An outdoor light festival and a mountain bike endurance event are among the events set to benefit from a share of £49,500 from EventScotland, part of VisitScotland’s Events Directorate.

The four events, taking place in the Highlands and Scottish Borders and Aberdeen, have been awarded grants from the latest round of EventScotland’s National Programme Fund to enhance event delivery and develop Scotland’s diverse events portfolio.

Stuart Turner, Head of EventScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting these four events through our National Programme Fund. Scotland is the perfect stage for events and our National programme plays a crucial role, not only in maintaining our vibrant and diverse portfolio, but in developing domestic tourism and generating beneficial impacts to all areas of the country. We look forward to working with the organisers to expand their offering, and grow the profile of their events in 2018.”

Aberdeen’s four-day festival of light, SPECTRA (8-11 February) will light up the winter skies with a varied programme of light installations from fire drawings to light projections and sculptures, as well as music and performance. This year’s theme of ‘Play the Night’ will explore innovation, creativity and the benefits of play and will celebrate Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018.

Curated Place and Spectra Creative Director, Andy Brydon said: “We are extremely excited to be working with EventScotland ahead of launching the new music programme for Spectra Festival next February. With their valued support, we are looking forward to continuing the success of the festival and developing the event further by filling the city with a dazzling array of musicians and artists every night.

“The funding will allow us to develop a new and unique offer for the North East, connecting Aberdeen with its Nordic Neighbours by using the city as a canvas to partner Scottish and Scandinavian talent. The whole team is excited for next February when we take Spectra in new and exciting directions.”

In the Scottish Borders, Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival (3 – 7 May) will return to Hawick for its eighth edition. Attracting some of the most innovative filmmakers from around the world, the experimental film festival will again transform the town into a creative hub as it screens more than 120 films from over 20 different countries.

The remaining two events to receive funding will both take place in the Scottish Highlands. Twenty-four hour mountain bike endurance event, Strathpuffer 24 (20 – 21 January), will see riders test their mettle as they complete laps round the white-knuckle course at Torrachilty Forest, while Groove CairnGorm (23 – 24 February), will treat festival-goers to a thrilling weekend of live music, world-class DJs and snow sports all within the setting of Cairngorm Mountain & Badaguish Outdoor Centre.

National Programme funding supports the strategic development of events which occur outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow, with the aim of driving domestic tourism, delivering economic impact for local communities and generating media profile for Scotland.

Building upon existing event activities, extending marketing reach and enhancing the on-site food and drink offer are just some of the ways national programme funds are often put to use.

EventScotland National Programme Round 36 funded events:

· Strathpuffer 24, 20-21 January, Torrachilty Forest, Contin & Strathpeffer – Awarded £12,000

· SPECTRA 2018, 8 – 11 February, Aberdeen – Awarded £25,000

· Groove CairnGorm, 23 – 24 February, Cairngorm Mountain & Badaguish Outdoor Centre, Aviemore – Awarded £5,000

· Alchemy Film and Moving Image Festival, 3-7 May, Hawick, Scottish Borders – Awarded £7,500