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International digital marketing strategies

A couple of years ago, I was asked to put a talk together on ‘Websites for International Audiences’. The slides on Slideshare (below) have had over 5000 views so I thought it may be time to pick this up again. Since then, I’ve been conducting some research into what engages international audiences online. This is part of my PhD research into online football communities. The post below is an extract of this research and may help people to develop international marketing strategies.

Where do international fans come from?

I’ve been fortunate to have been able to interview many people from countries like Russia, Italy, India, America and of course people closer to home. I’m using Salford City FC as a case for the study and Salford have acquired many international followers and fans from around the world. See below for an example of where some of these followers live, although this has grown since to encompass most parts of the world. Graph showing Salfords international fans for international marketing strategies

In addition, I’ve been using Social Network Analysis and participant observation as part of a Netnography. I wanted to share some of my findings so far about what international fans said when asked.

What do international fans want online?

Here are a selection of comments from the international fans which may help inform international marketing strategies.

“Have players, managers, owners send them video messages via email, twitter, etc. Use first name.”

“Fans appreciate the recognition themselves. Live chats.”

“When/If an international fan is able to attend a match the club can go a little further with some recognition. Most, if not all fans appreciate the recognition.”

“Perhaps recognize them on the club website….a club could have a tab on their club website that shows the picture of the fan and where internationally they are from.”

This also ties in with the idea that relationships matter. Building up positive online social capital is a key factor for engaging audiences, which is part of my research. This answer also demonstrated a social capital related response.

“Maybe a #askPlayer could be interesting!! Than more videos related to normal life in Salford connected with the football team just like the documentary.”

“You can know better players and the community of Salford otherwise everything is limited to the football pitch and sometimes is very interesting knowing all the background.”

The relationship to the club, its players, management and fans, behind the scenes and interacting online was seen as crucial for international fans to increase their engagement and strengthen their connection.  The building up of social media capital and connections with key people and celebrity was also important. The video below is a good example of the power of celebrity. Famous West Ham striker Michail Antonio, Salford’s manager Anthony Johnson and the University of Salford Football team star in the below video for Umbro.

The ability for international fans to be able to engage, interact with fans and celebrities and engage through video and other content is also crucial. I interviewed the CEO of a top digital consultancy specialising in sport and he commented on how important video, engagement and relationships are to the social media algorithms:

 “All systems have some kind of profiling or are working on it.  On that basis, it’s important from the club’s perspective to have all those different types of people engaged because then the more people who are engaged the more it proves to the algorithm that there’s a distribution of net worth, that people are relevant and therefore it raises the profile”. “Unless you’re putting a lot of video and doing media spin behind it, basically your stuff is never going to get seen.  And that’s obviously a problem. Connecting those fans up is also a good thing, because the more connected they are on social the more the system recognises the value and then rewards the club appropriately.”

This highlighted the connection between digital content, the social media algorithms and the connections this creates.

 “The relationships are essential.  They call it social media for a reason.”

Digital international marketing strategies

There is a lot more could be said about digital and international marketing strategies, but I hope this short extract from my research has given you a few ideas for your own strategy. If you have any thoughts or ideas about this, I would love to hear from you – drop me a line or share this post on social media.

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Being sociable on social media – Netnography and social capital Conference talks

Being sociable on social media - netnographyIn the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the fortune to be able to present some of my Netnography PhD work at a number of great conferences and events. I started off with a talk at the Football Collective Conference at FC United’s ground on 30/11/16. The talk was entitled: Building international relationships through social media marketing: A netnography of football communities. It was a great event, packed out and full of academics and journalists interested in football research. I presented my netnography research so far on Salford City FC and got a lot of positive comments and challenging interesting questions at the event and on Twitter. You can see the short video of the event below.

Netnography at an academic conference

The following week, I was speaking at a British Academy of Management / UK AIS event at Salford University. This time, it was a longer talk discussing in more depth about social capital as a theoretical framework to an audience of different academics interested primarily in Information Systems.

Finally, last week, I was invited to do a short Pecha Kucha presentation for our packed out Book Launch for Digital and Social Media Marketing: A Results-Driven Approach. The book is all about digital marketing and also digital business and the event had pizza, cake and talks. I was a contributor of the social media chapter and an editor of other chapters. I was also able to help the wider project in a number of other ways including web development, editing and the production of a new distance digital marketing course. I’ve included my slides below from the book launch on Slideshare.

