ruralDimensions is a freelance rural development consultancy established by Carron Tobin in 2009 and based in the tourist town of Callander in rural Perthshire, Scotland.
ruralDimensions specialises in sustainable rural development. The company seeks to fully integrate the social, economic and environmental dimensions of rural life and has a particular focus on tourism, a sector which invariably touches on all others.
Carron Tobin, Director of ruralDimensions practiced as a professional landscape architect and planner in the public and private sectors before devoting 15 years of her career to supporting the establishment and early development of Scotland’s first National Park.
Protected area management in Scotland’s National Parks has a unique dimension in that the socio-economic well being of the Park’s communities is an equal aim to conservation of the natural and cultural heritage, responsible enjoyment and sustainable use of resources.
Carron championed the socio-economic agenda for the Park until 2009, packaging and delivering an exciting range of innovative projects and initiatives and, in so doing developing an outstanding track record in securing partnership funding, working closely with stakeholders and making a real difference on the ground.
In August 2009 Carron established ruralDimensions, fulfilling a long held dream to run her own business.
Carron has oustanding people and communication skills which have enabled her business to go from strength to strength as her client base grows and project portfolio expands.
Some of her successes include facilitating the establishment of Scotland's first tourism cooperative in Argyll, and devising the template for local responses to the national tourism strategy TS2020. She has proven her event planning and coordination skills with the successful delivery of five annual summit events for the Argyll & The Isles Tourism Cooperative, the Crinan Canal Water Festivals in 2011, 12 and 13, and the national Food Tourism conference 'Taste for Tourism' in Oban in 2015. In 2017/18 she organised and facilitated a programme of mini summits across Argyll and the Isles engaging over 360 business interests, and then a digital roadshow in September 2018.
Carron's current work spans the country with commitments across the West Coast, the Cairngorms and in the South of Scotland. She has been providing stakeholder manager services for the A9 Dualling programme central section.
Carron continues to provide development management services for Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperative building on the success of the Wild About Argyll adventure tourism initiative in 2017 and then the Heart & Soul of Scotland campaign with People Make Glasgow in 2018/19. She is currently overseeing the VS-funded Wild About Argyll Taste of Place Trails and Pedaddling campaigns and the Above and Below green recovery product development initiative funded by Nature Scot.
The South of Scotland has been a major focus with support being provided to their Tourism Leadership Group from May 2018 and then facilitating the establishment of the South of Scotland Destination Alliance in May 2020 during lockdown. Carron provided input to the TEAM Tourism Market Assessment of the South of Scotland Experience and then supported the new DMMO in successfully bidding for a 5 year programme of work funded by the new South of Scotland Enterprise agency, the councils and VisitScotland.
Carron developed the West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration on behalf of AITC which started with a major scoping initiative in 2018 and 2019 which successfully led to West Coast Waters campaign in 2020 - Scotlands Year of Coasts and Waters. Lockdown has slowed some of this work down but with the government decision to roll the focus year into 2021 this is regaining momentum. Carron has also been appointed as the Coordinator for the UHI led 'Coast that shaped the World' story gathering/telling project which will run to 2023 with support from Nature Scotland's Natural and Cultural Heritage Fund.
In 2020 and 2021 Carron worked with Sue Crossman on scoping out potential Green Recovery Nature Based Tourism programmes for NatureScot and is now working with Elaine Ford at Electrek Explorer on the pilot for the Recharge in Nature WebApp initiative.
Carron is a recent graduate of both the Scottish Rural Leadership Programme run by Scottish Enterprise and the Napier University Executive Certificate for Destination Leaders. She is now the tourism specialist in the Social Enterprise Academy's Communities Leading in Tourism programme which is being funded by HIE in 2020-22. In 2021 she secured tourism leadership funding to facilitate the establishment of SCOTO - the Scottish Community Tourism Network and brand marque which was launched in April 2022.
In Autumn 2020 Carron was recognised as one of Scotland's top 100 women in tourism for her work in supporting the sector during Covid19.
In May 2022 Carron was again listed as one of Scotland's top 100 women in tourism for leading the way in innovative ideas and supporting and mentoring colleagues through unprecedented times.