Seabirds-and-Seals - The Original Noss Boat Tours

Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards Finalists – Two Categories 17.07.2023

We are absolutely delighted and excited to share that we have been shortlisted in this years Highlands and Islands Thistle Awards.  Not just in one, but in two categories along with other businesses as detailed below.  Receiving this fantastic news comes on the back of us receiving our Visit Scotland 5-Star distinction, an award we have worked very hard to achieve following recommendations on our last visit when awarded 4-Stars.  This year so far we have also been awarded ‘TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice 2023′ as well as ‘Green Tourism Silver’.  Fantastic year so far for accolades and praised by our local Visit Scotland representative Steve Mathieson who quoted the following during an interview with BBC Radio Shetland.

“We know that we have absolutely top class attractions, top class trips and tours, this is a great accolade for Seabirds-and-Seals who have also just received 5-Star grading from Visit Scotland, which is the the top grading any business can achieve so well done to them.  I know Seabirds-and-Seals are nominated in two categories which is wonderful.  We really are amongst there with the very best of businesses in the Highlands and Islands and Scotland. We truly are in good health in terms of the quality of the businesses we have in the tourism sector in Shetland”.


Drax – Cruachan The Hollow Mountain
Seabirds-and-Seals – The Original Noss Boat Tours
The Highlanders Museum


Seabirds-and-Seals – The Original Noss Boat Tours

Sponsored once again by Royal Bank of Scotland, the Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards will culminate in a fabulous gala dinner and ceremony at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel, Inverness on Friday, November 10.  We wish all other finalists the very best of luck and look forward to joining you at the MacDonald Drumossie Hotel in November.  

The event will host industry leaders, sponsors, inspiring speakers, entertainment, and most importantly, all of those shortlisted for an award for a spectacular evening of celebration, recognition and pride.

Drumossie general manager, Kenny McMillan says that he is looking forward to welcoming shortlistees, their colleagues and sponsors to the awards gala: “The Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards are the highlight of the tourism and hospitality season in the region.

“It gives all of us who work in the industry the opportunity to celebrate the talent, dedication and often the innovation of the people who not only make holidays to our beautiful part of Scotland unforgettable but contribute to a vital sector in the Highland economy providing rewarding and exciting career opportunities.”

HITA vice chair and lead judge for 2023, Lorna Maclennan, added: “This year has seen another fantastic number of entries from businesses and individuals right across the Highlands, islands and Moray. The range and calibre of submissions has been impressive and made our work as judges all the harder in deciding our shortlist!

“A big thank you goes to all of our judges for giving up their time away from their own businesses to read through all the entries and choose this year’s shortlistees. We also thank everyone who took the time and effort to submit their applications. The awards will be a wonderful evening and we look forward to celebrating with you on the night.”

As well as celebrating local businesses, the awards are also an excellent way for the business community to show its support through sponsorship.

Ryan Fraser, director of commercial banking from awards sponsor, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “At Royal Bank of Scotland we want to champion potential, helping people, families and businesses to thrive. The Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards celebrate those organisations, individuals and businesses who share similar values as well as demonstrating excellence and innovation in wanting to help the industry succeed and prepare for a more sustainable future.”

The 2023 awards welcomed entries from businesses and individuals in all regions of the Highlands and Islands; from Argyll in the west, to Moray in the east, and Orkney and Shetland in the north.