Since then, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about netnography, social capital and social network analysis. It’s been an incredible few weeks and I have a final conference talk of the year at the 1st International Marketing Conference at MediaCityUK. If there’s anything of interest to you in this article, do feel free to drop me a line or connect on social media.

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Virtual Reality, Second Life and Sansar

Second Life building

A Masters project creating a real life old police station in Salford in Second Life virtual reality

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality have exploded into the news and public consciousness once again. It takes me back five years to my Masters studies in Creative Technology at Salford Uni. At the time, our Professors bought an Island in the virtual world of Second Life (SL).

Our profs were digital artists in their own right, using Second Life for art projects and installations all over the real and virtual world. The island let us create our own projects using SL and use this for our research. I’ve included some screenshots and a video below of some of my projects which had a web and virtual presence.

Second Life was launched originally by Linden Labs in 2003 and has maintained around about 1 million active users. Over the last thirteen years, the Second Life Universe has been through the hype curve several times and has expanded and contracted with primarily user generated content. It has been used for Oculus Rift - picture CC Viking on Flickreverything from Universities, cities, live performances and lectures, sports, holiday resorts, nightclubs and with a whole road and rail network linking different areas. Second Life can be used for free and also has premium membership that gives more flexibility and more ability to build and craft the virtual world.

Virtual reality is again on the rise with Oculus Rift and new applications in business, education and sport. Oculus is now owned by Facebook, which opens up a myriad of opportunities for research and development. Facebook ‘get’ social and social is the thing that can also power the next generation of killer VR applications. SL have experimented with integrating Oculus and other immersiveVirtual reality technologies. Back in July however, they removed support for Oculus, claiming that the platform did not have the horsepower to work at an acceptable level. Making a 13 year old platform ‘play nicely’ with new technologies was proving too difficult.

Second Life building virtual reality

Masters project creating the Old Police station in Salford using 3D Studio Max could nbe used with Sansar

This is where Linden Labs new Project Sansar comes in. Set to launch in early 2017, Sansar is the answer to the problem of making virtual worlds work with technologies like Oculus and HTC Vive. More than this though, it will be more scalable, accepting more users in one place at the same time, which is one of the limitations of SL. The CEO of Linden Lab has also been quoted saying that Project Sansar is like WordPress for VR. Essentially, WordPress allows anyone to easily publish a website or blog and similarly, Linden wanted a tool and platform that will allow anyone to create VR experiences. Existing tools such as 3d Studio Max can also be used to build experiences.

Virtual reality and virtual worlds – is 2017 the year?

It will remain to be seen if Project Sansar will be able to deliver all of this. It seems thatVirtual reality and SL are often bigged up by the media, creating hype that sometimes cannot be lived up to with the hardware and software available. Is 2017 the year where virtual worlds will finally become social on a massive scale, live up to the hype and find their killer app?

I would love to hear what you think of this, contact me or share on social media. Alternatively, you can join us on 23/11/16 at MediaCityUK where amongst other things, we are organising panels of experts to discuss issues around VR and AR. The event is the Creative Entrepreneur at MediaCityUK, register now for free. The videos below show two of my SL projects and also a Sansar overview.

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Social Media, Digital tech and football in the modern age

As part of my research into football and digital culture, through articles,blogs, comments online and interviews, these various phrases arose to describe lesser connected football fans: bandwagon jumpers, plastic fans, armchair supporters, glory hunters, not a real fan, fair weather fans, flaneurs, part-timers, light attenders, casuals, followers and many others that I am sure you have heard before.

The truth of the matter is that football and its support is changing and disruptive digital technologies are playing a significant part in this change. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube in particular are enabling new kinds of fan. They are opening up a world where it is possible to support multiple clubs from wherever and whenever you like, diversifying choices.

Once over, people grew up in a town or city and they adopted whichever sporting club their friends and family supported and that was more or less it for life. Whilst people had a passing interest in other clubs in other parts of the world – following them from out of town was difficult. Whilst the local clubs for local people is still very much alive – people now have a vast choice of international options for who and how to support a football club. Global TV rights of course, still play a major part in this.

