Year of Coasts and Waters 2020: what do we know so far?

11 April 2019
YCW2020-4-43210.jpg Year of Coasts and Waters 2020
Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 has officially been launched. This round-up report and video brings together everything we know so far about this year of celebrations.

Scotland's Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 has officially been launched. This round-up report and video brings together everything we know so far about this year of celebrations.

In 2020, Scotland will be celebrating its coasts and waters with a year-long programme of events, festivals and activities. From water-inspired myths and legends to sweeping coastlines and unspoiled beaches where history was made, this year of celebrations promises to offer activities for all ages.

Six headline events

A total of six initial events – designed to ‘wet the appetite’ for what’s ahead have been announced today with many more to be revealed later in the year. The six events supported by the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020 Round One Events Fund include:

  • Ferry Tales from the National Theatre of Scotland - a performance and community project, with the support of Caledonian MacBrayne and their ferries, celebrating the waters surrounding Scotland’s waters and the journeys over them made by thousands of residents and visitors
  • Edinburgh International Film Festival presents Scotland’s Shores - a programme celebrating the country’s coasts and waterways through events, classic film screenings and an outdoor coastal experience
  • Clydebuilt Festival 2020 will be the event’s fourth year, the event will 'significantly expand' its existing offering across the festival bringing art, music, crafts, boats, dancing, sea shanties and more to the Riverside Plaza. Castle to Crane - a major component of the festival will also be back bigger than ever in 2020 with opportunities for more participants to get involved
  • The Fife Regatta 2020 – last seen in its home waters off Fairlie in 2013, the regatta will start and finish in Largs, taking in various locations around the Clyde including Holy Loch Marina, Dunoon, Rothesay, Isle of Bute and Tighnabruaich, Argyll for locals and visitors to enjoy
  • River of Light - Scotland’s Boat Show and Kip Marina will make a splash in 2020 with a brand-new event that will see Scotland’s biggest boat show’s programme extended into the evening on the 10 October
  • RSPB Scotland’s DolphinFest 2020 - DolphinFest 2020 will help Aberdeen become recognised as a must-visit destination for dolphin watching and will provide pop-up activities across the city that will celebrate Aberdeen’s dolphins; from interactive games, to conservation talks and citizen science projects

Outdoor events & activities

The Hebridean Whale Trail, the first of its kind in the UK, set to launch later this year; new road trip routes taking in Scotland’s winding coastlines and characterful communities including The Coig and the South West Coastal 300, and the TS Queen Mary on the River Clyde which is getting set to be one of the UK’s largest interactive maritime and social history exhibits.

VisitEast Lothian who will be promoting the Go East Lothian Trail – a bikepacking route running from North Berwick to Dunbar; Glenapp Castle who will be offering their Sea Safari on the Glenapp Castle boat and recent National Scottish Thistle Award 18/19 Winners Sweeney’s Cruise Co. and Cruise Loch NessForth. Visit Inverness Loch Ness will also be showcasing their new long-distance trail around Loch Ness - set to become the walkers’ equivalent of the NC500.

New attractions

Further investment aligned with the year includes a new state of the art visitor centre welcoming cruise ship passengers from across the world in Greenock, which will include a purpose-built gallery celebrating the work of Inverclyde resident artist George Wyllie (1921-2012) and a new restaurant with panoramic views across the Clyde.

A state-of-the-art Johnnie Walker visitor attraction is also set to be the centrepiece of an investment programme from Diageo designed to further boost Scotland’s whisky tourism sector. Diageo distilleries spanning Scotland’s coastlines will also receive transformational investment to create immersive brand experiences for millions of Scotch fans around the world.

The Scottish Seabird Centre in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, one of the UK’s leading marine education and conservation charities has also reopened the doors of its 5-star visitor attraction following completion of the first stage of their refurbishment. They also plan to transform their existing Discovery Centre with new exhibits and interactive displays - opening is set to take place in 2020.


QUICK LINK: Plan your perfect spring and summer in Scotland with our Celebrate Scotland guide


VisitScotland website; #YCW2020

(Report and video courtesy of VisitScotland, image copyright Stewart Attwood)