Tourists embracing the latest hi-tech to explore the Highlands - Iain MacNeill

The Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) has previously welcomed the Go Hi app from HITRANS as a 21st-century means of helping business and leisure travellers to navigate their way around the Highlands.

Visitors can benefit from the latest hi-tech help in ensuring that they do not overlook special locations and attractions like the Glenfinnan Viaduct. (Photo: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images)
Visitors can benefit from the latest hi-tech help in ensuring that they do not overlook special locations and attractions like the Glenfinnan Viaduct. (Photo: Andy Buchanan/Getty Images)

Now we are pleased to see further recognition that with such a variety of places to explore, a proud culture to embrace and so many ways to get around, visitors can benefit from the latest hi-tech help in ensuring that they do not overlook its most special and deserving locations.

A recently-relaunched digital tourism experience – the Highland Discovery family of apps developed by Scottish firm Whereverly - empowers leisure travellers with the tools they need not only to improve the planning of their trip but also to enhance their experience while they are out and about.

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Funded by Transport Scotland and supported by ScotRail with an accompanying website and free to use, its latest addition encourages A9 and Highland Main Line visitors to venture off the beaten track with a variety of walking and cycling routes, a wealth of local music and stories and an extensive map featuring all the hidden gems just awaiting discovery.

With coverage ranging from Stirling to the North Coast 500, the family features routes for all modes of transport, showcasing 16 driving routes, 12 cycling routes and over 30 walking routes, encouraging visitors to discover the wonders of places such as Dunkeld, Pitlochry, Blair Atholl and, of course, the Cairngorms National Park. For those seeking some independence in their planning, it provides the opportunity to create their own bespoke tour – perfect for those of us who have been many a time before but wish to discover somewhere new.

By adding rail to road, the Whereverly team working with ScotRail and the Highland Main Line Community Rail Partnership have shone the spotlight on the historic railway between Perth and Inverness and reimagined what it means to travel on it, providing historical information about the stations, tales along the Line and even Authentic Reality models.

Beyond helping travellers overcome the challenge of where to travel, an in-app audio feature allows users to enjoy Highland musical and oral storytelling traditions. Professional Scottish storytellers such as Jess Smith, David Campbell and Ruth Kilpatrick tell their tales, and there are performances from musicians such as Hamish Napier and Pitlochry Primary School Choir. Visitors can choose from over 150 tracks to enjoy during their travels and garner a true appreciation of the local culture. All content can be downloaded, perfect if you don’t have a data package or are in areas where mobile data coverage is limited

The accompanying map contains everything a traveller could need, with over 500 points of interest ranging from top attractions to more practical services like electric vehicle charging-points. A ‘Nearby’ point of interest feature, the ability to unlock ‘badges’ in different locations and a digital travel log option are also available. With invaluable input from organisations such as The Highland Main Line Community Railway Partnership, Sustrans, Cairngorms National Park, Perth Ramblers and ScotRail, the Highland Discovery has harnessed the power of technology to reimagine what it means to travel in the Highlands.

Scotland is going to need new tools of its tourist trade in order to persuade visitors won by the circumstances of pandemic to return and make areas like the Highlands their destination of choice. The Highland Discovery and its sister apps will provide them with the impetus to return year on year in the knowledge that there are always new places to discover.

Iain MacNeil, Managing Director, Whereverley

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