Gazza

Paul Gascoigne at Italia 90 via Creative Commons

One example of this is the Italian World cup in 1990. English stars Paul Gascoigne, Paul Ince, David Platt had a great tournament and were signed up by clubs in Italy’s Serie A. It was then possible to watch Serie A and the English stars on TV in England, opening up a whole new world of possibility. Suddenly, people in England were buying and wearing Italian football shirts and following the league from a distance. The social capital of Gascoigne and co. matched up with significant media coverage suddenly meant that kids now had a Juventus or Lazio shirt in their drawer in addition to their collection of shirts and posters for their favourite local English club. The growth of the top European leagues and the movement of international players, continues this trend. Relationships matter.

A quarter of a century on, aside from TV, we have now experienced an explosion in Internet communications. There are approximately 2.6 billion smartphone users in the world with people from around the globe interactive on various social media platforms. What this means in effect is that fans are no longer constrained to their living room or the local bar to watch football from out of town. They are no longer boxed in to whatever rights the TV broadcaster (or the local bar) decides to show. Football clubs are often late adopters of technology and social media was no exception. Facebook execs famously had to convince Christino Ronaldo’s management team that he might get ten million followers on the worlds biggest social network. They replied “We don’t believe you. That’s the size of Portugal”. In Sept 2016, Cristiano has over 116 million likes on Facebook and over 46 million followers on Twitter – combined, that’s more than the population of Russia, the 9th most populous country on the planet.

Even small, non-league football clubs now have a significant following on social media, which often far outweighs the numbers of people that turn up to watch the club live. The explosion of broadband, affordable high quality digital cameras and social media apps means that practically anyone, anywhere can turn any club at any level into a social media outlet. Good examples of this are FC United (FCUM) and Salford City FC (SCFC) who are non-league English clubs plying their trade in the National League North. FC United are the largest fan owned club in the UK. Bucking the trend as late adopters of technology, FCUM have embraced technology and the social media capital that comes with it. They offer free WIFI in their stadium, FCUM TV and have used social media to great effect to attract fan owners and achieve some of the highest match attendances in non-league football. They are embracing new and disruptive social media platforms such as Wakelet.

Salford City FC are another interesting case. A couple of years ago, they were like any other non-league English football club. They had a Twitter account, Facebook, a forum and about 100 people turning up to games on a good day. In the 2014/15 season, when SCFC were in the 8th tier of English football, they were taken over by ex-Manchester United players known famously as “The Class of ‘92′. Since then, they have achieved two promotions in two seasons, a BBC TV documentary series and a stellar FA Cup run also televised on the BBC. The net result of this is that the crowds have risen from 120 people to around 1500, but the social media following has risen many more times than this. Take Twitter as an example. The number of SCFC Twitter followers rose from a respectable 3,500 in the middle of 2014 to over 21,700 in around 3 weeks. This has now grown to 102,000 by November 2016. The graph below shows how followers grew by over 15,000 in two weeks in August to September 2016 with some help from the documentary.

Graph showing Salfords rise of Twitter Followers

Graph showing SCFC’s rise in Twitter followers from August to September 2016

These two clubs are exemplars of what could be achieved, but they aren’t the only upstarts to have the big boys looking over their shoulders. They are more cost effective, agile, open access and disruptive than their massive near neighbours and people like it.

But what does this all mean? Who are these people, where do they come from, what value do they have for the club? These areSalford FC on Twitter the million dollar questions that football clubs are currently trying to figure out. The interesting thing about Salford is that despite their famous owners, the social media activities are run in a similar way to other non-league clubs. That is, volunteer fans combined with a few staff and students from the local University to look after the official social media accounts and the University films the matches for YouTube for people to watch anytime and from anywhere in the world. In fact, outside of the biggest football clubs, social media and digital operations are often run by volunteers or a very small team working on a shoestring.

Normally, for a non-league club, these social media accounts and YouTube videos are fuelled by social capital and watched primarily by local people or people with family or friends connected to the club. In Salford’s case however, because of the connection to the Class of ’92 and Manchester United, suddenly, these videos and the social media accounts are being viewed by tens of thousands of people around the world, which is great exposure for the club.

Where in the world?

The graphic below from Followerwonk demonstrates where in the world people are following Salford from on Twitter in 2015. This was just the start. Since then, they have gained fans in even more parts of the world, including ‘the Salford fans of Russia’.

Graph showing Salfords international fans

What value do these followers have to the club?

