The Gathering 2023
The SRITC Gathering 2023
10 - 11 May 2023 | Boat of Garten
The Gathering 2023
The countdown to The Gathering 2023 has officially started and for the first time in nearly 4 years, we have an opportunity to gather in person to reflect on how our communities have changed since 2019 and the actions that are being taken to improve the provision of transport services and reduce car dependency.
We're excited to share with you the full programme of events over Wednesday 10th & 11th May. This includes trips to the Strathspey Steam Railway and a local community eco-hub on the 10th, and the main plenary session on the 11th.
How do I secure my place at the Gathering?
Ticket sales for the Gathering are still on sale and offer great value for money given the scenic location and the diverse range of activities that we have planned. We thank all our supporters for making The Gathering possible in particular, Smarter Choices Smarter Places.
We've created a special Eventbrite page where you can view details on the tickets that are available. These include an "All Access" Pass that provides access to all 2 days of in-person activities to a "Virtual Pass" for the planery session on day 2.
Where's the Gathering taking place?
In keeping with the true spirit and ethos of SRITC, we're holding The 2023 Gathering in the Scottish Highlands so you can experience first-hand the wonderful hospitality on offer while soaking up the landscape and learning about how local people and businesses survive and thrive without easy access to affordable transport services.
The main planery session on Thursday May 11th take place at Boat of Garten Community Hall. Boat of Garten (BoG) is a small village nestled between Aviemore and Grantown on Spey in the Cairngorm National Park with Loch Garten lying to the southeast of the village.
On the afternoon of Wednesday 10th May, we'll visit Tomatin Community Hub. The village of Tomatin lies approximately 15 miles north west of Aviemore. In the evening, we'll get together at the Speyside Hotel in Grantown on Spey which lies 15 miles east of Aviemore.
What's the programme of activities over the 2 days?
Wednesday 10th May - 14:00-16:00
The Gathering officially kicks with a visit to Tomatin Community Hub which is a short journey from Aviemore. A free shuttle bus will be available to transport you from Aviemore train station to Tomatin hall.
Sustainable and active travel is the theme that will be discussed during the visit as this is an area that the community hub at Tomatin promotes.
On arrival, Duncan Bryden, Chairman of the Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland and leader of the project that secured the funding to design and develop the hub, will lead guests on a tour of the facilities that are available inside and outside the building.
Thereafter, leaders from CoMo UK and Cycling UK will be on hand to share insights and case studies on active travel programmes from around Scotland. An international perspectives on sustainable travel will always be shared from our guests from Finland, Sweden, Germany and Ireland.
Wednesday 10th May - 18:30-22:00
We'll gather at the Speyside Hotel in Grantown on Spey to enjoy a selection of canapés made from locally sourced produce followed by the chance to sample some gins produced at a local distillery. For those that are not driving, a free return shuttle bus service will be available to transport from your overnight accommodation to the Speyside Hotel.
Thursday 11th May - 09:45-16:15
For the main plenary session, we'll welcome in-person and online delegates at the Community Hall in Boat of Garten where we'll explore the major mobility challenges facing rural and island communities via facilitated panel discussions and workshops.
Thursday 11th May - 18:30-23:30
While the plenary session wrapped up, there is still time to celebrate. Within the space of a couple of hours, Boat of Garten Community Hall will magically be transformed from conference room into dining room and dance floor so we can close The Gathering 2023 in style.
Join us for an evening of casual conversation over dinner, followed by the inaugural SRITC Awards Ceremony, and to cap things off by dancing the night away to live music from Aviemore’s finest Ceilidh Band.
Thursday 11th May - Plenary Session Programme
09:45-10:15 - Registration, Coffee/Tea & Networking
10:15-10:20 - Welcome to The Gathering 2023 - Jenny Milne
10:15-11:15 - Panel Session 1 - Innovations in Rural Mobility
In this first session of the day, we'll be joined by experts working within the rural innovation ecosystem to discuss the role that technology and policy is playing in developing conventional and unconventional mobility services that are more accessible, affordable and sustainable.
