Mar 102017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

The University of Aberdeen rowed to victory on Saturday (March 4) at the 22nd annual Aberdeen Boat Race, which is sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management.
Breaking rival Robert Gordon University’s five-year winning streak, the University of Aberdeen triumphed in a time of 7 minutes 03.8 seconds, winning by 4 lengths.

The Robert Gordon University crew followed close behind, with a time of 7 minutes 16.3 seconds.

The University of Aberdeen also celebrated success in the alumni and second crew races – marking the first ever clean sweep in the event’s history.

Hundreds of spectators braved the weather to line the banks of the city’s River Dee to cheer on the teams as the old opponents battled it out on the river. Due to water levels, the 3.5km course was shortened by 300m.

Fiona Bell (21), president of Aberdeen University Boat Club, said,

“It feels amazing to have brought the Aberdeen Boat Race trophy back to the University of Aberdeen. I think we’re all still in shock a little; we set out to break RGU’s five-year hold over the title and we did it! I’m incredibly proud of my team and their performance today. We’ve been training hard in daylight and darkness, so it’s brilliant that all our hard work has paid off.

“Erin and the RGU crew were formidable opponents, and made things very difficult for us out on the water. It was a fantastic race to row in, and I hope those watching from the banks enjoyed it too. I’d also like to thank Aberdeen Asset Management for their continued support – without their backing the Aberdeen Boat Race couldn’t happen.”

Erin Wyness (20), president of Aberdeen University Boat Club, added,

“Congratulations to all of the University of Aberdeen crew on their win today. It was a hard race with both crews on form beforehand, so it would have been hard to call before we set off. Even though we didn’t win this year, I’m still very proud of all the effort the crew has put in over the last few months, and it doesn’t take away from our five-year streak. We’ll be back next year!

“The whole day has been brilliant both for the rowers and spectators on the shore – from the alumni and second crew races right up until the title race – and I’d like to thank Aberdeen Asset Management for their amazing continued support of this historic event.”

The alumni boat race was won by the University of Aberdeen in a time of 8 minutes 02.5 seconds. The universities’ second crew boat race was also won by the University of Aberdeen in a time of 2 minutes 36.6 seconds. Original 106fm clinched the media challenge title in a time of 1 minute 30.1 seconds over a 300m course.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of sponsor Aberdeen Asset Management, commented,

“On behalf of all at Aberdeen Asset Management, I would like to congratulate the winning crew from the University of Aberdeen. I would also like to recognise the effort of the Robert Gordon University Boat Club rowers, who put in a sterling effort on the water. Both teams should be rightfully proud of their achievements today.

“The university experience is about more than classroom learning, and the boat clubs are a real testament to that. Being founded in Aberdeen, we are very proud to continue to support the Aberdeen Boat Race in what is our 17th year.”

Follow the Aberdeen Boat Race on Facebook at www.facebook.com/aamboatrace, on Twitter @2017boatrace or Instagram @aamboatrace

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Mar 022017
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

After months of secrecy and planning, the final crews are announced on Tuesday, 21 February for the 22nd annual Aberdeen Boat Race. The 18 successful students have travelled from around the world to study at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University – from A Coruña in Spain to Perth in Australia.

They will come together this Saturday, March 4, for the challenging 3.5km race along the River Dee, which is sponsored by Aberdeen Asset Management.

Fiona Bell, president of Aberdeen University Boat Club (AUBC), and Robert Gordon University Boat Club (RGU) president Erin Wyness have handpicked their teams after monitoring the rowers’ technical skill and performance under pressure over the past few months.

Rowing for the University of Aberdeen are:

Alex Zabala (18) from A Coruña, Spain; Fiona Bell (21) from Kilmacolm; Lachlan Cowie (21) from North Kessock; Henry Pettinger-Harte (21) from Chester; Alex Afaquah (20) from Glasgow; Rosie Kelly (21) from Belfast; Anna-Sophie Tierre (19) from Aukrug, Germany; and Isla Ferguson (19) from Edinburgh. The cox is Alex Ralston (20) from Perth, Australia.

