Thornhill’s stunning Sea King helicopter holiday home will go head to head with other innovative tourism businesses at next week’s Scottish Thistle Awards – Visit Scotland’s answer to the Oscars.

After winning the Innovation in Tourism category at the regional final in November, Helicopter Glamping will now compete against four other businesses in the national final on Thursday 14 March in Edinburgh: SnowRoads (Cairngorms), Inverness Taxis, Invisible Cities (Edinburgh) and the Wigtown Festival Company.

As featured on Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces, the former Royal Navy Sea King was purchased at a MOD auction and converted into a holiday home by farmer Martyn Steedman and his wife Louise Cross in 2016.

With increasing competition within the rural tourism sector, the couple spotted a gap in the market for quirky accommodation that would put them on the map internationally.

Owner Louise Cross said: “The competition is tough, but we’re confident that we’ve created a truly unique experience for visitors to Scotland, with a quirky bed in the tail and a spectacular cockpit seating area with panoramic views. We’d love to land this award to recognise all our hard work transforming the helicopter from a Royal Navy relic to a one of a kind holiday home.”

Since opening in March 2017, the 17m long helicopter has been a huge hit with tourists from all over the world; attracting visitors from as far afield as Australia.

With only one helicopter to hire, the owners are now looking to extend the range of accommodation they have on offer and have purchased a Scottish Aviation Twin Pioneer to add to their fleet. The couple have lofty plans to transform the classic 1950s high winged plane into a first-class glamping experience.

Louise added: “The new project is sure to attract even more tourists and aviation enthusiasts, which is great news for the rural economy and local jobs.”