A big adventure in Ayrshire

Visitors from across Scotland are being encouraged to come to Ayrshire & Arran during April, as part of a major initiative between VisitScotland and Scotland’s major transport providers.

The Big April Adventures special ballot has come on the back of a unique celebration of one of Scotland’s most famous explorers during this Year of Natural Scotland 2013.

The first ever John Muir Day will take place on April 21st celebrating the 175th anniversary of the birth of Scottish-born explorer and “father of National Parks’”, who is revered around the world.

VisitScotland in collaboration with Scotland’s major transport providers, Calmac, ScotRail, Northlink, Stagecoach/Citylink have contributed more than 20,000 tickets for free or discounted travel as part of the Big April Adventures promotion during the month of April.

Offering Scots the opportunity to rediscover childhood haunts or explore new destinations, accommodation deals, attractions and activities will also be available online for those wishing to make the most of an April adventure. This could include enjoying the region’s fantastic coastline, exploring country parks or trying out one of the many great golf courses on offer.

The aim of Year of Natural Scotland 2013 is to promote Scotland’s stunning natural beauty and biodiversity, and promote ways in which visitors can enjoy our beautiful landscapes, wildlife and heritage responsibly. It provides an opportunity to celebrate our reputation as a land of outstanding beauty, and encourage responsible tourism in Scotland.

Annique Armstrong, Regional Director of VisitScotland, said; “The Big April Adventures is all about getting people in Scotland out and about experiencing our wonderful country for themselves in this the Year of Natural Scotland. Through this initiative we’ll be making sure that people are encouraged to come to Ayrshire & Arran, experiencing new adventures and landscapes just like one of our greatest explorers, John Muir. The Big April Adventure adds an extra dimension to the dedicated local marketing campaign we deliver for Ayrshire & Arran.”

“We are extremely grateful to our transport partners across the country, as without their help and enthusiasm this initiative would not be possible.”

Tickets for the Big April Adventures are available through www.visitscotland.com/BigAprilAdventures with weekly winners drawn on a random basis in the form of the ballot which is now open. Terms and conditions apply.

Fergus Ewing MSP, Tourism Minister, said: “The Big April Adventures will let Scots take their inspiration from John Muir and get out and explore our beaches, mountains and glens and see wildlife in its natural habitat during the Year of Natural Scotland.

“Thousands of people can benefit from free or discounted travel during the month and this is an excellent opportunity to make new discoveries and enjoy all that Scotland has to offer.”

Caledonian MacBrayne have provided 10,000 tickets (foot passengers only),ScotRail 5,000 tickets, Northlink/Serco 200 tickets (foot passenger only) and Stagecoach & Citylink 5,000 money-off vouchers to the value of £10.

Martin Dorchester, Managing Director of CalMac said: “We are looking forward to welcoming “Big April Adventurers” on board our ferries, especially those who have not sailed with us before. We are sure they will have a memorable experience and be inspired to travel with us again and again as well as tell their family and friends how much Scotland’s islands have to offer.”

Steve Montgomery, Managing Director of ScotRail, said: “Leisure travellers now account for around 50% of our passenger journeys so we are delighted to play our part in encouraging people to explore Scotland by train.”