Representing Robert Gordon University are:

Erin Wyness (20), Holly Reid (23), Andrew Main (20), Gregor Pittendreigh (20) and Josh Quinn (23) from Aberdeen; Michael Brady (21) from Livingston; Ruth Wright (26) from Turriff; and Katherine Lawrie (19) from Stonehaven. The cox is Kathryn Duthie (21) from Dunfermline.

Last year’s race was the most exciting yet, with both crews breaking the course record. Jostling for first position along the length of the course, RGUBC just clinched the title for the fifth consecutive year by only a quarter of a length. After coming so close, AUBC is determined to make 2017 the year they bring the trophy back to their boat house.

As the Aberdeen Boat Race enters its 22nd year, it is once again supported by global investment group, Aberdeen Asset Management.

Martin Gilbert, chief executive of Aberdeen, comments:

“Since its inception, the Aberdeen Boat Race has become a real highlight in the city’s sporting calendar. Over the past few months, the crews have faced dark, early mornings and intense training sessions in rain and shine to prepare for the race ahead of them, and the time is almost here to put that training into practice.

“Aberdeen Asset Management remains dedicated to nurturing young talent, and we look forward to celebrating both crews’ achievements on March 4, regardless of who lifts the trophy.”

Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, says:

“Every year the crews from both universities show great skill and determination on the water and this year will be no different. The atmosphere at the finish line is electric and it is always fantastic to see Robert Gordon University students lining the riverbanks alongside the general public. I’m looking forward to another exciting race in March.”

Professor Sir Ian Diamond, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Aberdeen, adds:

“Last year’s race was incredibly close, and I know that AUBC has been out on the water training hard this year. The effort that both crews put into the preparations for the Aberdeen Boat Race is commendable, and I’m sure will lead to another exciting race along the River Dee.”

Following the toss for stations at 3.20pm, a number of races will take place in the run up to the title event. The Universities’ Second Crew Race takes place at 4.05pm, while the Alumni Crews take to the water at 4.25pm. The Media Challenge – which will see the Evening Express and Original 106fm take on reigning champions BBC, takes place at 5.15pm before the main Aberdeen Boat Race at 5.30pm.

Follow the Aberdeen Asset Management Universities’ Boat Race on Twitter @2017BoatRace, Facebook www.facebook.com/AAMBoatRace and Instagram @AAMBoatRace.

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Jan 192017
 

With thanks to Charlie Abel.

Joanna Lumley has become the first award recipients of the 2017 Scottish Samurai
awards.

Besides being a well known BAFTA TV award winning actress, former model, author and voice over artist, Joanna has been a great advocate for human rights for Survival International and the Ghurka Justice
Campaign. 

She is also a great supporter of Animal welfare charities such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians International Voice for Animals.

Her recent documentary ‘Joanna Lumley’s Japan’ was a great hit with the Samurai Award’s membership and U.K. audience. 

The Scottish Samurai awards were founded in Aberdeen by Culter resident and international 9th Dan Karate instructor Ronnie Watt OBE, ORS to celebrate those who serve and excel. The award of Great Shogun recognises those who have reached the ultimate achievement in their field.

Joanna Lumley has said she is very proud and very humbled to receive the honour and she is:

“thrilled to be a Scottish Samurai.”

Ronnie Watt is delighted to add Joanna to the ever-growing list of Samurai.

Some of the previous award winners include Sean Connery, Billy Connolly, Alex Salmond, Aberdeen City Council, Sir Ian Wood, Lord Charles Bruce, Compton Ross, Tommy Dreelan and the current and former Japanese Consul Generals of Japan in Edinburgh.

Each year the Scottish Samurai awards grow and continues to encourage and recognise people from different walks of life for their positive contributions to society and those around them.

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Dec 232016
 

With thanks to Yvette Rayner, PR Account Manager, Frasermedia.

