As someone who works in engagement it’s not uncommon for me to get media requests to take part in television and radio interviews. However, a couple of weeks ago I think I got the most unusual request yet when Fraser, our PR, Marketing and Comms Officer, called me to ask if I wanted to do a radio interview about the re-naming of Loch Tay, in honour of Taylor Swift!

 

As PKCT’s Discovery, Learning and Engagement Officer I am very used to making sure we engage with lots of different audiences, and adapting our content to make sure it’s appropriate and interesting for the audience I’m working with. I was intrigued to see how we could do that in this case! Fraser explained a bit more about how this was a fun idea being run on Heart Radio, and that they were looking for people from local organisations to talk about Loch Tay, the “re-naming” and the excitement around Taylor Swift’s arrival in Scotland. It would of course also be a chance to talk about PKCT and our projects around the area - so at that point, I thought “why not?!”

 

I was working for the day at Scone Palace fair when our first chance to engage came along – Heart Radio were looking for someone to do a shoutout on their Breakfast show, about the re-naming idea. I worked with Fraser and the Producer to take the call while I was at the event (I went to a nice quiet spot behind the tents) and I did the shout out over the phone. This was really fun, and it was great to be able to promote PKCT’s ambition to help people access the countryside and to join in with the fun of the re-naming ceremony idea.

 

Catherine talks to Danni Menzies live on Heart Scotland from the banks of Loch Tay (Tay)

After recording the shoutout, I planned to travel up to the ceremony the following week. I was going along to join in and offer our support as PKCT. A few days before, Fraser let me know that the show was keen for us to do a live interview during the event. This made total sense for us, as I was going anyway, so we immediately said yes!

 

Now, I’m not going to lie, the start time for this one was tough – arrival at 07:20 for a 07:40 live interview; I normally haven’t even finished my morning cuppa by then! It wasn’t so bad once I was up and out the door though, and I later found out that some people had been up since 4am, so I considered myself lucky!

 

 I arrived at The Loch Tay Highland Lodges site at about 07:15 and was greeting by a friendly and enthusiastic team of people, already in full swing and keen to brief me on my interview, which was next. I was introduced to Danni, the presenter who was live from the loch, and then we waited until she heard the cue from the presenters in the studio to start our interview.

 

The questions were really fun, and allowed me to talk about the work that we do in general, as well as focus in on our brilliant new long distance walking and cycling route, the River Tay Way. I did of course also get asked about Taylor Swift, whose music whose music I first heard at school – which made me feel both old and nostalgic at the same time!

 

Once my interview was done, I made my way to The Boathouse, where the team at Loch Tay Highland Lodges were very kindly providing hot drinks and bacon rolls! I got chatting to some really friendly people from the community and local businesses, and could hear the show playing in the background.

The Loch Tay Tay sign is revealed!

After about an hour, we got the call for everyone to head outside for the unveiling of the new sign! We all headed out – community members, the team from the Loch Tay Highland Lodges, local school children, and even a bagpiper! There was a really nice community spirit, and everyone enjoyed the countdown to the big reveal.

 

Once the reveal had happened live on air, there was time to take some group photos with the sign. It was lovely to be able to see so many people coming together and engaging with nature in such a different, and light-hearted way, with the beautiful Loch Tay as a backdrop to both us and the photo,.

 

The idea to “re-name” Loch Tay, has been met with some confusion and controversy. I can understand this, but I also think when you realise that the idea comes from a place of fun, and as a celebration of the joy and excitement for both a global superstar, and an iconic part of Scotland’s landscape, you can start to understand it a little more.

 

This event was the perfect example of how nature is for all of us - for those who already love outdoor activities, to those who want a picturesque view or yet another way to feel close to their favourite icon. PKCT wants to help everyone to access the countryside – that includes the Swifties, and if celebrating Loch Tay as “Loch Tay Tay” helps more people to enjoy the outdoors, then of course we’re just going to “shake it off”, and join in the fun!