Visitors to next week’s Black Isle Show can enjoy a virtual reality tour of far-flung landscapes from right across the Highlands and Islands.
Utilising immersive 360-degree films inside a specially created immersive portal, the experience is thanks to the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project.
Inside the portal – the only one of its kind in the Highlands and Islands – people will be taken on a journey across land, sea and air to places well off the beaten track.
Project Director Fiona Hampton said: “This is our third outing for the immersive pod and it has received a huge amount of praise from eventgoers at both the Royal Highland Show and Inverness Highland Games.
“Many visitors have said the films, which showcase the natural and cultural heritage of the area, have even inspired them to change their plans for their next holidays.
“The Black Isle Show provides a great platform to showcase the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project and we can’t wait to see everyone there.”
The films created for the experience were inspired by stories submitted to the project by communities around the region and invite the viewer to uncover the Spirit of the Highlands and Islands on an immersive journey told by the people who live, work and travel here.
The portal is 5m x 5m and fully immerses people into the 360-degree films. There will be further opportunities for people to experience the pod when it goes on tour around the Highlands and Islands.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands project aims to encourage visitors to explore and experience the more remote and rural parts of the Highlands and Islands, as well as inspiring them to attend and support festivals and events, workshops, visitor attractions and outdoor locations.
By utilising specially shot 360-degree videos, the project aims to enhance the Highlands and Islands’ reputation as a place of outstanding natural and cultural beauty with a landscape and biodiversity to engage with and enjoy responsibly, to the domestic and international market.
VisitScotland’s Regional Leadership Director Chris Taylor said: “I am sure the VR pod will be a popular addition to the Black Isle Show and it is great to hear it has received such positive feedback from visitors at other recent events in the Highlands. The use of this virtual and augmented reality is a fantastic opportunity to help bring that authentic Highland experience to life for visitors and encourage them to visit the region for themselves.
“The project’s aim is to enhance the region’s reputation for outstanding natural and cultural beauty, to grow capacity by encouraging seasonal and geographical spread and inspire deeper engagement with our distinctive heritage and authentic connections with our rural communities.
“The impact of tourism spreads far beyond the industry itself – it benefits our economy, our community and our wellbeing.”
The Black Isle Show, the largest agricultural show in the north, will take place on the Mannsfield Showground, Muir of Ord with a preview show being held on Wednesday, August 3 from 4pm and Show Day on Thursday, August 4.
The Spirit of the Highlands and Islands is supported by a grant from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund (NCHF) led by NatureScot and part-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.
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.