There is a big debate about the value of social media. Whilst we have some excellent tools for measuring digital performance and growth – connecting these back to things like conversions and sales is more complex from a quantitative perspective. One thing is for sure – FCUM and Salford are succeeding. Salford are now getting well over ten times the amount of people to physically attend games. You could argue this is because they are being successful on the pitch, or maybe people just wanted to rub shoulders with the Class of 92 at games? Whilst this may have been true initially, one indisputable fact is that the social media team at Salford are being inundated with new fans wanting to interact and asking questions such as: ‘how much are games?’, ‘where is the ground?’, ‘Will Gary Neville be there?, ‘where can I buy a shirt online?’’ as well as fans from all over the world, following and sometimes communicating.

These type of frequently asked questions can drive core fans mad and keep volunteers very busy. Social media is providing a mechanism for people to make the jump from social media follower, to current fan, to core fan. At the minute, this funnel is huge and social media is helping to not only raise awareness, but open lines of communication, which is essential for growth. In the future, as sponsorship deals loom, the fact that Salford may have hundreds of thousands, or even millions of followers, is another plus point for negotiations. Whilst the actual cash value of a follower from India, Italy, USA or Russia may technically be minimal – if you multiply this by millions, it is worth something.

Finally, this returns me to the concept of the weakly connected fan, which was the topic of the article. Fans internationally have been following clubs from abroad for decades, thanks to global TV rights. Sometimes they are strongly connected superfans, sometimes, they have a passive interest and are weakly tied. The fact is though, that if a fan is following a club on social media, it is a connection. This connection can grow as the club grows. Social media means that the individual can interact with the club, other fans or their friends, which can help to develop a stronger connection with the club. Not only that, the more their connections discuss that club, the more the social media algorithms deliver more about it so that it dominates timelines, increasing the connection to the club.

So, as a core supporter, the new or armchair fan may sometimes be puzzling or frowned upon, but in terms of the success of the club – they have never been more important. What do you think? Are you a core fan, current fan or follower of more than one club? Perhaps you are a superfan following a club from afar on social media. I would love to hear from you either way.

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Camper Calling 2016 – Festival Review

Camper Calling - camp Camper Calling Camper Calling - Pimms Camper Calling - VW campers Ragley Hall Camper Calling - VW campers Ragley Hall Camper Calling - African Dancing Camper Calling - Diablo Camper Calling - Shelta Pod Camper Calling - VW campers Ragley Hall Camper Calling - VW camper competition Camper Calling - crowd We’ve always loved our music festivals, ever since we first visited the Essential and V Festivals in 1997, but it wasn’t until Solfest in 2005 when we experienced our first festival with a VW van and our first child Summer who was just a few months old at the time. Since then, we’ve been to lots of different music festivals and VW festivals, so when we learned about the Camper Calling 2016 festival, we were very excited. It looked like just our kind of thing, plenty of Camper Van action, but with some great bands and entertainment to boot. With the addition of the activities outlined on the website, we couldn’t wait!

Camper Calling marked the end of a two week road trip for us, around Somerset and Cornwall and we travelled up the motorway after a visit to London. It was a glorious Friday afternoon and we met up with our friends at Warwick services and then headed the final thirty minutes to the resplendent Ragley Hall.

We’ve been to a few festivals in the grounds of stately homes before and they do make for the best settings with the ancient trees and open fields. The grounds and lake looked magnificent in the sunshine as we made our way up to the VW field. The first thing that was notable aside from the glorious setting is the friendliness of the staff. It can get a bit complex finding where to park and how to get tickets etc. but there were no long queues and confusion that sometimes ensues in these situations. Each member of staff we spoke to was really helpful and friendly and this set the tone for an excellent weekend!

We got our camp set up, had a bite to eat and then headed down to the festival arena, which was no more than a five minute walk away, even from our relatively remote camping spot. Camper Calling looked splendid with its little tents, fairground rides, boating on the lake and the main stage as the jewel in the crown. We took up residence on the Pimms tent deck chairs on the decking, with a nice view of the main stage. The music on the Friday night was brilliant with Dodgy and the Magic Numbers in particular really impressing. We didn’t get to see Mused as went to watch John Fairhurst in the Freshly Squeezed tent. Two of our party had been seen John play at Glastonbury and he did not disappoint. An incredible set of rock guitar and vocals combined with a pint of local ale from the bar was the perfect way to get the weekend started. We had a chat with John afterwards and bought a CD – what a great guy!

