The castle trail with a difference

Simon and Nev are two Scottish guys.

Simon lives in Inverness, one of Scotland's top spots for travellers and backpackers.

Nev lives in Aberdeen. No travellers ever go there.

Their mission is to persuade travellers in Inverness to go and experience Aberdeen - with one surefire way to tempt them.

Free accommodation with Nev. In a castle.

This is their story...

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Friday, June 06, 2003
Hi there, Simon again, here in Inverness. Well, off to Aberdeen this evening for the party - should be quite, quite mad, I'm really looking forward to it. It is going to be big - live music (bands and DJs), people coming from abroad, and of course me in the middle of it.

I spoke to Niall the other evening to check out details about the party. He apologises to you all for not giving an update this week in advance - as you can imagine organising a party for 300 people takes a wee bit of time, especially on top of all the working and drinking he needs to do, so he hasn't had a chance to get anywhere near the computer. Next week maybe, after the dust settles.

Oh yes, and CT6 and CT7 never turned up. They were meant to phone Niall on their way over to Skye, so they could spend last Sunday night before flying to Dublin the next morning. However they did not. Niall reckons it must be because they didn't fancy too much of an evening before catching their early plane. Ah well, and we had such high hopes...

I hope we get someone to complete the trail soon, otherwise we will both feel like total failures. I'm not yet resorting to leafletting youth hostels, but it is at the back of my mind...

Monday, June 02, 2003
It's all quiet for ages, and then everything happens at once! Not only have I found two more folk here in Inverness, but I am also looking forward to what should be a hippopotamic (yes it is a word!) party at the castle this coming weekend.

While out on Friday night I bumped into a couple of thoroughly decent American blokes, spending 3 or so weeks packing as much of Europe as possible into the shortest possible time. I'm often rather against whistle-stop tours as you often don't even have enough time to stop a whistle, let alone take in the cultural delights of an entire continent. However, needs must when you are time-pressed students. And it has to be said, these two guys, Gaby and Jason, were doing an admirable job of squeezing as much of Scotland as they could into just a few days. At least I think it was Jason. Jason, if you're reading this and you're not Jason, I apologise for Jasonising you.

Their trip even included an overnight to Aberdeen, and given that they had no planned accommodation, I popped the question. Now hang on, you might say, surely if they are already going to Aberdeen that defeats the purpose of the challenge? Well, true, this project is about getting folk to go to Aberdeen who would not otherwise go, by tempting them with the prospect of staying in a castle. So in that sense, I was flogging a dead horse. But then if Gaby and Possibly-Jason go away with a more unique and exciting perspective of the Granite City, then they are more likely to send more of their countryfolk there. It's all about advertising, you see...

They were dead up for the trip, and so realising that it was 11pm and Niall would have just finished work, and given that they were only an overnight trip to Skye away from going to Aberdeen, I called Niall up and put him on to them. The deal was arranged, and the trail began. And indeed it has probably already finished, given that it was last night (Sunday night) that they would have been in Aberdeen. So Gaby and Might-have-been-called-jason-but-I-am-not-100%-sure, CTs 6 and 7, should become the first people to complete the trail! I wait for confirmation from Niall with baited breath!

I also wait with baited breath to see if they made it to their 8am plane to Dublin this morning. I think Niall had a couple of drinks in mind for last night...

Hopefully Niall can tell us more about the party at the castle this coming weekend. All I know is that it is about celebrating the end of university exams and the start of the summer, and it involves two nights of bedlam, over 200 people, and camping on the north beach. Should be quite an event...