Can you be the voice of the Hebrides? Western Isles residents asked to contribute to new audio guide

Could your dulcet tones help with this new audio guide.
Could your dulcet tones help with this new audio guide.

Avid storytellers are being sought to star in a new self-guided audio tour to describe places of exceptional beauty across the islands of North and South Uist in the Outer Hebrides.

The audio tour has been created to encourage more people to enjoy the islands of Uist and discover just why they are a must-see destination when visiting the Western Isles.

Outer Hebrides Tourism and CalMac Ferries, who are creating the audio tour, are seeking a range of contributors to bring the islands to life, and to talk up some of the most iconic beauty spots, such as the 20-mile white sandy beach of Kildonan that would rival the Caribbean and Eriskay football pitch, recognised by FIFA as one of eight unique places to play football in the world.

Volunteers will, ideally, have a strong connection with Uist, and either live on or come from the islands, and be able to bring the locations to life through their knowledge and storytelling.

Contributors are being asked to send their descriptions – of roughly one minute per location – via WhatsApp to a dedicated phone line by October 31st.

Robert McKinnon, Chief Executive of Outer Hebrides Tourism said: “The popularity of the Outer Hebrides has grown considerably in recent years, with 218,000 people now visiting annually from throughout the world.

“This audio tour will be a great way for visitors to truly immerse themselves in the local culture, experience the Gaelic language, hear about the rich history filled with stories of hardship and challenges, and enjoy a magical and unforgettable travel experience first-hand.

“We would encourage anyone with a passion for Uist and the Outer Hebrides, or indeed anyone who has some stories, interesting facts or tales to tell, to get in touch with us to be considered for inclusion in this unique audio tour.”

The creation of the audio tour follows Outer Hebrides Tourism and CalMac Ferries recent launch of the UK’s first ‘Insta-friendly’ maps to help tourists find the best shots of their holidays for their social feeds.

The adventure scale maps, designed in all-weather waterproof fabric, have been produced to showcase the very best the islands have to offer, and feature the standard layout and trusted grid reference points, but also include a new Insta-friendly symbol to sit alongside the traditional ‘place of worship’ and ‘museum’ symbols found on Ordnance Survey maps.

The new audio guide will feature the same top 20 ‘Insta-worthy’ beauty spots as the maps, so visitors will be able to explore the islands and hear about the history and interesting facts for themselves once they are there.

Andrew Macnair, Head of Marketing at CalMac Ferries, added: “Uist is a hidden gem, with powder-white beaches, untouched natural landscapes and vibrant crofting communities steeped in traditional Gaelic culture, often overlooked as tourists flock to the likes of Harris and Lewis.

“Who better to tell the stories from the islands than those who live and breathe it every day?

“We are thrilled to launch this audio guide of Uist and look forward to listening to the stories people share.”

When finalised, the self-guided audio tours, created by Geotourist, will be available to download for free on both Android and Apple OS.

Using GPS data from a smartphone, the description will automatically start playing the recordings when the individual arrives at the location.

The audio tour can be downloaded beforehand, so recordings can be played in areas with little to no mobile reception.

People can visit Outer Hebrides Tourism’s Twitter (@OuterHebs) or Facebook (@theouterhebrides) for further information about how to submit a description and take part in the audio tour.

If successful, volunteers will be accredited within the audio tour.