Inspired by the Themed Year, this new project aims to add stories and memories from more recent visitors.

Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian
Rosslyn Chapel in Midlothian
Image credit VisitScotland / Kenny Lam

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