The population of one of Scotland’s oldest Royal Burghs could almost double over the next four days as the Highland village of Tain prepares to host the country’s first ever World Sheepdog Trials.
From 3-6 September, an estimated 3200 people will visit Fearn Farm to watch 240 competitors from 25 nations herd up to 700 sheep, in the battle to be named top dog.
Part of the Homecoming Scotland 2014 funded events programme, the annual global competition, which is held every three years, is billed as “the Olympics of the sheepdog world”, with competitors coming from all across Europe as well as the USA, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, Brazil and Japan.
As well as attracting a number of international supporters, the event is also expected to draw visitors from across the country, providing a significant boost to the local economy.
Organised by Scottish members of the International Sheep Dog Society, the event will begin with an Opening Parade and Civic Reception in Tain this evening (2 September). As well as the official contest, which concludes on Saturday, spectators will also be treated to trial demonstrations, vintage farming displays and trade and craft stalls.
The 2014 World Sheepdog Trials in Tain marks the beginning of Highland Homecoming, a two-month celebration of the very best in heritage, culture and sport in North Scotland.
Supported by a Homecoming fund of £170,000, the packed programme of events includes:
• Blas Festival (5-13 September)
• Highland Military Tattoo (5-7 September)
• Inverness Highland Meeting which includes the world’s biggest Highland Games event – the Masters World Championship (12-14 September)
• Camanachd Cup Final, where two of the country’s top Shinty teams battle it out to take home one of Scotland’s oldest sporting trophies (13 September)
• Baxters Loch Ness Marathon & Festival of Running ( 27 -28 September)
• Scotland’s biggest Gaelic Cultural Festival – Am Mòd Nàiseanta Rìoghail (The Royal National Mòd), returns to Inverness for the first time since 1997 (10-18 October)
• The world-class downhill tracks at Fort William’s Nevis Range, hosted by WEMBO World Solo 24Hr MTB Championship (11-12 October)
• Inverness Street Theatre Festival (16-18 October)
Tourism Minister Fergus Ewing said:
“The rich heritage and fantastic scenery of the Scottish Highlands has long captured the imaginations of people across the world, and over the next two months the Highland Homecoming will build on this global reputation by showcasing the very best that this historic region has to offer, starting with the 2014 World Sheepdog Trials.
“Scotland is welcoming the world in 2014 and it is fantastic that both the people of Scotland and our visitors are embracing many of the events being supported as part of the Homecoming 2014 celebrations. All events are designed to celebrate the very best of Scotland’s food and drink, our assets as a country of natural beauty as well as our rich creativity and cultural and ancestral heritage.
“With the Highland Homecoming set to begin and the Ryder Cup Opening Gala Concert and MTV Europe Music Awards still to come, it is clear that Homecoming 2014 will continue to see Scotland shine on the international stage.”
Mike Cantlay, Chairman of VisitScotland said:
“What is fantastic about Highland Homecoming is that it showcases the very best in Scottish tradition and culture against the breath-taking backdrop of the Scottish Highlands. We look forward to welcoming the world over the next two months and I am sure this packed programme will offer something to suit all tastes.
“2014 has been a unique year for Scottish tourism, we’ve had Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, and later this month we welcome the Ryder Cup to Gleneagles but I guarantee the passion, pride and sportsmanship will be just as enthralling in Tain this week. Events such as the 2014 World Sheepdog Trials, highlight the value of our tourism industry by boosting the local economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities.”
Ewen Mackinnon, Scottish National President, 2014 World Sheepdog Trials said:
“We are absolutely delighted to be part of the Highland Homecoming celebrations taking place during September and October this year. Tain is well and truly set to welcome the world over the next few days and of course, the world’s finest sheepdogs. Whilst the trial activity will be the main focus of the event, complementary attractions are planned for all age groups making the event a fantastic and memorable day out for all the family”.
For full details on Highland Homecoming visit: www.homecomingscotland.com/highlandhomecoming
For further information contact:
Corporate Press Officer
Tel: 0131 472 2052
Out of hours media enquiries: 07699 766986
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 has three key roles:
- To market Scotland to all parts of the world to attract visitors
- To provide information – and inspiration – to visitors and potential visitors so they get the best out of a visit to Scotland
- To provide quality assurance to visitors and quality advice to the industry and partners to help the industry meet and strive to exceed customer expectations
- 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 www.visitscotland.com
- The VisitScotland Information Centre network is a unique face-to-face channel engaging with around five million visitors and locals each year. Everyone who uses a VisitScotland Information Centre goes on to spend an additional £5.35, generating over £24 million for Scotland’s economy.
- 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.
- 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 www.visitscotland.com
- For information about business tourism in Scotland go to www.conventionscotland.com
- For more information on VisitScotland’s annual review please go to www.visitscotland.org/about_us/our_focus/annual_report.aspx