A couple of pints and Pimms later, we were at the front of the stage watching the simply brilliant Magic Numbers. It’s been a while since we’ve heard some of these bands, but they sounded amazing and you forget how many great songs they have in their back catalogue. We completed the evening with a fairground ride and back to camp for a barbecue and some whisky tasting to complete a memorable evening.

Saturday morning was bright again and we headed down to see the VW Camper, best of the best competition. The impressive task of rounding up previous winners from the Camper Jam festival looked beautiful against the lake setting on another glorious day. The vans were mixed up in different ages and gathered massive crowds looking in and around the vans, taking photos and chatting to the owners. After that, we tried out some of the activities such as circus tricks like unicycle, Diablo and stilt walking. In the same area, we saw African dancing and puppet shows in and around the Circus tent.

The kids had a play on the impressive adventure playground and we saw where the wicker weaving and storytelling from Hand Made Theatre was happening in that area. We had a look around the stalls and by coincidence, found the Shelta Pod stand where we had recently backed a Kickstarter campaign for this innovative new sun awning/tent that can adapt to the weather and scenery!

We headed back for lunch and not too soon as the heavens opened in a thunderstorm and heavy downpour. This is when the new conversion in our T5 and front swivel seats come into their own as six of us piled comfortably into our van for a glass of wine. When the rain subsided after an hour or so, I headed up to Ragley Hall to see the winners display parked in front of the hall. For VW fans or neutrals, this was a really impressive sight and well worth a soggy uphill walk to the hall.

Camper Calling - UK Foo Fighters Camper Calling - dancing Camper Calling - fairground Camper Calling - story telling Camper Calling - weaving wicker Camper Calling - Food Stalls Camper Calling - CircusAs the weather cheered up, the Saturday night music line-up was just as impressive. We saw the UK Foo Fighters, Top Loader, The Hoosiers and ABC capped a musical extravaganza on the main stage.

The kids played Jenga on the Pimms tent decking and we inflated our Lay Bag among the many chairs and picnic blankets at the main stage. It was great that there was plenty of room to get set up, lots of families and you could wander right to the front of the stage if you wanted. All of the bands sounded really good and there was a great atmosphere all round. We finished the evening with another fairground ride and barbecue and reflected on an enjoyable day still humming ABC’s hit “The Look of Love”.

On Sunday, the sun was shining again, so we got packed up and headed down to see if we could get on to a boat on the lake. We queued up for a while, but then decided our limited time would be best spent at the adventure playground area.

The kids weaved fishes out of wicker, saw a live story and played on the playground for a while, before we headed for lunch. We had an amazing weekend. Our two friends and their tent had joined us and they also loved it and didn’t find the ‘camper van thing’ too overwhelming. It was a really nice fusion of the two. The weather was kind to us and we were blown away by the friendly party atmosphere. The first couple of years of a festival we always think are the best in our experience. We hit very little queues, the loo’s and facilities were really good and we couldn’t have asked for a better weekend.

Camper Calling 2016 verdict

For the first year of the Camper Calling festival, the numbers were impressive and in the sum, they managed to drink all of the cider on site and sell out the majority of festival t-shirts in no time. The demand had surprised quite a few people. The people we talked to and saw their comments on Facebook were also mightily impressed. They asked for more food stands, traders, cider and sunshine for next year!

The intimate size of the festival is one of its strengths and keeping that balance is a challenge for any festival. There were quite a few things that we didn’t get to see and do, in the time we had, which is good news for next year. Amazing work by everyone involved though and we are looking forward to next year already!

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A trip to Speyside – there can be only one

Beautiful walk into Aberlour

A beautiful walk into Aberlour

Speyside is the area around the River Spey in Moray and Badenoch and Strathspey, in the North-East of Scotland. It is an area known for its beautiful scenery, great food and people but is probably best known for its whisky. We first properly discovered single malt at the Whisky Lounge talks and samplings at Beacons Festival and a subsequent trip to Islay last year. Speyside was the next logical destination for us. We found though that Speyside had a whole lot more to offer than just the ‘water of life’. Picturesque villages, stunning walks and some excellent country pubs and hotels, combined with a trip to the Highland Games made this a trip to remember.