An Aberdeen sports facility is urging kids to don their trainers over the festive break, following a report on child weight and obesity.
Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV), based in the city’s Linksfield Road, has a series of festive camps available for children from P1 – S3, to encourage youngsters to stay active and healthy during the Christmas break.

A new report from NHS Scotland, showed that almost a quarter of children starting school in Scotland are overweight or obese, sparking fears of long-term physical and mental health issues, including diabetes, heart disease and depression.

The body mass index of 92% of all 2015/16 primary one children was analysed, and results indicated that one in ten children starting school was already at risk of obesity, with a further 12% at risk of being overweight. The statistics, collected from all NHS boards in Scotland, also showed that NHS Grampian region had more overweight P1s than health boards in Edinburgh and Glasgow.

ASV, which was established in 2009, aims to provide world class sporting opportunities for everyone in the community, and the facility has a number of festive events during December and January, to keep Aberdonians of all ages fit and healthy.

ASV boasts a state-of-the-art gym, sports halls, indoor and outdoor athletics facilities, a range of exercise classes and indoor football pitches, as well as the Aquatics Centre, which includes an Olympic standard 50m pool and 25m diving pool.  

Two festive camps will take place, for children from P1 – S3, to give youngsters the chance to run off some steam after Christmas. The camps, the first from 27th – 30th December and the second a healthy start to 2017 from 3rd – 6th January, will ensure children go back to school feeling ready for the new academic session.

The ASV festive camps aim to give children the chance to try out a range of sports, from athletics to volleyball, as well as introducing some Christmas cheer with games of Quidditch and the famous ASV Aqua Run, an inflatable obstacle course in ASV’s 50m pool.

ASV CEO Duncan Sinclair, said:

“As adults we know we should exercise more, but for youngsters, particularly in winter when it is cold and dark outside, it’s all too easy to stay inside on the Xbox or watching YouTube.

“The Christmas holidays can be a long time for parents and so our festive camps will help the youngsters stay busy and entertained. Children from 4-15 will enjoy running around trying out new sports, and meeting new friends. Lifetime habits are learnt at a young age, so it is never too early for parents to introduce a wide variety of sports to their children.”

To book ASV festive camps, visit www.aberdeensportsvillage.com or call 01224 438900.

Aberdeen Sports Village (ASV):

ASV is the premier sports facility in the North East of Scotland and home to an array of first class sporting facilities and events.

ASV aims to deliver high quality sports services and opportunities for all at the home of sport in the North East. The facility, which opened in 2009, is the result of a joint venture by funding partners the University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen City Council and sportscotland.

For more information please visit www.aberdeensportsvillage.com

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Nov 222016
 

martinford-kintore-crossing-tallWith thanks to Martin Ford.

Aberdeenshire’sDemocratic Independent and Green Group of councillors (DIGG) is arguing the consultation on alternative service delivery models for sport and cultural services agreed at their council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee should form part of the expected wider consultation on budget options due to start later this year.

Aberdeenshire Council has agreed to follow a revised budget setting process for its 2017/18 budget in line with the decision taken at the Council’s budget meeting last February and in accordance with the provisions of the confidence and supply agreement between the DIGG and the Council’s coalition administration.

Draft budget proposals are to be published in November giving time for public consultation and to allow discussion on proposals between the various political groups on the Council ahead of formal budget decision making in February.

Cllr Martin Ford (pictured) said:

“I’m really not keen on the charitable trust proposal for future delivery of sport and cultural services. If it was not for the potential financial benefits – possibly betterment in excess of £1 million per annum – I don’t think the option would be under consideration. As it is, given the financial pressures on the Council and anticipated need for future savings, using a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services has to be given serious consideration.”

Aberdeenshire Council is expected to have to make significant savings in its revenue budget for 2017/18 and in subsequent years. At this stage, before the Scottish Government grant settlement is known, there is considerable uncertainty about the amount the Council will have to save to balance its budget for next year.

However, based on reasonable assumptions, additional spending cuts or other savingstotalling over £10 million are expected to be required, over and above thesavings already identified in the draft 2017/18 revenue budget published last February.

