ATTEMPTS to get tourists using the increasingly popular NC500 coastal route to stop off in Dingwall have been given a boost.
The team behind a community-owned distillery being built above the town is keen for Dingwall to be recognised as a focal point on the scenic road tour.
And now the infant distillery is to have a presence in the town centre with the opening on Saturday of what has been dubbed GlenWyvis Basecamp.
Distillery founder and director John Mckenzie, describes the venue as an “interim visitor centre”, housed in the Victoria Restaurant on the High Street.
The hope is that it will be recognised as part of the NC500 “passport scheme”, with people calling in to get their “passports” stamped, proving that they have visited places on the 516-mile tour.
The aim of the initiative is to ease congestion, similar to a scheme operated on Spain’s famous Camino de Santiago pilgrim route.
As the distillery continues to be built on the hill behind Dingwall, the interim visitor centre incorporates displays on the area’s local whisky history, live links to the distillery site and product sales.
The venue will also feature the new GlenWyvis gin tasting experience, which can be booked through the distillery, and will serve as the starting point for local whisky heritage tours in the summer.
Mr Mckenzie, said: “Our ambition is to make Dingwall the craft-distilling town of Scotland and this has moved one step closer with the opening of GlenWyvis Basecamp.
“The NC500 gin will be bottled at 50.0 per cent abv in tribute to the touring route, and each bottle will be individually numbered.
“The first batch of 600 bottles will be available only from GlenWyvis Basecamp.
“Everyone who visits to buy a bottle will also get a free opportunity to complete a GlenWyvis ‘message in a bottle’, which will be placed in a cask to be buried on the distillery site.
“The cask will be opened in 10 years and a prizewinner will be drawn out to receive a 10-year-old bottle of GlenWyvis whisky.
“GlenWyvis and the NC500 share a vision of innovative, community-led development, and with GlenWyvis Basecamp set to feature on the NC500 passport scheme, we are confident this will help bring many more NC500 visitors into the centre of Dingwall to collect their ‘passport’ stamps.”
With the summer opening hours for GlenWyvis Basecamp still to be confirmed, the launch on Saturday will provide an early opportunity for locals and diners to get a preview.
Meanwhile, filming continues on a GlenWyvis distillery community video that will feature in the visitor centre.
The distillery team continues to build its business partnership with the NC500 and is looking for new ways to ensure Dingwall is a success on the popular route.
The team is also now looking for local volunteers to help run the Basecamp – and for ambassadors to help promote the GlenWyvis brand in communities.
Training is on offer for anyone interested. Contact the distillery through its website at http:/flyingfarmer.co/whisky-distillery or call 01349 862005