Following a successful start to its Highland and Islands tour last in Tain, Easter Ross, the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal will be open for visits on the Argyll island of Islay until 4 October 2022 at Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle (Islay Gaelic Centre).
The visit to Islay is part of the Centre’s 20 year celebrations and Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle will be hosting several events and displays as well as showcasing two immersive films from the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project during the week.
Through the portal, visitors will be taken on a journey across land, sea and air to places across the Highlands and Islands, off the beaten track, before seamlessly relaxing into a calmer experience of hidden gems in snowstorms.
Visitors to Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle will also be able to try the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project virtual reality (VR) headsets, sponsored by Stagecoach as part of an initiative reaching rural areas across the Highlands and Islands.
Catherine Johnston, Chairperson of the Board of Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle, said:
“We are thrilled to have the addition of the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands immersive portal for our 20 year celebrations.
“It adds an extra level of excitement to the programme, especially for the local schools as it is a new experience for most pupils.”
Sophie Gartshore, project manager for the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands said:
“Taking the immersive portal to Islay in support of the Ionad Chaluim Chille Ìle community engagement event is fantastic.
“The aim of the project is to encourage responsible tourism year round and to engage in cultural events.”
The ‘on the road’ tour for the VR headsets will see Stagecoach bringing them to schools in Wester Ross, Ross-shire, Argyll and the Isles, Caithness, Badenoch and Strathspey throughout the autumn this year.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project is part of the Inverness Castle project which is supported by the Inverness and Highland City Region Deal, a joint initiative supported by up to £315m investment from the UK and Scottish governments, The Highland Council, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and University of the Highlands and Islands, aimed at stimulating sustainable regional economic growth.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Reflecting the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands theme, it will encourage people to visit all parts of the Highlands and Islands in a sustainable way.