West Sands’ Chariot Awaits

Press release   •   Jul 21, 2016 13:50 BST

VisitScotland took over one of the most well-known beaches in Scotland – West Sands in St Andrews - to stage a stunt of Olympic proportions last week.

However, instead of witnessing a group of athletes running in slow motion along the beach, recreating one the most famous cinematic moments in history from Chariots of Fire, eagle-eyed locals and visitors may have noticed a group of sand artists crawling along the shore.

The activity was part of a mission to create a 50m x 20m piece of sand art to inspire people to share the millions of interesting stories and experiences they have had in different places across Scotland on a new online community.

The artwork, which features the line ‘This is the place where… we made sandcastles and Hollywood made Chariots of Fire’, took nine hours to create by a team of ten creatives. The piece being created was filmed by a drone and a time-lapse film will be available.

The activity is part of a new drive by the national tourism organisation to encourage people globally to bring Scotland to life to others through personal stories, memories and experiences from their time in country.

Entitled iKnow Scotland, the new online and face to face community gives businesses, industry and visitors the tools to enable them to share the Spirit of Scotland with others.

Features of iKnow Scotland:

Online inspiration:

Online Community on - an active, owned forum where consumers can tell their own stories, show pictures, inspire others and provide advice

Live Web Chat function to allow visitors to ask questions and get answers online in real time (during business hours)

Trip Planning: A practical trip planning tool to help visitors to plan their break by creating, saving and sharing their own travel itineraries

Face to face inspiration:

Introduction of iKnow Scotland VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP) Programme (working with attractions and accommodation providers to deliver information and advice to visitors)

125 tourism businesses have signed up to the VIP programme already including visitor attractions operated by National Trust for Scotland and Historic Environment Scotland.

Outreach - a fleet of Coo campervans and VisitScotland staff will travel around Scotland throughout the summer providing inspiration and information at some of the country’s biggest and best events, visitor attractions and tourism hotspots.

Re-naming of VisitScotland Information Centres as iCentres and iHubs nationwide

Chariots of Fire tells the story of Eric Liddell, a Scottish athlete whose devotion to his religion threatens to upset his chances of glory at the 1924 Olympics. The most famous scene from the film is when Liddell runs in slow motion to Vangelis’s unforgettable score across the West Sands of St Andrews.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland said:

“To some, West Sands is the site of one of the most famous cinematic moments in history – to others, it is the simply the best place to build a sandcastle or have a picnic! And that is what makes this initiative so interesting – how places across Scotland, from the most random and remote to the most visited and popular – all hold different meanings and memories to different people.

“We know that people who love Scotland are great storytellers. Visitors want to hear those stories and it is our role to ensure those stories are not only heard - whether online or in person – but that they inspire others to create their own memorable moments in Scotland.

“We want to galvanise a nation behind this initiative, building on the spirit, pride and passion people have for this country to reach more potential visitors globally. Our ScotSpirit campaign has inspired a worldwide movement of more than 130,000 people, but our vision is to grow this army of voices ten-fold to ensure we are heard above the rest.”

See the timelapse drone footage here:

To find out more about the VisitScotland online community, visit:

Notes to Editors

  • Follow us on twitter: @visitscotnews
  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland.
  • The organisation’s core objective is to contribute to the Tourism 2020 Strategy ambition of growing tourism revenues by £1 billion by 2020.
  • This will be supported by seven overarching strategies:
    1. Marketing: we will market Scotland and its outstanding assets to visitors from all parts of the world, including the promotion of Scotland to people living in Scotland       to visit different parts of the country
    2. Events: we will support the national events strategy and its delivery, and sustain, develop and promote Scotland’s international profile as one of the world’s foremost events destinations
    3. Internationalisation and International Engagement: we will utilise all our platforms to enable Scottish-based tourism businesses to better understand international       opportunities and market to a global audience and we will work within One       Scotland Partnerships to optimise the potential of Scotland’s Diaspora and our strategic partners at regional, European and global levels
    4. Customer Experience: we will provide information and inspiration to visitors both locally and globally via their preferred medium of choice
    5. Quality and Sustainability: we will provide support and advice to businesses, with the goal of improving the quality and sustainability of the tourism sector in Scotland. We will provide quality assurance to visitors through our Quality Schemes
    6. Inclusive Tourism: we will strive to make tourism in Scotland inclusive and available to all
    7. Working in Partnership: we will listen to and work with the industry, partners and communities to shape our offering and support
  • VisitScotland works together with tourism businesses to make tourism a success for everyone and ensure the industry continues to grow.
  • The organisation employs 700 people and has offices and VisitScotland Information Centres across Scotland.
  • Spending by tourists in Scotland generates around £12 billion of economic activity in the wider Scottish supply chain and contributes around £6 billion to Scottish GDP (in basic prices). This represents about 5% of total Scottish GDP.
  • The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit or follow @scotgovESIF
  • For VisitScotland’s press releases go to, tourism statistics and frequently asked questions go to
  • Where possible, a Gaelic speaker will be made available for broadcast interviews on request (Far an tèid iarraidh, agus far am bheil sin nar comas, bruidhinnidh neach le Gàidhlig aig agallamh)
  • For holiday information on Scotland go to
  • For information about business events in Scotland go to

    Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016

  • 2016 will shine a spotlight on Scotland’s achievements in innovation, architecture and design through a wide-ranging, variety of new and existing activity.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design begins on 1 January 2016 and ends on 31 December 2016 and will build on the momentum generated by the 2015 Year of Food and Drink as well as previous years including Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • Through a series of exciting events and activity, the year will showcase Scotland’s position as an “innovation nation”, its outstanding built heritage, and its thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector.
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Scottish Government, Creative Scotland, Architecture + Design Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and The Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS).
  • The Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • Join the conversation at #IAD2016
  • Events can join the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design Partner Programme throughout the year by visiting