Scrolling through an app like TikTok where millions post videos of dance routines and comedy lip-sync clips, few would expect to see the rolling hills of the Yorkshire Dales or the cobbled streets of Haworth.
But that is exactly what travel enthusiast Cat Thomson has been using the platform for, showcasing all the beauty that Yorkshire’s coast, villages and countryside has to offer.
Originally from Edinburgh, Oxford graduate Ms Thomson moved to Leeds in 2017 for what was supposed to be an eight-month secondment for work, and has since fallen in love with the region.
The 26-year-old has been blogging about her travels around the UK since 2018 under the name ‘Flying Scots Girl’, but last year saw an exponential boom in interest in her Instagram account as thousands sought inspiration for staycations and trips to the great outdoors.
And her enthusiasm for the region has paid off, after Welcome to Yorkshire tourist board chief James Mason has applauded her tenacity.
Over recent months, Ms Thomson has amassed more than 60,000 followers across both TikTok and Instagram platforms, where she posts regular images and videos of sights such as Whitby’s 99 steps, the grand facade of Castle Howard and the recognisable ruins of Fountains Abbey.
One video, which compiles clips of landmarks such as The Shambles, Kirkstall Abbey and Wentworth village and headed, ‘What I mean when I say I live in Yorkshire’, has been viewed 2.3m times on Instagram, while a tour around Holmfirth in the snow which was posted on New Year’s day has been streamed nearly half a million times.
More recently, due to local guidelines banning travel outside local areas, Ms Thomson has been posting old pictures and clips in the hopes of inspiring people looking to make post-lockdown plans.
“I’m lucky to have been to a lot of places and I love to travel,” said Ms Thomson, who works in research and development for a dog biscuit brand.
“My grandparents have always been keen travellers so it’s a big thing in our family. I started exploring immediately after moving here and I’ve always got somewhere new on the list.”
Ms Thomson’s Instagram account has gone from having 3,500 followers at the start of 2020, to 31.4k at present, whereas her videos of beautiful Yorkshire scenery and attractions on TikTok have amassed a following of 23.5k people in six months.
“I think people are just wanting to make plans for places they want to visit after lockdown,” she explained.
“People are also looking at places they can go in the UK, so I have been writing blog posts about great places to stop on roadtrips and for weekend breaks.
“The past year has really made people appreciate what is on our doorsteps.”
Welcome to Yorkshire Chief Executive James Mason said: “It’s brilliant to see Cat’s enthusiasm for all things Yorkshire showcased on Instagram and TikTok, promoting this fantastic county across the world, including its breathtaking countryside, stunning coastline, vibrant cities and so much more.
"Welcome to Yorkshire’s strategy is to promote the county internationally as a place to Visit, Live, Work and Study.
"Cat has embraced this, a ‘Flying Scots Girl’ now living in Leeds and loving Yorkshire.
"We very much support the influence of online talent and new digital platforms as a way to reach tens of thousands of potential new visitors to Yorkshire and Cat’s boom in followers will encourage visitors from far and wide to explore the region as lockdown lifts.
"Her inspiring online presence certainly aligns with Welcome to Yorkshire’s digital first approach."