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Three of founding figures behind the Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards (HITA) mark their retirement from board at a farewell dinner

By Calum MacLeod

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Retiring Highlands and Islands Tourism Association board members Joan Campbell, Ken MacAulay and Elizabeth Mackintosh.
Retiring Highlands and Islands Tourism Association board members Joan Campbell, Ken MacAulay and Elizabeth Mackintosh.

Elizabeth Mackintosh, Ken MacAulay and Joan Campbell were among the founders of the awards, which have now established themselves as the prime celebration of the Highland and Islands hospitality sector.

Elizabeth Mackintosh, alongside Marina Huggett of the Tourism Excellence Consultancy, was involved in establishing the awards and went on to become the first chairwoman. In 2018 she was named HITA’s Highland Ambassador.

The owner of Achmony Holidays in Drumnadrochit, overlooking Loch Ness, she has more than a half century of experience in self-catering and is a founding member of the Association of Scotland’s Self-Caterers.

Ken MacAulay, former owner of Tulloch Castle Hotel in Dingwall, has also been a board member since the beginning .

Former guest house owner and author Joan Campbell now lives just up the hill from The Sheiling, the B&B business she ran with her husband for 40 years at Melvich in Sutherland.

Her guest house career provided inspiration for her 2009 book, Heads on Pillows, and two years later she was awarded an MBE for her work in tourism.

HITA chairman Laurence Young thanked the three former directors for their contribution during a dinner at the Drumossie Hotel.

“The Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards have grown in significance and reputation over the years, in large part because of the hard work and dedication of the voluntary directors,” he said.

“Liz, Joan and Ken have been with the awards from the outset – over 20 years of service. Their roles and contributions have changed over time – with each giving of their skills and passion to these wonderful awards. You may remember seeing Liz as chair, for example, or the voices of Joan and Ken providing the voice of the commentator giving the background to each of the shortlisted business. They have done so much across the years, and will be really missed.”

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