Skip to main content

Harray’s Four Stars

Press Release   •   Jan 13, 2017 14:14 GMT

A secluded bothy, perched on the edge of Harray Loch on Orkney, has been awarded four stars by VisitScotland.

Renovated from a traditional stone built croft house, Harray’s Little Bothy, was awarded the Four Star Quality Assurance (QA) Award in recognition of its high standards.

The cottage, which is owned and run by Heather MacInnes, received the grading at its first visit by the national tourism organisation.

VisitScotland’s Four Star Quality Assurance Award recognises self-catering accommodation businesses which excel in areas of customer care and hospitality.

Central to the west mainland, Harray’s Little Bothy provides a perfect base to explore some of the icons of the Year of History, Heritage and Archelogy, such as the Ring of Brodgar and Skara Brae.

The bothy has also recently become a VisitScotland Information Partner (VIP).

The VIP programme, launched earlier this year, recognises the work businesses are already doing in enhancing the visitor experience and bringing the Spirit of Scotland to life, including the provision of visitor information.

Launched in February 2016, ‘the spirit of Scotland’ campaign is built on extensive research which shows that people think Scotland has a unique spirit– whether it’s the magic of the landscapes or the warmth of the people.

Heather MacInnes, owner of Harray’s Little Bothy, said:

“I'm just delighted to achieve four stars for my cottages from Visit Scotland. I love my business and have enjoyed the whole project of upgrading the cottages, the Bothy in particular, which has been done from scratch, from a derelict building to comfortable, cosy retreat. It’s so very rewarding to have all the hard work done by everyone concerned, recognised in this way.

“My guests are overwhelmed with the location, the views over the loch are outstanding, and the wildlife always impresses, many are here to fish and it is only a short walk to the water’s edge.

“The cottages are a mile down a track from the main road, so many guests are attracted by the rural secluded location, but still appreciate being so close to any amenities they might need. All the West Mainland archaeology sites and Stromness are under 15 minutes away with the toon only 30 minutes and the airport just beyond that.”

Barbara Foulkes, Island Manager, VisitScotland, said:

“I would like to congratulate Heather on Harray’s Little Bothy achieving its Four Star Quality Assurance Award. This beautiful holiday home not only offers uniquely picturesque views of Harry Loch but also boasts a very high standard of accommodation for guests. We look forward to welcoming more businesses in the area into our Quality Assurance Scheme in the future.

Our QA 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.”

Developed and improved over the past 25 years, VisitScotland’s QA schemes are world-leading and provide a trusted, independent and impartial source of information for visitors. They allow businesses not just to meet visitor expectations, but exceed them.

QA can open the door to new customers. It is a powerful marketing tool and works well with online review sites in using an independent perspective to measure visitor experience against tried and tested criteria, so visitors know exactly what to expect.

For more information about Harray’s Little Bothy, visit

For further information about VisitScotland’s Quality Assurance scheme, visit

Picture caption: VisitScotland Island Manager, Barbara Foulkes (right), presents owner, Heather MacInnes (left), with Harray’s Little Bothy’s Four Star Quality Assurance Award.  

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
  • 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