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Battling for the Stars in Deeside

Press Release   •   Jan 10, 2017 14:21 GMT

Owner Gilan Kelly with Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director.

An outdoor centre for paintballing, laser tag, archery and bubble football has achieved Five Stars at its first ever grading visit by the national tourism organisation.

Battle Grounds Adventure Activities by Banchory is now a Five Star Activity Centre following its Quality Assurance grading by VisitScotland.

Nestled within stunning native woodlands, it was established eight years ago by a then 17-year-old Gilan Kelly. With a real passion for paintball and anything adrenaline-fuelled, he built the business from the ground up and his achievements were recently recognised when he was announced as a finalist in the Grampian Awards for Business Excellence in the Spirit of Enterprise category.

With a focus on providing customers with the highest quality experience possible, the local business has grown organically over the years and so too has the Battle Grounds family – they now have a team of over 12 dedicated staff.

Home to the Scottish Paintball League, they are the only Aberdeenshire City Council approved paintball venue and are the only site in Aberdeenshire to run walk-on paintball days for regular players.

They pride themselves on offering an unparalleled customer experience, helping to organise anything from a corporate barbecue on their stunning lawn to an extra special birthday party.

Owner Gilan Kelly said:

“Receiving such a prestigious Five Star VisitScotland award is wonderful recognition for the years of hard work myself and the team at Battle Grounds have put in.

“Since moving to our current location, we’ve invested a huge amount of time and effort and worked tirelessly to expand our offering to our customers. We’re thrilled to be the only five star adventure activity centre in Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire and are very excited to continue our expansion with a real focus on our customers.

“We bend over backwards to ensure our customers have a great day – it’s a huge privilege to be part of so many of our customers special events (stag parties, birthdays etc.) so making sure people leave with a smile on their face having had a great fun, safe day is our main drive.”

Jo Robinson, VisitScotland Regional Director, said:

“This a great story of a small business building itself into a must-visit experience and to attain Five Stars at a first grading visit is impressive to say the least.

I would like to congratulate Gilan and the team at Battle Grounds Adventure Activities for their well-deserved achievement. They are providing a very high standard visitor experience, which is reflected in their Five Star award.

“I hope their success sets an example to other businesses to join the Quality Assurance scheme, which benefits tourism businesses and visitors alike. It is vital that everyone involved in tourism works together to offer visitors a fantastic experience when visiting and staying in Aberdeenshire, to strengthen our tourism offering.

“Our Quality Assurance scheme helps businesses to reach their full potential and truly shine. The scheme is about more than just the ‘stars’ on the door - it’s about the entire visitor experience, about investing in your business and making it as economically sustainable as it can possibly be.”

For more information, visit

For more information on VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, please 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.
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  • 2017 Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology

  • 2017 is the year to delve into the past and discover Scotland’s fascinating stories through a wide-ranging variety of new and existing activity to drive the nation’s tourism and events sector, boosting tourism across Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology begins on 1 January 2017 and will end on 31 December 2017. It will build on the momentum generated by previous themed years in Scotland including the 2015 Year of Food and Drink, Homecoming Scotland 2014, the Year of Creative and the Year of Natural.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is a Scottish Government initiative being led by VisitScotland, and supported by a variety of partners including Creative Scotland, Scottish Tourism Alliance, Scottish Enterprise, The National Trust for Scotland, Historic Environment Scotland, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Built Environment Forum Scotland, Heritage Lottery Fund, Museums Galleries Scotland and Traditional Arts and Culture Scotland.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology is supported by £570,000 of Scottish Government funding.
  • The Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology events fund is managed by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.
  • For more information visit or join the conversation at #HHA2017