Working for Business in the Outdoor Capital of the UK

Slow Adventure Scoops Awards at VisitScotland Expo

West Highland College UHI’s Centre for Recreation and Tourism research took their ‘Slow Adventure in Northern Territories’ (SAINT) project to VisitScotland’s Expo at the Scottish Exhibition Centre in Glasgow last week.  Promoting new nature-based tourism experiences in Lochaber, recently developed as part of the project’s Scottish case study, they attracted considerable industry interest and walked away with a brace of awards!

The wild camp-themed stand attracted a fantastic level of interest from international tour operators, as well as from VisitScotland stand judges, resulting in two awards – “Best New Exhibitor” and “Most Effective Personnel”.  The project representative, Sara Mair Bellshaw, based at the Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research at West Highland College UHI in Fort William, collected the awards from VisitScotland’s chief executive, Malcolm Roughead, at the Expo dinner.

The stand introduced slow adventure to the industry as a new marketing concept for nature-based tourism, using a clustering model to bring together a range of tourism businesses to create slower-paced, more immersive consumer experiences set in the amazing land- and sea-scapes of Lochaber.  These clusters are the result of months of working with local businesses to test the effectiveness of collaboration that enables these micro-businesses to diversify their existing products and combine their expertise and offerings to broaden and enhance their promotional potential.  “All of these amazing experiences have been brought together in a brochure pitched at tour operators, which we hope will see them offering these experiences to their consumers”, explained the head of centre, Dr Steve Taylor.

The trans-national SAINT project is part-financed by the Northern Periphery and Arctic programme, with co-financing from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and the Highland Council.  The lead partner is West Highland College UHI, an academic partner of the University of the Highlands and Highlands.  To view the current slow adventure brochure go to, to follow slow adventure across the seven countries involved in the project please follow @slowadventuring social media pages.

  • Sara Bellshaw and Celia Bull from Selkie Explorers show off both awards


For more information about the SAINT project contact:  |  01397 874035




Background information:

The Centre for Recreation and Tourism Research (CRTR) is a research centre at West Highland College UHI, part of the University of the Highlands and Islands. We provide consultancy and research services in the following areas:

  • Nature-based and adventure tourism
  • Quantitative visitor surveys
  • Qualitative interviews and ethnography research
  • Tourism destination development
  • Marketing tourism products and services
  • European and national funding applications
  • Product development

For more information about our current projects, go to:


West Highland College UHI comprises 10 college centres throughout Lochaber, Skye and Wester Ross, offering a wide range of further and higher qualifications from access to degree and postgraduate levels across all of its sites.  It’s highly successful School of Adventure Studies has its home primarily in Fort William – the Outdoor Capital of the UK – with a further base in Broadford, Isle of Skye.  The College is led by Principal and Chief Executive Lydia Rohmer.  West Highland College UHI is one of 13 academic partners of the University of the Highlands and Islands.  For further information please visit the college’s website.


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