Visit Islay May 2009

Scotland’s Whisky Coast Invites the World to Come Home for Spirit of the West

Announcement of Event at Inveraray Castle May 2009 




The Whisky Coast, Scotland’s west coast whisky trail, will present “Spirit of the West”, a spectacular weekend event on Saturday 16th & Sunday 17th May 2009 at Inveraray Castle, Argyllshire.  Spirit of the West is part of the year long Homecoming Scotland 2009 celebrations and is a key feature of its “Whisky Month” in May.  The ticketed two day event will be a celebration of Scotland’s west coast whisky and the rich culture and dramatic scenery in which it is created. 


Spirit of the West aims to attract up to 6,000 visitors over the two days, inviting those from the UK and all over the world to take part.  The event is a must for lovers of Scotland’s single malts, food & drink, golf and Scottish ancestry.  It is also perfect for those who simply love and want to experience Scotland’s vibrancy, historic traditions and rugged scenery.  Spirit of the West will cater for little ones too, with fun and educational entertainment making it a perfect family event.


Inspired by the historic community cultures, tales, mysteries and theatrical scenery that lie behind every single malt, the event, which will run from 11am to 6pm each day, will be a showcase for whisky culture.  Whisky tasting, food sampling and cookery demonstrations will run alongside historical trails, fashion shows, music, arts & crafts and golfing activities.  This will bring all that surrounds Whisky in the west coast of Scotland to one location - the stunning grounds of Inveraray Castle. 


On the Saturday evening, a traditional Scottish ceilidh will be held at the castle, giving patrons the chance to Strip the Willow, have a few glasses of gold and keep the celebrations going when the night draws in.  Tickets for the ceilidh will be sold separately.  


Preparations for the event are now underway and ticket, entertainment line ups and activity announcements are expected to be made in early autumn. 


Nicky Murphy, Project Manager for Whisky Coast said: “We are delighted to announce Spirit of the West for the year of Homecoming Scotland 2009.  Preparations for the event have commenced and we are very much looking forward to working with our members, partners, local producers and communities in bringing Spirit of the West to life.  We look forward to sharing our passion for Whisky and celebrating the very fabric of the west coast next May with people from all over the UK and the world.”


Councillor Douglas Philand, Argyll and Bute Council's Arts and Culture spokesperson, said: "Spirit of the West looks set to be a wonderful event. Not only will it showcase the excellent food and produce we have in this area but it will also help promote our unique culture and heritage. I wish the organisers every success."


Paul Bush, Chief Operating Officer for EventScotland said: “Homecoming Scotland 2009 is a country wide programme of events and activities that will celebrate some of Scotland’s contributions to the world: Burns, Whisky, Golf, Great Scottish Minds and Innovations and Scotland’s culture and heritage.  Spirit of the West is a key feature of Homecoming Scotland’s Whisky Month in May 2009 and we look forward to working with the organisers to make it a great success “


Spirit of the West is organised by the team behind The Whisky Coast, a collaboration of 16 whisky distilleries, 20 first class hotels, restaurants that boast some of Scotland’s finest produce and picturesque golf courses.  Inspired by the blend of whisky, rugged coastlines and the dramatic atmosphere of Scotland’s west coast, The Whisky Coast runs from Arran to Skye, covering both mainland locations and islands.


Please visit the Dram Room at for further details and updates on Spirit of the West.




For more information please contact:

Pauline Foster

PR & Events Executive

Pure Shores PR - Oban

Tel:      01631 569 651

Mob:    07791573247 

Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Note to Editors:

·         Spirit of the West has applied for funding from the following bodies:

-          Argyll & Bute Council (Homecoming 2009 Programme)

-          EventScotland (Homecoming Scotland 2009)

-          Highlands & Islands Enterprise

·         Inveraray Castle lies on the beautiful banks of Loch Fyne in the old town of Inveraray in Argyll, 60 miles north of Glasgow with road links north and south. 

·         West Coast Motors are the transport partners for the event. 

·         Press trips to the Whisky Coast are available.  Please contact Pauline Foster on 01631 569 651 if you would like to visit members of the Whisky Coast along this spectacular coastline.


·         The 16 distilleries that form The Whisky Coast include:

Springbank Distillery, Campbeltown
Glengyle Distillery, Campbeltown
Isle of Arran Distillery, Arran
Ardbeg Distillery, Islay
Bowmore Distillery, Islay
Bruichladdich Distillery, Islay
Bunnahabhain Distillery, Islay
Caol Ila Distillery, Islay
Kilchoman Distillery, Islay
Lagavulin Distillery, Islay
Laphroaig Distillery, Islay
Isle of Jura Distillery, Islay
Oban Distillery, Oban
Tobermory Distillery, Mull
Ben Nevis Distillery, Fort William
Talisker Distillery, Skye


The Whisky Coast tour operators are:
Perry Golf, Helensburgh/U.S.
Scotsell, Glasgow
Rabbies, Edinburgh


Associate members of The Whisky Coast are:
·         Westin Turnberry Resort, Turnberry

·         Balinakill Hotel, Campbeltown

·         Loch Fyne Hotel, Inveraray

·         Inveraray Castle

·         Auchrannie Resort, Arran

·         Port Charlotte Hotel, Islay

·         Harbour Inn, Islay

·         Machrie Hotel & Golf, Islay

·         Crinan Hotel, Lochgilphead

·         Isle of Eriska Hotel, Oban

·         Oban Bay Hotel, Oban

·         Hotel Eilean Iarmain, Skye

·         Culloden House Hotel, Inverness

·         Loch Fyne Oyster Bar, Inveraray

·         Crannog Restaurant & Sea Island Cruises, Fort William

·         Three Chimneys, Skye

·         Loch Fyne Whiskies, Inveraray

·         Isle of Mull Hotel, Mull

·         Torosay Castle & Gardens, Mull

·         Golf Kintyre


Whisky Coast is supported by:
·         Highlands and Islands Enterprise

·         VisitScotland

·         North Ayrshire Council

·         Caledonian MacBrayne

·         Loganair



The Whisky Coast & Spirit of the West encourages responsible drinking and supports the Drinkaware Trust which campaigns and educates to reduce alcohol misuse and minimise alcohol related harm.

Homecoming Scotland 2009
-          Homecoming Scotland 2009 is funded by Scottish Government and is managed by EventScotland, the national events agency in partnership with VisitScotland, the country’s national tourism agency.

-          Homecoming Scotland 2009 aims to engage Scots at home as well as motivate people of Scottish descent and those who simply love Scotland, to take part in an inspirational celebration of our culture, heritage and some of the many great contributions Scotland has given to the world.

-          2009 marks the 250th anniversary of the birth of Scotland’s national poet, Robert Burns, with the programme’s design guided by Scotland’s unique position as the home of Burns himself, Golf, Whisky, Great Minds and Innovations and Scotland’s culture and heritage which lives on at home and through Scotland’s global family.

-          The budget for Homecoming is £5 million and the target is for an 8 to 1 return on investment i.e £40million revenue additionality.

-          For more information on Homecoming Scotland please visit