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Cream of region’s tourism businesses gain recognition at Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards in Inverness

By Calum MacLeod

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The winners with Kate Forbes MSP...Picture: Callum Mackay.
The winners with Kate Forbes MSP...Picture: Callum Mackay.

THERE was victory for Culloden Battlefield at this year’s Highlands and Islands Tourism Awards when living history guide James Ryan was named tourism and hospitality hero of the year.

At 6ft 7in, the larger than life James’s passion and enthusiasm “blew away” the judges, who noted: “He described a scene and delivered this with pure emotion, care and such finite detail that it made the hairs on the back of the judges’ necks stand.”

His colleague at the National Trust for Scotland attraction, visitor services supervisor Catriona McIntosh, was highly commended in the rising star category at the glamorous black tie awards night at the Drumossie Hotel in Inverness. However, she lost out to Christina Smith, duty manager at the new Ness Walk hotel, who collected one of two awards for the Kingsmills Hotel Group.

The other went to the Kingsmills Hotel, which the judges described as operating on a scale and at a standard unrivalled in the Highlands, for best hotel experience.

Struy’s Eagle Brae collected best self catering/alternative accommodation award, having previously won the title in 2014, while Café One One Two took the best informal dining award to Nairn after judges praised its usual ingredients and innovative approach.

The prestigious Highland ambassador title went to Annie Grace Gunn of Skye’s Toravaig, Duisdale and Skeabost hotels.

For a full list of winners and more photos, see yesterday's Inverness Courier and tomorrow's Highland News.

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