In early August, the world’s biggest ever cycling event came to Scotland. The result was a huge thumbs up from the global cycling community to the host city, Glasgow. Over 8000 elite and amateur cyclists from more than 120 countries took part. At the pinnacle of the event, 13 world championships were decided. In addition to the competitions based in Glasgow, many other parts of Scotland were involved, including Stirling, Edinburgh, Perth and Kinross, Dundee, Angus, Fife, Falkirk, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, and Dumfries and Galloway. Well done, Scotland.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), the world governing body of cycling, has declared the event “a huge success.” Preliminary estimates are that 1million spectators turned out to watch the festival of cycling, while millions more tuned in around the world to follow the 11 days of competition. Building on from the success of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, COP26 and many other large-scale events and conferences, the UCI Cycling World Championships have confirmed Glasgow’s credentials as a premier division city. When it comes to sports, culture, business and conference hospitality and tourism it ticks all the right boxes.
I’d urge every Bylines Scotland reader to post or Tweet (Xed):
“Congratulations Glasgow and Scotland on brilliant hosting of the UCI world’s biggest cycling championships. For sport, culture, business and the world’s most beautiful landscapes it has to be Scotland.”
Together, we can help Scotland win more world class events.
Edinburgh too is packing in the visitors
While Glasgow was wowing the world with its cycling extravaganza and its blockbuster Banksy exhibition at the Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh was not to be found wanting. The 71st Edinburgh Festival got under way with the Scottish National Gallery hosting an exhibition of the works of Grayson Perry. Elsewhere, in venues as diverse as the grand Usher Hall and tatty pubs in back alleys, 3,535 shows are being performed across the city. Edinburgh too is packing in the visitors.
On average, around 4 million people attend events that make up Edinburgh Festival; the Edinburgh International Festival itself, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, the Art Festival, Book Festival, Jazz and Blues Festival, the Film Festival and the stunning event that is the Edinburgh Military Tattoo. And just to add a bit of sporting edge, as the world of the Arts and culture dominated Edinburgh life, out at Murrayfield stadium a crowd of some 54,000 saw Scotland defeat France in a World Cup warm up friendly. (Sadly, Scotland could not repeat that success. Seven days later the side narrowly lost to France in Paris).
That central Scotland was abuzz with successful world class events in the first two weeks in August is a tribute to many people; council leaders and staff, transport workers, the catering and hospitality sectors, the police, fire and ambulance services, TV and radio crews and countless thousands of volunteers. They, and all of Scotland, can be proud of what has been achieved. The country has again demonstrated its organisational skills. Scotland has a talent for event management. Perhaps, most importantly, it greets visitors with the warmest of welcomes. That’s our most priceless asset.
Next year, Scotland will shine again
In March, Glasgow will play host to the World Athletic Indoor Championships. In Perthshire in May, Etape Caledonia, the UK’s original closed road cycling event, will see up to 5,000 riders compete amid some of Scotland’s most glorious scenery. In July, Royal Troon will host the Open Championship, world golf’s oldest and most prestigious competition. St Andrews then hosts the Women’s Open the following month.
We live in difficult economic and political times. But take a moment to smile. As a nation, we succeeded in doing hard things well. The world was watching. We can stand a little taller.
Scotland, you’re pure dead brilliant!