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Celebrations for National Trust for Scotland as tours of iconic Highland battlefield win praise in British Coach Tourism Awards

By Val Sweeney

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A guided tour at Culloden Battlefield.
A guided tour at Culloden Battlefield.

The team at Culloden Battlefield is celebrating after being highly commended in national tourism awards.

The battlefield and visitor centre, which is cared for by the National Trust for Scotland, was a finalist in the prestigious British Coach Tourism Awards 2020 ceremony held in Birmingham.

Each year, the awards attract hundreds of entries which exemplify the talent, dedication and innovation of individuals and teams across the sector including coach tour operators, destinations, attractions and hotels.

Postponed three times due to Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, the ceremony finally went ahead at the city's National Motorcycle Museum.

Culloden was picked from a bumper crop of entries in the UK's only national awards scheme dedicated to coach tourism to become one of only six finalists in the Coach-Friendly Guided Tour category - a new class for this year. The trust’s flagship Highland visitor attraction was up against tough competition including the Royal Mint Experience and Bletchley Park's wartime codebreaking museum.

Raoul Curtis Machin, operations manager at Culloden Battlefield, said: "We're thrilled to be highly commended in the British Coach Tourism Awards and to be among the very best businesses in this group travel sector.

"We were in very impressive company in the category finalists so to be recognised in this way is an enormous achievement, and all credit goes to all our fantastic team who so deserve this great recognition and have worked so hard to get Culloden back on its feet."

The panel of expert judges included Wendy Hartley-Scarff, chief executive of the Association of Group Travel Organisers, Andy Warrender, coach operations manager at the Road Haulage Association and Stuart Duddy, formerly of DFDS Seaways, Eurotunnel and P&O Ferries.

Awards director Helen Conway said: "After 18 long months of widespread disruption across the sector, we were delighted to be able to host the British Coach Tourism Award celebrations as we collectively welcome the return of coach tourism. Congratulations to all the deserving winners and finalists."

The British Coach Tourism accolade comes hot on the heels of Culloden Battlefield winning a Tripadvisor Travellers' Choice Award 2021.

It recognises attractions that consistently deliver high quality experiences to travellers, based on visitors' ratings, and means Culloden is now in Tripadvisor's top 10 per cent of attractions worldwide.

Culloden, which has been in the care of the Trust for 80 years, commemorates the last pitched battle to take place on British soil, the Battle of Culloden of 1746 which marked the end of the Jacobite Risings.

Fundraising team walks over 800 miles in support of Culloden

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