Cllr Martin Ford said:

“In setting its revenue budget for 2017/18, Aberdeenshire Council is going to have to take a range of decisions driven by the need to save money. Moving to a Council-owned charitable trust to deliver sport and cultural services is one option that could be adopted.

“Deciding what to do to balance the revenue budget means comparing all the potential savings options and trying to identify the least damaging and disruptive way of achieving the spending reductions required. Public consultation on those savings options that would affect the Council’s public services should also allow simultaneous consideration of the different proposals, so their relative acceptability can be gauged.

“Including alternative models for the delivery of sport and cultural services in the Council’s budget consultation process is the logical way to proceed,”

Cllr Paul Johnston said:

“As part of consideration of alternative delivery models for sport and cultural services, I would want the Council to look at options for local control, not just a single Aberdeenshire-wide charitable trust.

“As a group, the DIGG aim to have a range of draft budget proposals ready for the November full council meeting, and will welcome the opportunity to get feedback and comment on these before the Council sets its revenue budget for 2017/18 next February.”

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Nov 102016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

sports_hall1A leading Scottish sports facility is celebrating after being the first company to be awarded with Developing the Young Workforce’s Quality Accreditation at silver level. Aberdeen Sports Village received the accolade for its youth and volunteering programme, Village Volunteers, which provides young people with the opportunity to start a career in sport.

The world-class venue has been running its Village Volunteers programme since 2012.

The scheme allows young people, from the age of 14 and up, to volunteer at ASV events and activities, ranging from one-off sporting events to assisting with kids camps.

As well as this, the sports facility works closely with Aberdeen City Council and local schools to offer work placement opportunities to secondary school pupils. The placements give pupils the chance to gain and develop their skills whilst working in different areas of the business.

ASV also runs a number of youth development programmes, which aim to give young people, with little or no skills, the chance to gain qualifications that will improve their employability and prepare them for the workplace.

Swim Free at ASV is a free of charge initiative that is open to young people currently not in employment, education or training, as well senior school pupils. The course gives youngsters the chance to gain swim teaching and lifeguarding qualifications and, on completion, allows them to volunteer at ASV, to further boost their experience and development within a sporting environment.

Alison Shaw, sports development executive at Aberdeen Sports Village, said:

“ASV is dedicated to attracting and training young talent, so we’re honoured to have been recognised by DYW for our commitment to providing young people with the opportunity to gain additional skills through our Village Volunteers scheme.

“It’s not uncommon to see Village Volunteers, who start with ASV at a young age, eventually become paid members of the team. We’ve also had a few work placement pupils who have gained full-time employment with us.

“As part of our Swim Free at ASV programme, we also provide free swimming lessons to primary six and seven pupils who can’t swim yet. This is an extremely important initiative, as not only does it provide life-saving skills, but it also introduces young people to a new sport and helps improve their confidence in the swimming pool.”

Rachel Elliot, manager at Developing the Young Workforce, said:

“It’s very inspiring to see such a large business working hard to provide further opportunities for young people in the North-east. ASV has been recognised by DYW for its dedication to helping young people enter the workplace and the whole team should be very proud of its efforts.

“The Quality Accreditation has been introduced to increase the number of business engaging with schools. It gives employers, schools and pupils an assurance that a particular organisation, initiative or programme meets a minimum set of requirements.

“Young people are the workforce of tomorrow, so it’s incredibly important that employers do all they can to train and educate their volunteers, employees and apprentices. There are many benefits to utilising the talents of young people, as they often bring enthusiasm, dedication and unique thinking to any business.”

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Sep 162016
 

peter-medley2With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

VisitAberdeenshire will swap the north east coast of Scotland for the Nevada desert this October, as the tourism organisation visits IMEX America.

The exhibition, which takes place from 18-20 October in the newly renovated Sands Expo and Conference Centre, will bring the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events (MICE) markets together with tourism operators from across the globe.

This will be the first time VisitAberdeenshire has exhibited at the renowned American business travel event, allowing the organisation to network with 3000 hosted buyers and 2000 attendees to show what Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire have to offer.

