Formula One presenter, Lee McKenzie, has taken pole position as the official ambassador for new tourism campaign for Ayrshire, Firth of Clyde and Clyde Islands.
Gaelic for five, The Coig is a series of five tourist routes covering Ayrshire, Arran, Bute and Cumbrae, offering people an exciting new way to explore the unique coast and countryside on their doorstep.
Lee Mckenzie with SimpsInns owner, Malcolm Simpson, at the Waterside Hotel
Each route has been specially designed to showcase the outstanding natural beauty, history and heritage and food and drink, as well the wide range of outdoor and family activities on offer across the region. Visitors can follow a choice of routes as part of a day trip from Glasgow or Edinburgh, or as a longer staycation experience.
Born and bred in Alloway near Ayr, Lee McKenzie is one of the most recognised faces on the nation’s TV screens, having presented Formula One over the last decade. Lee is also now the face of Channel 4’s rugby and Paralympic coverage. As well as Channel 4, she also presents for BBC at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games and Wimbledon.She holds the distinction for being the youngest person in the UK to present the 6 o’clock news covering some of the UK’s biggest current affairs from the Lockerbie Trial to the opening of the Scottish Parliament.
Lee has now returned home to Ayrshire to help champion the best The Coig region has to offer. Having grown up and started her career in the region, Lee is passionate about the countryside, rural life and communities. She also comes from an equestrian background and has a deep knowledge and affection for horses.
As part of her new role with The Coig, Lee hopes to reinvigorate people’s interest in the region as a top choice for outdoor adventure, healthy activity and fun, family days out.
Commenting on her support for The Coig campaign, Lee said: “I was born and raised in this area and it holds so many happy memories for me, so I’m really proud to help people get out and active across the region this autumn, winter, and beyond.
“One of my favourite walks is across the Brig o’ Doon. The banks of the river are so beautiful whatever the season. In the summer the colour of the flowers is so vibrant and in the winter, on a frosty winter’s day, it really is gorgeous. My go-to when it comes to relaxation and unwinding after getting off a plane or live TV is the beach. It’s nature at its best and no matter where I’ve been in the world, it always feels great to be home”.
The regional tourism leadership group for The Coig is made up of key tourism industry representatives
from both the public and private sector and members of national tourism organisations. The group
has now set out its plans for the region’s new tourism initiative and how to best maximise
this new development to add value to local businesses, visitors and rural communities.
Spokesperson for The Coig, Linda Johnston (Co-Founder & Managing Director, Auchrannie Resort), said: “We’re really lucky to have Lee on board to help drive forward this exciting new campaign for Ayrshire, Firth of Clyde and Clyde Islands. Lee’s personal affinity with the region, local knowledge and special sense of adventure also makes her a perfect ambassador for The Coig.
“As we enter the autumn and winter months, we’re now gearing up to showcase the best winter walks, weekend drives and cycling trails, and wonderful food and drink available across each of our five routes. Authentic Scottish hospitality and a warm welcome awaits everyone to the region and we can’t wait get started.”
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, said: “The Coig is another exciting route initiative, which brings with it a wealth of opportunities not just for the southwest coast tourism industry but indeed all the communities across Ayrshire, Firth of Clyde and the Clyde Islands.
“It’s a great example of collaboration by industry local authority and Scottish Government and how by working together all stakeholders can benefit, least not forgetting those who visit the area both from within and out with Scotland and can enjoy enriched experiences in the many places that the COIG passes through.”
Gordon Smith, VisitScotland Regional Director, added: “With five unique routes across Ayrshire, the Firth of Clyde and the Clyde Islands, The Coig is a brilliant new initiative which will showcase the beautiful scenery, fascinating history and outstanding food and drink offering in the area, as well as the wide range of outdoor and family activities available. I’m delighted that Lee McKenzie has got on board to help promote this exciting new visitor proposition.
“The timing of this new initiative is particularly apt as we prepare to celebrate the Year of Coasts and Waters 2020. This year-long programme of events and activities will shine a spotlight on these vital elements of our landscape.”
Councillor Alex Gallagher, Cabinet Member for Economy at North Ayrshire Council, said: “The Coig is a fantastic new tourism initiative which will support our local businesses and communities by helping to boost visitor numbers into our towns and villages.It’s an exciting time as we near the launch and this campaign will put Ayrshire on the map both nationally and internationally, showcasing the beauty and diversity of our countryside, coast and islands.”