A trail running event set amid giant turbine blades in the UK’s largest onshore windfarm has received national government funding.

Running the Blades at the Whitelee Wind Farm on Eaglesham Moor, East Renfrewshire, is the recipient of £21,000 from Event Scotland.

The event in July is among six events – taking place across six local authorities between April and August this year – to be supported by the national agency in its 43rd National Programme Fund.

An off-road motorsport festival, Scotland’s largest open water swimming event, and the country’s most northernly folk festival are also among the diverse events to be awarded a share of the £91,240 pot.

Paul Bush OBE, Director of Events at VisitScotland, said: “We are delighted to be supporting these events through our National Events Programme to extend their reach, expand their offering and enhance the visitor experience.  

“Events play a vital role in contributing to Scotland’s visitor economy, and the National Events Programme generates significant social and economic benefits for local communities, while simultaneously, contributing to our wide-ranging, vibrant portfolio of annual events.”

Amongst the events to benefit is first-time applicant, Drumlanrig Off-Road Motorsport Festival (18 – 21 June). Set in the picturesque grounds of Drumlanrig Castle in Thornhill, the family-friendly festival features multiple disciplines within motor sport, including flat-field motocross and off-road bike trials, as well as a wealth of entertainment with a spectator arena, food village, kids’ inflatables, mini quad bike rides, static vehicle displays, disco and ceilidh. The festival has been awarded £13,640 towards enhancing the spectator experience by improving accessibility, as well as for additional PR and marketing support.

Kenny Harper, Organiser of Drumlanrig Off-Road Motorsport Festival, said: “We would like to say a massive thank you to EventScotland for their support of the Drumlanrig Off-Road Motorsport Festival 2020. With funding from the National Events Programme we can expand the event to include more family friendly attractions, creating a festival atmosphere and raising the profile of our event in Scotland and Europe. This support enables us to attract a much wider demographic, helping to promote motorsport within the grounds of the spectacular Drumlanrig Castle, in the heart of Dumfries and Galloway.”

Funded events:

Shetland Folk Festival – The UK’s most northerly folk festival, it is regarded as a prestigious event for performers, locals and visitors alike. Concerts are organised throughout the isles, consisting of folk, roots and world music from around the globe as well as the best of local talent. This year marks the festival’s 40thanniversary and organisers have ambitions to make it the biggest edition yet. To realise these ambitions, an award of £21,000 will go towards securing a headline act, programming additional performances, marketing activity, and an enhanced school programme. 

The Gathering – The festival, which takes place at the Northern Meeting Park in Inverness, features a host of exciting traditional and folk based bands from The Highlands and across Scotland alongside a line-up of the finest craft food and drink suppliers from the region. For 2020, The Gathering will expand its programme to include a series of ticketed shows, free fringe events and pop-ups in the days leading up to and after the main event. An award of £17,000 will go towards marketing, branding and city dressing as well as the production and programming for the additional new shows and events. 

Dundee Summer Streets Festival – Running in the heart of the holidays, the festival presents a lively and vibrant programme of play, performance, storytelling, music, markets and street theatre, taking place in Dundee’s city centre.  An award of £5,600 has been made to support additional marketing activity, equipment hire and themed programming. Taking place in Scotland’s Year of Coasts and Waters 2020, there will be activities ranging from duck races to storytelling whales to massive battle ships. 

Run the Blades – One of Scotland’s premiere trail running events, this unique event is held exclusively within the UK’s largest onshore wind farm, Whitelee Wind Farm, and incorporates three distances – 10km, half marathon and 50km ultramarathon. In 2020, an additional two elements will be added to the programme. On Saturday, a Children’s Mile will be held after the Half Marathon departs the Event Village and on Sunday, Ride the Blades will see the introduction of mountain biking to the programme. Run the Blades has been awarded £21,000 to support transport, marquee and equipment hire.

Go Swim Loch Lomond– After a successful first year in 2019 funded through the National Programme, Scotland’s largest open water swimming event returns to the shores of Loch Lomond. As well as offering different lengths suitable for all ages and abilities – 250m, 750m, 1500m, 3000m, 5000m and 10000m – the event also offers an adult and junior Swim-Run Aquathlon for those who enjoy a multi-sport challenge. An award of £13,000 has been made towards the event delivery, marketing activity and website development. 

The National Events Programme is a strategic development programme that supports eligible events that take place outside of Edinburgh and Glasgow. Events can bid for a maximum of three rounds of funding to support additional elements or new activity that will help grow the event. 

Applications are currently being sought from events for the next round of the National Programme. The deadline is 5 June 2020 with events taking place from January 2021 onwards eligible to apply.  Guidelines for entry are available on www.eventscotland.org.

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