Peter Medley (pictured), business development director at VisitAberdeenshire, says,

“There has never been a better time for us to promote business travel to Aberdeen from the USA. Icelandair’s new flight routes via Reykjavik have opened up a more flexible travel schedule to visitors, alongside existing routes via traditional international hubs in London, Frankfurt, Paris and Amsterdam.

“We’ll be showcasing Aberdeen as a centre of excellence for far more than oil and gas.  For example, the research conducted at the University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University extends far beyond oil, gas and renewables. We can attract further conferences and events to the area by underlining the city’s expertise in key areas including the life sciences.

“At IMEX America, we will stress this diversity of knowledge with key buyers and organisers looking for suitable destinations which have access to world class professionals to host their future conference and event needs. We have previously exhibited at IMEX Frankfurt predominately reaching the European markets, but with improved access to Aberdeen via new flights, the time is right for us to exhibit at IMEX America.

“As with everything in Vegas, it’s on a whole new level with 3,100 exhibitors, 3,000 hosted buyers and 2,000 delegates attending, which makes it a fantastic opportunity for Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.”

VisitAberdeenshire will have much to discuss with those attending the conference, not just about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s far-reaching wealth of expertise but also the region’s developments in meetings and conferencing facilities.

The area’s rejuvenation, he says, shows that despite the current downturn in oil and gas, Aberdeen is still a force to be reckoned with in the meetings and events industry.

He continues,

“Across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, venues and suppliers are continually improving the quality of their offering, and providing new and valuable services to those looking to organise meetings, events and conferences.

“Work is now underway on a £333 million transformation of the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre (AECC) which will have a significant impact on the MICE industry. Relocating to a site near Aberdeen International Airport, the venue’s facilities for conferences, exhibitions and meetings will be greatly improved, and will be augmented by a state of the art performance arena, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities.

“The airport itself is also in the midst of a £20 million expansion programme, featuring new passenger lounges, baggage claim and security services. This is an important step in improving the north east of Scotland’s infrastructure for delegates visiting the area.

“Venues which are traditionally associated with the region’s rich culture – including Aberdeen Art Gallery and the Music Hall – are also currently being renovated and expanded. These two developments, worth £37 million in total, will provide unique locations for meetings, gala dinners and drinks receptions in the heart of Aberdeen city centre.”

At a time when Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire’s room rates are at their most competitive level in recent memory, the region has become incredibly attractive not just to meetings and event organisers, but also to those looking to offer incentives to their clients and colleagues. The area’s many historic castles provide a stunning backdrop for hosting dinners for conference and incentive groups, and nearby whisky distillery tours are consistently a hit with visitors.

Peter adds,

“Conferences today are not just about spending the whole day in a meeting room, and there is increasingly a requirement to offer delegates the chance to get out and about, to network informally and relax between sessions.

“The north east of Scotland, for example, is home to some of the best golf courses in the world – from Royal Aberdeen and the Trump International Golf Links to Braemar, the highest 18-hole course in the UK.

“In addition to our wonderful choice of 56 golf courses, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire offer plenty of opportunities to explore the outdoors, and for team building events to be organised at one of the region’s outdoor centres.”

For more information about Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire, and the facilities on offer to the meetings, incentive travel, conferences and events market, please visit www.visitabdn.com

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Aug 042016
 

With thanks to Gemma Setter, PR Account Executive, Frasermedia.

Lynx Juniors2

Lynx Juniors.

One of Aberdeen’s biggest sports clubs is looking for companies to support youth development in the city.
The Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Club, which is the second most supported sports team in the city after Aberdeen Football Club, is looking for sponsorship from local businesses for the 2016-17 season, which starts in September.

As well as its SNL league team, the Lynx are also extremely focused on junior development, and have teams from ages 12 and up, as well as a Mini Lynx Learn to Play programme.

Securing sponsorship ensures that youngsters in the North-east have access to first-class coaching and facilities, providing them with the opportunity to pursue the sport as a hobby or a career in the future.

