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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 community led tourism, a sector which invariably touches on all others.  

Carron Tobin

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. 


Carron championed the socio-economic agenda for the Park until 2009, packaging and delivering a£25m rolling programme 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 outstanding people and communication skills which have enabled her business to go from strength to strength as her client base grows and project portfolio expands.  


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.


In November 2022 Carron was one of 19 individuals appointed to be a member of the Scottish Tourism and Hospitality Industry Leadership Group which is being co-chaired by the Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise and Marc Crothall, Chief Executive Scottish Tourism Alliance.  A key focus for the group is to highlight strategic actions and support required to ensure the economic, social and cultural contribution of tourism and hospitality in Scotland is maximised.  Carron is now one of five missions leads on the ILG and is driving forward the Community Tourism agenda. Through the ILG Carron is an ambassador for Scotland Outlook 2030  and its contribution to the National Strategy for Economic Transformation. 




Some of Carron's early 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.   

Carron's current work spans the country with commitments across the West Coast, the Cairngorms,Aberdeenshire, Lanarkshire and in the South of Scotland.   She has been providing stakeholder manager services for the A9 Dualling programme central section since 2014. 


Over 10 years between 2012 and 2022 Carron provided development management services for Argyll & the Isles Tourism Cooperative developing 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 recently led the VS-funded Wild About Argyll Taste of Place Trails and Pedaddling campaigns and delivered the Above and Below green recovery product development initiative funded by NatureScot. 


 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 which then allowed them to appoint a CEO in 2021.


Carron developed the West Coast Marine Tourism Collaboration on behalf of AITC which started with a major scoping initiative in 2018 and 2019 and which successfully led to West Coast Waters campaign in 2020 - Scotlands Year of Coasts and Waters. Lockdown inevitably slowed some of this work down but with the government decision to roll the focus year into 2021 it regained 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 NatureScot'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 then worked with Elaine Ford at Electrek Explorer on the pilot for the Recharge in Nature WebApp initiative. 


More recently she has been the tourism specialist in the Social Enterprise Academy's Communities Leading in Tourism programme which was funded by HIE in 2019-22 and benefited over 85 individuals across rural Scotland.  Carron is a strong advocate for community based tourism and In 2021 she secured tourism leadership funding to facilitate the establishment of SCOTO - the Scottish Community Tourism Network and brand marque which was successfully launched in April 2022.   She joined as a director of the Board and in October 2022 Carron took on the role of Exec Director on a freelance basis to lead the development of this new organisation. 


In 2022 Carron worked with Elevator to deliver two tourism leadership and collaboration programmes in Aberdeenshire and South Lanarkshire - both funded by the UK Government's Community Renewal Fund.  She has also been supporting the Tarbert Harbour Authority in developing a package of renewal projects for the village also using UK CRF support.


Early in 2024 Carron worked with Lateral North to delver a government funded package of support available to community based groups across Scotland who were considering nominating themselves to be Scotland's next National Park. 


Throughout 2023 and 2024 Carron has been devoting considerable time to the growth and development of SCOTO as their Exec Director.  She delivered a pan Scotland Roadshow with SCOTO between January and March 2023 and has since worked on exciting initiatives with Shetland Island Council, North Highlands Initiative, the Social Enterprise Academy, The Kintyre Way, Ayrshire Rural and island Ambition Fund, Cairngorms National park Authority and a number of individual communities.  A key area of work is delivering the highly innovative SCOTO Press Pause workshop programme which is helping geographic communities consider what is and isn't working with tourism and what could be done better or differently.  At its heart Press Pause is  about bringing community and business interests together to collectively consider what could make all the difference and then devise an activity plan to jointly move forward.

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Carron was appointed as trustee of the Callander Youth Project in 2021.

Carron is a graduate of both the Scottish Rural Leadership Programme run by Scottish Enterprise and the Napier University Executive Certificate for Destination Leaders. 

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