Welcome: Aoife Fleming, Department of Transport, Ireland
Session Chair - Ally McInroy, CEO, Technology Scotland
Panellist - Andy Ronie, Principle Consultant, Alco Consulting
Panellist - Jamie Duffy, Co-Founder, Tronius Ltd
Panellist - Iain McNeil, Managing Director, Whereverly
Panellist - Joshua Ryan-Saha, Director, Traveltech for Scotland
Panellist - Etienne Louvet-de Verchère, CEO & Co-Founder, IONA
Panellist - Michael Armitage, Chief Business Development Director & Founding CEO, BroadwayPartners
11:20-12:20 - Panel Session 2 - Decarbonisation of Rural & Island Transport
The second session of the day will discuss the steps being taken to accelerate the decarbonisation transport networks in rural and island communities via increased use of shared mobility services, and the consolidation of passengers and parcels.
Welcome: Jeff Pyrah, Planning Policy Manager, Rother District Council
Session Chair - Magnus Fredricson, Project Leader KomILand - MaaS in Rural Areas, Skaraborgs Kommunalförbund
Panellist - Rachael Murphy, Director for Scotland, CoMo UK
Panellist - Andy Hyde, Founder, Go Upstream
Panellist - Jonathan Chatfield, Head of Policy (Freight and Stations), Rail Delivery Group
Panellist - Morag Robertson, Senior Logistics Specialist, Jacobs
Panellist - Paul Finch, Chair, The Society of Chief Officers of Transportation in Scotland (SCOTS)
Panellist - Pranav Chittur, Business Development Manager UK & Nordics, Padam Mobility (A Siemens Mobility Company)
12:20-13:15 - Lunch & Rural Mobility Showcase
Enjoy a hot and cold buffet lunch and the opportunity to meet with SRITC's supporter businesses who are developing and delivering a range of rural mobility innovations.
13:15-14:15 - Panel Session 3 - Sustainable Rural & Island Travel
The final panel session at The Gathering will convene local, regional and international practitioners to share their experiences and perspectives on practical solutions that are being implemented to make it easier for locals and visitors to adopt more sustainable modes of travel.
Welcome: Martin Schiefelbusch, Competence Centre for New Mobility Concepts, NVPW, Germany
Session Chair - Duncan Bryden, Chairman, Outdoor Access Trust for Scotland (OATS)
Panellist - Aoife Fleming, Department of Transport, Ireland
Panellist - Dami Adebayo, Partnerships Lead (Europe), The Routing Company
Panellist - Neil Morrison, Founder, Fiefdom
Panellist - Sheila Gilmore, Chief Executive, VisitArran
Panellist - Jeff Pyrah, Planning Policy Manager, Rother District Council
Panellist - Jenni Eckhardt, Research Team Leader, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
14:15-14:30 - Coffee/Tea Break
14:30-16:00 - Workshop Session - Developing & Rural Mobility Plan
What are the core components of a rural mobility plan for Scotland and how should be integrated and presented to policy makers to maximise the probability of adoption? That's the core question that will be examined during this 90 minute workshop session.
Delegates will split into smaller facilitated breakout groups where they will have fun using Lego (yes Lego) to create solutions that provide tangible ideas on how to go about developing a rural mobility plan.
16:00-16:15 - Wrap up and Close
After a busy day of panel sessions, workshops and networking, the Founder of SRITC will wrap up the day by sharing her thoughts on the main insights and outcomes that have emerged and thanking everyone who has joined in-person or online and the team who have worked so hard to deliver The Gathering.
If you are joining the evening dinner, dance and awards ceremony at Boat of Garten Hall, you now have the opportunity to return to your overnight accommodation to freshen up and get changed.
Free shuttle buses will be on hand to transport you to your accommodation and back to the hall for the evening festivities. If you aren't able to join the evening session and aren't driving, the shuttle buses will be on hand to transport you to Aviemore train station.
How to get to the Gathering?
Aviemore is served directly by Scotrail (from Inverness, Stirling, Perth, Edinburgh, Glasgow), LNER (one service per day - departing London King’s Cross at 12.00pm) and the Caledonian Sleeper (one service departing London at Euston). Aviemore can be reached from most destinations but will require changes particularly if you are on the east of the country or south of the central belt. In addition, some services stop at Carrbridge.
