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All aboard for Scotland’s Big April Adventures!

Press Release   •   Feb 23, 2013 00:00 GMT

A jamboree of John Muirs of all shapes and sizes helped to launch VisitScotland’s Big April Adventures at Edinburgh’s Waverley Station and East Lothian’s John Muir Country Park this week.

The troop, who received their tickets through the Big April Adventures special ballot, are following in the footsteps of Scotland’s most famous explorer by taking advantage of this unique celebration in the Year of Natural Scotland 2013.

April coincides with the first ever John Muir Day on April 21st which celebrates the 175th anniversary of the birth of Scottish-born explorer and “father of National Parks’”, who is revered around the world.

VisitScotland in collaboration with Scotland’s major transport providers, Caledonian MacBrayne, ScotRail, NorthLink, and Stagecoach/Citylink have contributed more than 20,000 tickets for free or discounted travel as part of the Big April Adventures promotion during the month of April.

Scots will also be offered the opportunity to rediscover childhood haunts or explore new destinations through accommodation, attraction and activity deals that will be available online for those wishing to make the most of an April adventure.

Escapes could include ferry travel to Colonsay for the Colonsay Festival of Spring; train travel to Dumfries and Galloway, the location of April’s Wild Spring Festival; or coach travel to Cairngorms National Park, which celebrates its 10th anniversary in 2013.

The aim of Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is to promote Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote ways in which visitors can enjoy our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly. It provides an opportunity to celebrate our reputation as a land of outstanding beauty, and encourage responsible tourism in Scotland.

Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland, said: “The Big April Adventures is all about getting Scotland’s explorers out and about experiencing our wonderful country for themselves in this the Year of Natural Scotland. Through this initiative we’ll be making sure that thousands of people will be going to all corners of Scotland over land and sea, experiencing new adventures and landscapes just like one of our greatest explorers, John Muir.

We are extremely grateful to our transport partners across the country, as without their help and enthusiasm this initiative would not be possible.”

Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Minister, said: The Big April Adventures will let Scots take their inspiration from John Muir and get out and explore our beaches, mountains and glens and see wildlife in its natural habitat during the Year of Natural Scotland.

“Thousands of people can benefit from free or discounted travel during the month and this is an excellent opportunity to make new discoveries and enjoy all that Scotland has to offer.”

Caledonian MacBrayne have provided 10,000 tickets (foot passengers only),ScotRail 5,000 tickets, Northlink 200 tickets (foot passenger only) and Stagecoach & Citylink 5,000 money-off vouchers to the value of £10.

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac said: "We are looking forward to welcoming "Big April Adventurers" on board our ferries, especially those who have not sailed with us before. We are sure they will have a memorable experience and be inspired to travel with us again and again as well as tell their family and friends how much Scotland's islands have to offer."

Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of ScotRail, said: "Leisure travellers now account for around 50% of our passenger journeys so we are delighted to play our part in encouraging people to explore Scotland by train."

Stuart Garrett, managing director of NorthLink Ferries said: “Having recently launched our marketing campaign 'Far Isn't Far' to encourage people to visit the Northern Isles we jumped at the chance to get involved with Scotland's Big April Adventures.

'We should all take the time to explore our homeland and I very much hope that the lucky winners will enjoy exploring Orkney and Shetland this Spring time.”

The Big April Adventures promotion complements the range of events and activities already taking place throughout Scotland this April; which includes Dumfries and Galloway’s Wild Spring Festival which runs until the 18th; the start of the RSPB’s Caper Watch which begins on the 1st, John Muir Day, which will see events taking place around the country on the 21st; the Great Glen Paddle on the 27th; the Beltane Fire Festival on the 30th.

Tickets for the Big April Adventures are available through

Terms and conditions apply


For further information please contact:

James Fox
Corporate Press Officer
Corporate Communications
Tel: 0131 472 2052

Notes to Editors:

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  • VisitScotland is Scotland’s national tourism organisation. Its core purpose is to maximise the economic benefit of tourism to Scotland. 
  • The organisation has three key roles:
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  • 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.
  • 2014 is the year Scotland welcomes the world, when it hosts the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles and more than 800 Homecoming events throughout the country.For more information on Homecoming Scotland 2014, go to 
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  • According to a recent Deloitte study, tourism employs 270,000 people in Scotland in 20,000 diverse businesses. The same study calculates that the industry contributes £11 billion annually (direct and indirect impact, including day visits) and supports around 10 per cent of employment in Scotland. Almost 16 million tourists take overnight trips to Scotland.
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