The Club – which recently lost its main sponsorship deal due to the slump in the oil and gas industry – is starting to think outside the box when it comes to funding and is introducing smaller sponsorship opportunities.

All the support from sponsors goes straight back into the club, which helps to keep costs down for junior players, fund equipment, and enables the team to travel around the country to play in SNL games.

Martin Hill, chair of the Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team, said:

“Unfortunately, we have just lost our main sponsorship deal due to the downturn in Aberdeen. We had anticipated it was going to happen and are sympathetic, but it still comes as a real blow to both our adult and junior teams.

“The Lynx are now on the lookout for new sponsorship deals. We completely understand that it’s currently a very difficult climate for businesses in Aberdeen, so we’re willing to negotiate, as we know how many companies are struggling.

“Since we were re-established in 2009, the club has grown to extraordinary heights and regularly sells out games. We often have around 1,100 people coming to watch the team at home, so sponsoring The Lynx is a really cost-effective way of advertising, as the exposure we’re able to give businesses is huge.

“Last season we won the SNL Play Off Final, which was a fantastic achievement for the club. We’re already beginning to see that demand for tickets is going to be high, so to thank the fans for their continued support, we’ve frozen our ticket prices.”

For more information about the Aberdeen Lynx and the SNL fixtures search Aberdeen Lynx Ice Hockey Team on Facebook, visit the website www.aberdeenlynx.com, or email contactus@aberdeenlynx.com.

 

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Jul 212016
 

With thanks to Eoin Smith, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

Copyright: Newsline Scotland

Steve Harris, Chief Executive, VisitAberdeenshire.

VisitAberdeenshire has become an official sponsor of the Northern Ireland Open which will take place from 28 – 31 July at Galgorm Castle in Ballymena. The organisation, which is responsible for the marketing of the area to both leisure and business visitors, will have promotional material around the tournament course as well as an information stand.

Golf remains a key driver for tourism to the north east of Scotland and with a course for every week of the year Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can deliver a quality golf product for both leisure visitors and corporate groups.

Steve Harris (pictured), chief executive of VisitAberdeenshire says,

“Flight time from Belfast to Aberdeen with FlyBe is just over an hour, making us an appealing destination for golfers of all abilities from Northern Ireland. We have high profile courses like Trump International, Cruden Bay, Royal Aberdeen and Newmachar, but we also have Britain’s highest 18 hole course at Braemar, Fraserburgh where play is documented as early as 1613 and Paul Lawrie’s Golf Centre on the banks of the River Dee.

We have eminent courses which serious golfers long to play, challenging links courses, scenic inland courses and friendly nine hole courses. We’re taking the opportunity to show golf fans who attend the Northern Ireland Open just what a wealth of golfing treasures our area has to offer them and just how accessible we are from Belfast.”

Research commissioned by the Scottish Golf Tourism and VisitScotland shows that Scotland is third on a global list of hot spots for golf tourism (#1 Spain, #2 Portugal, #5 Ireland, #9 England). It is estimated that golfers spend is 120% more than that of other visitors. Golf tourism is a major contributor to Scotland’s economy and is estimated to be worth close to £220million annually.

Steve Harris continues,

“A report published in 2013 showed that there is potential to boost visitor spend from golf in the north east of Scotland from £20 million to over £50 million by 2020. Our sponsorship of the Northern Ireland Open is part of the region wide drive to reach this goal.

“Golf’s popularity seems to be growing exponentially – we’re having a true summer of golf with the recent Scottish Open in the Highlands and The Open in Troon and the Scottish Ladies Open at Dundonald. This interest is also set to grow with the inclusion of golf in the Rio Olympics after a break of 112 years.”

Alain de Soultrait, Director of the Challenge Tour, said:

The Tayto Northern Ireland Open in Partnership with Ulster Bank is one of the most popular tournaments on the European Challenge Tour schedule, with Galgorm Castle Golf Club providing a fantastic setting, excellent local support and a superb venue to make this a really big week for the Challenge Tour players.