Aviemore is served well by coach using MegaBus and Scottish Citylink connecting all the major Scottish Cities. Buses from the north can travel through Carrbridge and or a change can take you to Grantown on Spey. Booked in advance fares are also very reasonable. Should you wish, there is a scheduled service to BoG with the Number 37 (which can run to Inverness depending on timings!).
If you're considering driving to the Gathering then please let us know if you'd be willing to car share to help someone without car attend so reduce transport emissions.
To get to Boat of Garten from the south (Edinburgh & Perth), travel north from Perth on the A9, turn right off the A9 at the Grantown on Spey / Carrbridge junction (A95) north of Aviemore. Follow the signs for Boat of Garten. From the north (Inverness) travelling south from Inverness on the A9, turn left off the A9 at the Carrbridge / Grantown on Spey junction. Drive through Carrbridge and carry on to the T-junction at the A95. Turn left and take the next right to Boat of Garten.
Scotland is well served by a number of airports with Inverness Airport being the closest to Boat of Garten. Although, international attendees may find it more convenient to arrive at Edinburgh Airport or Glasgow Airport. Inverness airport is regularly served by buses but again when you complete the Google Form, this information will help co-ordinate journeys so we may be able to assist with shared transport.
Boat of Garten Hall is about 5 miles away Aviemore. You don't need to panic about transport over the 1 1/2 days as Stagecoach have kindly offered us some buses to help you move around.
These will be free for you to use to get to sites/accommodation/venue over the two days but as you can imagine this will require a great deal of logistics and co-ordination. When you book your ticket for the Gathering you'll be asked to complete a short online questionnaire. It's really important that you do so because the information will not only help us to plan bus pick up and drop off locations but also help to co-ordinate car sharing.
It is a six mile walk from Aviemore to Boat of Garten and it is possible to walk on a mixture of terrain including a minor road, farm and estate track, SUSTRANS cycle route, and the Aviemore orbital footpath. There are also many walks around the Boat of Garten.
Boat of Garten is on Cycle Route 7 and Speyside Way which links Boat of Garten to Aviemore as well as the Cairngorms National Park to further a field in the Highlands and Scotland. The route details can be found on the Sustrans website. The journey from Aviemore takes approximately 40 minutes. If you wish to use a bike and a bus, please do remember to let us know!
Boat of Garten hall has showers and bike racks so is well equipped to handle our needs.
Where can I stay?
Many providers will offer flexibility in terms of cancellation so we would suggest you use the links below to contact them directly. Once you've booked your accommodation please complete the short questionnaire so we know where you'll be staying. This will enable us to co-ordinate the free buses that will pick you up from a location close-by.
As a social enterprise, we're asking people to support local accommodation providers so we honour to our ethos of keeping the Gathering local and sustainable. More so given the challenges that local businesses have experienced in recent years. Cairngorm Business Partnership (CBP) are helping SRITC to organise the event and their website is a useful source of local information.
We do have a deal with the Speyside Hotel in Grantown where the Wednesday night event will be held. When you book, quote 'Jenny Milne' to receive the offer. There maybe other offers coming, so keep an eye on this page and also the above links.
Some people have been asking about the dress code. On the Wednesday night, dust down the smart casual clothes aka Chino's etc for men and on the Thursday night something slightly more. I suspect those who have kilts will use this as an excuse to dress it down and wear a smart shirt etc, but there's nothing stopping you taking it to the max! After all we need an excuse and I'll dig out the dress and heals!!
What if I can't make it in-person to the Gathering
We know not everyone can join us in-person so on Thursday 11th, the Gathering will be available online. We'll be using Zoom. If you're likely to have an issue using Zoom, please do let us know as we understand that not all organisations can use this software. Indeed you may need help setting up zoom, so again, please let us know if that is the case.
We are charging a nominal fee to join online as we need to hire equipment and as a social enterprise, we need to cover our costs.
Still got questions?
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