We set out for the long drive North up through the Highlands and the vast, beautiful National Park of the Cairngorms to our campsite, Aberlour Gardens, nestled very conveniently in whisky country. The campsite itself is very pleasant and well located – situated within a walled garden and inhabited by an incredible number of campers from Germany and all over Europe and beyond.

A visit to the Glenfarclas distillery

A visit to the Glenfarclas distillery

The campsite is a short walk through some picturesque countryside to get onto the old railway track. This takes you between distilleries and some excellent hotels and pubs. On the first evening, we had a wander down to the Mash Tun on the banks of the Spey in Aberlour. This is a small pub but with a great choice of whisky. It has an incredible range of the local Glenfarclas and apparently some whisky themed accommodation. It was a good start to our trip as we sampled one of our favourite local drams, the Glenfarclas 15 year and some local ales.

The following day, we headed out for a walk around to get our bearings and discovered the delights of the Highlander Inn. We loved this place as it had a relaxed atmosphere and a good place to sit outside before the midges descended in the evening. The pub is managed by a gentleman from Japan and aside from a fine collection of local whisky, there are also some excellent Japanese single malts. Japanese whisky continues to grow in popularity and standing, giving even the historic distilleries of Scotland a run for their money. We had a wander down the rail track and discovered a real gem. The lovely Copper Dog bar at the beautiful Hotel Craigellachie was having some renovations done to it, but the very friendly staff invited us upstairs to their incredible whisky room, showcasing some of their 750 bottle collection.

Hotel Craigellachie whisky

750 bottles of whisky at the impressive Hotel Craigellachie

The oak panel walls are lined from floor to ceiling with this amazing collection of whisky of all kind of ages and types. It was quite fantastic to see this opulent and quirky sight. It also had a splendid balcony looking out over the tree-lined hills. We were in our element. A little further out, the Fiddichside Inn is also well worth a mention – this little pub was first taken over by the Brandie family in 1919 and was run by daughter Dorothy and her husband Joseph from 1964. Dorothy sadly passed away in 2011 aged 89, but Joseph continues to run the pub. There is lots of whisky to try, have a chat with Joseph and sit out in the beautiful pub garden next to the river – just watch out for the evening midges!

Dufftown whisky walk tour

Dufftown whisky walk tour

Having suitably scoped out the local establishments, we went in search of some more whisky history and local knowledge. We booked Dufftown Taxis to take us over to Dufftown for a tour. These guys were great and are bolstered by using T5’s to ferry visitors around this beautiful region. We got dropped off at the town hall clock in the centre of Dufftown just in time for the start of the whisky walk. This three mile trek takes in nine local distilleries and around fifteen samples of whisky from the local area.

Highland cows on the whisky walk

Highland cows on the whisky walk

It was a real DIY tour by local lady Michelle who really knew her stuff. The tour began in her garage to collect a lanyard, glass and high-vis jacket and we proceeded to walk around the various distilleries of the likes of Glenfiddich and Mortlach but mainly the outsides and taking in some stunning scenery, history and banter along the way. We tasted, saw and heard all about the how whisky is so important to the areas past and present. At the end of our trip, our T5 taxi dutifully collected our party and delivered us back to the campsite. We also took their T5 to visit the family run Glenfarclas distillery, which had a great tour and tasting at the end of it.

Dufftown Highland Games

Dufftown Highland Games

On the final day, we did the four mile hike over the hill for the Dufftown Highland Games. One of our party had decided to enter the fell run, so we waited dutifully, watching the Scottish dancing, piping, hammer throwing and tug of war and watching the runners come in one by one. Of course there was whisky to be sampled in the sunshine. Our friend entered the arena to rapturous applause to complete the race, somewhat battered and bruised from a very difficult fell run over several peaks and fourteen miles. He was just in time for a whisky and then a walk into Dufftown where the pipers were marching up and down the streets. This was an incredible scene and we caught up again with a honeymoon couple who had come all the way from Texas and got their chance to be part of the massive procession of pipers.

Dufftown pipers march down the street

Dufftown pipers march down the street after the games

This was a great conclusion to a very memorable trip. It is easy to see why so many people from abroad visit this area – there is so much to see and do whether you love the whisky or not. For those that love the water of life though, there is only one Speyside. It’s a good drive North, but everyone agreed, well worth it. I’m sure we’ll be back.