“We are pleased VisitAberdeenshire are also supporting the event so soon after our own successful visit to Scotland for the SSE Hydro Scottish Challenge, a week which showed once again how strong the link between Scotland and golf truly is.”

More about golfing in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire can be found at www.visitabdn.com/attractions-and-activities/golf.

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Jun 302016
 

With thanks to Esther Green, Senior Account Executive, Tricker PR.

mark beaumont2

Record breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont with David Pitt of Wildfox Events. Credit © EdSmith.

Record-breaking cyclist Mark Beaumont is gearing up to promote the benefits of cycling at the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale and the Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival.

The long-distance cyclist, who is known for completing an 18,000 mile round-the-world cycling challenge and who has tested the 100 mile route of the Etape Royale on a Penny Farthing, is supporting the
Festival.

The Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival is the latest addition to an exciting summer of events for the Ballater area.

It takes places from 16 -18 September to complement the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale – one of Scotland’s most scenic and challenging closed route cycle sportives, starting and finishing in Ballater which aims to promote the benefits of cycling to people of all ages.

The 100-mile circular route of the Quliter Cheviot Etape Royale takes participants on a traffic-free journey through historic Royal Deeside and Aberdeenshire, Moray’s Whisky Country, and back along the banks of the picturesque River Dee, allowing cyclists to take in the breathtaking scenery present throughout the region. For those who don’t feel quite up to the full distance, there are also 45 and 65 mile routes available.

A series of family-friendly events and activities are on offer over the course of the weekend, such as a mountain bike skills circuit and a bike roadshow featuring weird, wonderful and wacky bikes from the past and the present. Those participating in Etape Royale are being encouraged to bring their families along to enjoy the festivities and the rest of what Ballater has to offer.

Many local businesses are getting involved by organising activities for the weekend of the Festival. Both Cycle Highlands and The Bike Station will be offering bike rental and providing mechanical support to cyclists. Whilst the cafes in Ballater are extending their opening hours and will also be transformed into European street-style cafes, enabling customers to enjoy their food and drinks outside.

David Wright of Aberdeenshire Council, says,

“The whole of Ballater is looking forward to welcoming cyclists and their families to this year’s Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale and the Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival.

“Mark Beaumont is such a well-known name in the world of cycling and we’re confident that he will do a brilliant job in encouraging more people to take an interest in cycling, either as a hobby or as an alternative method of transport.

“The entire weekend will be a celebration of all things cycling and there are plenty of activities for all the family to get involved in. For those who aren’t interested in bikes, there will be a farmer’s market on the Saturday, a climbing wall, and zorbing. A ceilidh has also been organised to welcome visitors to the area at the Victoria & Albert Halls on the evening of Saturday 17 September.

“The weekend will help to highlight the excellent selection of cycling routes available in Ballater and Royal Deeside. The entire area is a cyclist’s dream, as there are scenic roads and recreational routes, plus plenty of mountain ranges for the adrenaline seekers to enjoy.”

Richard Watts, owner of Cycle Highland and chairman of Ballater Business Association, says,

“The Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale and the Royal Deeside Cycling Festival combines cycling and family fun into one weekend. Family members of the participants will be able cheer them on as start and finish Etape Royale in Ballater. Whilst the cyclists are away, visitors to the Festival can enjoy the wide range of activities, food and music events on offer.

“It’s very inspiring to see local businesses getting behind the Festival by organising events which will enhance the overall experience for both visitors and residents of Ballater. This is the first year that the Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival is being held and the whole community is getting involved, so the atmosphere in the village over the weekend is certainly not to be missed.”

The Royal Deeside Family Cycling Festival takes place from Friday 16 to Sunday 18 September in Ballater. Supported by EventScotland and official charity sponsor Marie Curie, the Quilter Cheviot Etape Royale gets underway on Sunday 18 September, the cycle sportive covers 100-miles and an ascent of 2,996m. For more information, visit: www.etaperoyale.com

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