The council have been praised for its Antonine Wall project after winning at a prestigious tourism awards night. 

West Dunbartonshire Council took home the Celebrating Thriving Communities for its Rediscovering the Antonine Wall initiative at the Scottish Thistle Awards national final which took place at the Glasgow Hilton on Friday, December 1. 

The Celebrating Thriving Communities award celebrates partnerships, collaborations and teamwork where people come together to protect and enhance the environment whilst growing social, cultural and economic wealth.  

The Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project was developed to raise awareness of and increase engagement with the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site.

Project partners – Historic Environment Scotland and the five local authorities in which the wall passes through - worked with communities to secure Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, and LEADER funding to deliver an extensive and varied capital works, education and community engagement programme.  

On receiving the award, Stephen Balfour, Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project Manager said: “The Rediscovering the Antonine Wall project was developed to raise awareness of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site.

"New assets such as Roman-inspired play parks, distance stones, murals and a touring exhibition have resulted in an enhanced visitor experience and contributed to local placemaking for communities living alongside the wall.” 

Judges described the breadth of the collaboration involved in this project as ‘impressive and described the project as “demonstrating how tourism can be a force for good and impact positively in the community.” 

There was also a win for nearby Sea Life Loch Lomond in the inaugural Tourism & Hospitality Employer of the Year award.

The Scottish Thistle Awards are delivered by VisitScotland with support from headline sponsor Johnstons of Elgin.

The awards, which also include a media partnership with News Scotland, celebrate the very best of tourism in Scotland and the excellence, collaboration and innovation that is helping to support the responsible growth of the industry.

Around 400 guests attended the special event that marks the culmination of the Scottish Thistle Awards programme for 2023. The evening was hosted by TV presenter Jennifer Reoch and broadcaster Gary Innes with entertainment by Cammy Barnes.

VisitScotland regional director Lynne Cooper said: “Congratulations to  the Rediscovering the Antonine Wall Project and the on receiving a national award at this year’s Scottish Thistle Awards.

“It is a fantastic achievement to earn recognition as one of the best in the country, shining a spotlight on the region and the positive impacts our tourism and events industry brings to Scotland.”