A HELENSBURGH dad with a passion for motorcycles is hoping a tourist business venture takes him on a fast track to success.

Craig Findlay runs Peninsula Trikes, which gives visitors and locals the chance to see west-coast scenery while enjoying an exhilarating ride on a tricycle motorbike – like the one Billy Connolly rode on his world tours filmed for television.

And Craig’s fast-paced business plan has been given an unexpected boost by being shortlisted for a Scottish Thistle Award, which celebrates success, innovation, excellence and best practice in tourism and hospitality.

Peninsula Trikes have made it through to the regional finals in Glasgow along with the four-star Knockderry House Hotel in Cove, which is entering the awards for the first time, Sweeney’s Cruise Company and Loch Lomond and Forest Holidays, Ardgarten.

Craig told the Advertiser he was both shocked and delighted Peninsula Trikes had been nominated for an award in the Best Outdoor/Adventure Experience category.

His interest in three-wheelers, which accommodate two passengers and a driver, was sparked by his wish to go motorcycling with disabled son Caleb, 15, who attends Parklands School, and wife Helen.

He said: “Caleb cannot ride on a conventional motorbike, so we invested in our first trike so we could all go together.

“Caleb loves the thrill and experience, especially of feeling the wind in his face which is good for him. It’s a sensory thing which gives him a great buzz.”

Now Craig, 55, is hoping to work with tour companies at home and abroad to promote the business which will mean chauffeuring passengers around tourist hotspots.

He added: “It has been a bit of a struggle for us but were shocked to be nominated for the Scottish Thistle Awards – but are delighted we are doing something right and someone thinks we are good enough.”

Meanwhile, Beth MacLeod at the Knockderry House Hotel told the Advertiser they had been asked by Visit Scotland to apply.

She said: “We have entered the Best Eating Experience category as we feel that, not just the food, but the whole experience offered by the hotel is important.”

Beth will soon attend a business development mission run by VisitScotland in Amsterdam, where she will link up with tour companies who will promote the hotel to independent travellers looking specifically for the type of experience on offer at the 15-bedroom Knockderry.

She said: “We have customers arriving from all over the world but Europe is our biggest growth area.”

Knockderry won the Fine Dining award at last year’s event.

The West regional final of the Scottish Thistle Awards is at Oran Mor in Glasgow on November 29.

Forest Holidays Ardgarten has been shortlisted in the category for best self-catering experience.